I am a longtime admirer of Robert Lutz, but lately I have felt that his design paradigms may be stuck in a mid-1990s time warp. Your Aug. 9 article with a picture of the new Buick LaCrosse confirmed my suspicions.
The exterior design could be described best as 1997 Taurus meets 1993 Chrysler LH.
I don't think that the failure of the new Pontiac GTO is a fluke given its 1990s exterior design language. I suspect that Lutz still doesn't quite understand why it didn't capture the imagination of the consumer.
Obviously, Lutz brings other things to the table, such as a push for more quality and excitement in General Motors' products, but I caution against overestimating the "Lutz effect" in predicting the success of future products.