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GM lets Lynn Myers slip way, one of its real 'car guys'
By Paul Lienert / Autos Insider

I've known Lynn Myers for close to 20 years, first as director of planning at Oldsmobile, then as a corporate planner, later as a marketing manager and ultimately as the boss of General Motors Corp.'s Pontiac-GMC division.

Over the years, Lynn and I have spent hours together on the road, mostly driving Pontiacs -- everything from Firebirds to Vibes. Most recently, we spent some seat time together in a new Pontiac GTO on the twisty roads of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in southern California.

We had plenty of time to chat -- about the GTO, about other Pontiac and GMC products, about where those two brands are going and finally about the future of GM.

When I heard last week that Lynn is leaving the company, I felt sad for her and even worse for GM. I think they're losing one of their real "car guys," and that will be a blow to Pontiac and its corporate parent at a critical time for both.

In Myers' departure, I see two disturbing patterns at GM -- but more on that in a minute.

Unlike a lot of executives who run car divisions, I've always found Lynn to be pretty down to earth and, at least when she's away from the crowd, surprisingly forthright in her views on what's best for Pontiac, GMC and General Motors.

She has always struck me, too, as a savvy pro in the arcane world of automotive marketing, and that's a trait that isn't necessarily shared by some of her cohorts in Detroit.

Yes, she has the credentials -- an MBA in marketing from Michigan State University and the Tuck Management Program at Dartmouth. But she also happens to be the real deal when it comes to a broad knowledge of the car biz.

I still have my doubts about the GTO, and I've expressed concerns about the lousy interior in the Grand Prix. But I told Lynn in December that I was encouraged by the initial success of the Vibe and excited about the prospects for the Solstice, which may be the coolest thing to hit GM and Pontiac in years.

I even like the new G6, at least on the outside, and am eager to see if it feels as sturdy and fun on the road as its Opel counterparts.

How much credit does Lynn Myers get for pushing these products at Pontiac? Probably not enough would be my guess.

If the Solstice proves to be the runaway hit that I think it will be, Bob Lutz will get -- and certainly deserves -- a huge nod.

So does the designer, Franz Von Holzhausen, and Lori Queen's Kappa engineering team.

But Lynn was a Solstice booster from day one, and undoubtedly did as much as any executive inside GM to boost its chances of making the cut into production.

more...
 

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:huh:

well, crap. i haven't exactly done much research into automotive brand-managering, but i've got more than enough experience to be a brand manager for "the largest auto maker in the world" if these guys do. ...guess i need to drop my resume on their desks.

i will say that managing a brand is about selling/sales. if you're good at selling something by going through a work strategy, you don't have to be a "car guy" to fit the role. having said that--it's hard to imagine that a "car guy" wouldn't be a better route to take in these challenging and competitive times. well, 'nough of that.
 

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You (somewhat) nailed it ackenda... it's a position where sales skills and energy are the keys to success. Lienert is more upset at losing a source than he is about the internal decisions at GM. And to hear him tell it, Pontiac has been the most exciting division in the market under Myers. I say that if Fraleigh can make a soda look like a "gotta have" product, he should do very well marketing the next generation of Pontiac vehicles. The whole "car guy" label is somewhat misleading in this case, since Myers' production in the automobile industry never amounted to much more than the very situation from which Pontiac is now trying to free itself.
 

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People wrote nice things about Roger Smith when he left too.

You remember him. He's the idiot who almost single handidly destroyed GM in the 1980's.

Mark
 

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Originally posted by usa1@Jan 22 2004, 08:54 PM
People wrote nice things about Roger Smith when he left too.

You remember him. He's the idiot who almost single handidly destroyed GM in the 1980's.

Mark
That's just because he had a gun to their heads!

But really, Roger Smith was a wonderful man who had major insights into the auto industry (ahem: I *almost* said that without laughing!).
 

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I have been working very closely with the Pontiac team for over two years now and out of all the divisions in GM, they are some of the best people to work with. From Lynn Myers right down the line. Sure there have been some disagreements , but these are some of the hardest working most enthusiastic people in the corporation. To say that you could waltz in and do their job IMO makes you a little full of yourself. For those of you that expected to see a 69 Judge rolling off the line, two words WAKE UP, this is the 21st century. While I have an appreciation for the cars of that era, it is time to move on. The new GTO may not be most prolific car, and I don't think that it deserves the GTO moniker, it is definitly not the worst move that Pontiac could have made. :mrt:
 

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Originally posted by BPSHADOW@Jan 31 2004, 06:23 AM
I have been working very closely with the Pontiac team for over two years now and out of all the divisions in GM, they are some of the best people to work with. From Lynn Myers right down the line. Sure there have been some disagreements , but these are some of the hardest working most enthusiastic people in the corporation. To say that you could waltz in and do their job IMO makes you a little full of yourself. For those of you that expected to see a 69 Judge rolling off the line, two words WAKE UP, this is the 21st century. While I have an appreciation for the cars of that era, it is time to move on. The new GTO may not be most prolific car, and I don't think that it deserves the GTO moniker, it is definitly not the worst move that Pontiac could have made.  :mrt:
I agree, the worst move Pontiac could have made was made. And they named it the Aztek. Are those same employees still "working"? Cuz it looks like they've had quite a long vacation.
 
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