Lutz's answer to stale procedures: Stick it to 'em

Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is making his mark in two very noticeable ways at General Motors. No. 1: "He doesn't do e-mail," instead showering subordinates with handwritten notes, says one person who reports to Lutz. No. 2: To encourage questioning of standard operating procedures, Lutz slaps "Sez who?" stickers on appropriate paperwork. "I paid $1,500 of my own money to have 3,000 'Sez who?' stickers printed up on wax paper so you can peel them off," Lutz noted. No "Sez me" stickers have been sighted.

PRICEY TOY - Just in time for Christmas, Franklin Mint is offering limited-edition 1:24 scale replicas of the Callaway C12 roadster, which is based on the Chevrolet C5 Corvette. The production run of 3,500 units coincides with the 25th anniversary of Callaway Cars. The price is a hefty $495 - but the model is signed by Reeves Callaway.

SWAPPING KUDOS - At a press briefing last week, General Motors North America's new president, Gary Cowger, declared himself a "Bob Lutz fan." But Lutz, new chairman of GM North America, was equally effusive, saying that in his previous role as vice chairman of Chrysler Corp. he wanted to hire Cowger: "I said to (Chrysler CEO) Bob Eaton more than once, 'Why don't we get that guy Cowger from GM? It was met with less than total enthusiasm.' "

WHO'S CAPTAIN ZERO? So who came up with 0 percent financing at General Motors? One insider says Buick General Marketing Manager Roger Adams proposed the pitch, although Buick spokesman Pete Ternes deferred questions, saying it was a team effort. Another factor helped move the idea forward, several marketing sources said: Top execs pushed hard for a simple, consistent message because GM dealers were at wits' end over the company's confusing array of incentives.

HOW ABOUT AN 'I'M SORRY'? While new CEO Bill Ford Jr. is busy mending Ford Motor Co. fences, he might want to consider the case of retired schoolteacher Marcella Stockton of Qulin, Mo. She owns a 1999 Lincoln Continental whose passenger side airbag deployed without a crash about a year ago. The company, blaming the deployment on a bump to the rocker panel, refused warranty repairs. Stockton sued in small claims court, representing herself against a company lawyer and engineer. She won a judgment in September for the $828 repair, plus $144 in expenses. But Stockton, who keeps the repaired airbags disconnected for fear they will go off again, said an apology would be nice. She said, "I wasn't doing it for the money. It was because they did not do me right."

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