Arrogance was the No. 1 reason that automakers would not look outside their own walls for new talent, said Robert Lutz, retired vice chairman of the former Chrysler Corp.
Lutz recalls the annual review of executives at Ford Motor Co. when he was executive vice president of international automotive operations in the early 1980s.
More than 90 percent of the Ford executives were given a rating of either excellent or outstanding, Lutz said. The company even considered adding an 'outstanding plus' category to further differentiate its shining cadre of executives, he recalled.
Lutz said he argued for a bell-shaped curve so that no more than 10 percent would receive an outstanding rating, and 20 to 30 percent would fall in the average range.
Said Lutz: 'Just about every company had that arrogance, that their methods and people were the best and why should they look anywhere else.'