News - Lotus
Lotus hires Murray as adviser
Former McLaren supercar designer Murray joins Lotus as GM looks to Lutz for answers
5 Sep 2011
By TERRY MARTIN
FORMER Formula One and McLaren supercar designer Gordon Murray has joined the Lotus advisory council to advise the niche Malaysian-owned British sportscar manufacturer on “current and future development”.
The principal of British-based Gordon Murray Design, Mr Murray will join a number of other high-profile automotive industry identities on the council, including former General Motors product czar Bob Lutz.
Last week, GM also announced it had hired Mr Lutz as an adviser who would “provide counsel to the senior leadership team of the company” on a part-time consultancy basis, effective immediately.
In a move that formalises his continued involvement with GM since retiring last year, Mr Lutz’s new contract is understood to be wide-ranging but should resurrect his status as a key product development force for the US auto giant – a move that bodes well for Holden, given the 79-year-old’s history of championing Australian design and engineering.
Mr Lutz will continue to sit on the Lotus advisory council, but the new contract with GM will preclude him from consulting with any other car-maker.
Left: Bob Lutz in 2011.
Lotus advisers include retired BMW/Rolls-Royce executive Tom Purves, ex-Mercedes-Benz and BMW engineering and vehicle development chief Burkhard Goeschel, who later went on to oversee BMW AG’s Formula One activities, and Frank Tuch, who has worked as the global quality assurance chief for DaimlerChrysler, Porsche and Volkswagen.
Mr Tuch is also a former chief operating officer of Lotus Cars.
Gordon Murray Design last year unveiled a three-seater micro-car dubbed the T25 and an all-electric T27 version.
The firm has also developed a new production process known as iStream, which is billed as the biggest revolution in high-volume vehicle manufacture since the Ford Model T. The process is said to require only 20 per cent of the space and reduce capital investment by 80 per cent compared with traditional assembly.
Lotus said the purpose of its advisory council is to “give advice and guidance on strategic issues such as product strategy, technology, quality, brand, marketing and distribution”.
Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar, who joined Lotus from Ferrari in October 2009 and has since hired a string of senior managers from a number of top automotive companies, described Mr Murray as someone who “has never been afraid to be trailblazer, take risks and do things differently”.
“With his incredible and unique motorsport and design experience, he will complement the existing council line-up perfectly,” Mr Bahar said. “We’re very much looking forward to working with him.”
Mr Murray said: “For years I’ve been a huge admirer of Lotus I have great respect for the legacy that Colin Chapman created and I think what Dany and the team are doing is a really good thing for the brand.
“He’s taking the strength from Chapman’s principals and taking the business to the next level while still keeping the general ethos – not an easy task. I’m really looking forward to contributing to Group Lotus during this exciting time.”
Lotus stole last year’s Paris motor show with the unveiling of no fewer than six new models that promise to revolutionise the brand.
These included the front-engined four-seater V8 Elite coupe, a new-generation Elise and Elan, the Elite-based Eterne sedan, a new city car co-developed with parent company Proton and, at the other end of the scale, an all-new Esprit flagship.
Last week, Lotus announced it would also unveil two new surprise models at this month’s Frankfurt show, including “one of the quickest road cars Lotus has ever built”.
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