On a family farm in Michigan lies a charming dog house the size of a small cottage. The hands that built this lovingly constructed edifice have been around the world and back again. They’ve patted the hoods of thousands of cars. They’ve flown fighter jets with the Marines.
They are the same hands that 75-year-old Bob Lutz, General Motors’ vice chairman of global product development, gestures with as he explains that in a world filled with wealth, success and fast cars, he prefers to focus on life’s tangibles: his family and his pets. “As much as I like cars, they are after all not real objects,” he says. “Every time one of them gets damaged, I tell myself it’s something material and money will fix it. Where as when there is something wrong with a dog or cat that you love, or a horse or human, money cannot always fix it. That’s much more serious.”
As a top exec for the world’s largest automaker, Lutz is obviously passionate about cars. But the Swiss-born businessman also reserves a soft spot for his pets—a gaggle of dogs, cats and horses that all share living space on the Lutz family’s TK? acre farm in the Detroit area.
Lutz, who served as a jet-attack aviator in the United States Marine Corp. from 1954 to 1965, has also had a distinguished career with the former Chrysler Corporation and with Ford Motor Company. He’s a worldly man with worldly pets: his Jack Russell Terrier Scooter has ventured across the Atlantic eleven times.
But that’s not to say the automobile mogul doesn’t occasionally break from his vast responsibilities at General Motors to unwind on his farm with his animal friends, who he and wife Denise consider part of the family. The two are currently building a multi-cat colony for their TK NUMBER cats and expanding their dog kennels. “The dogs serve as a source of joy and reinforcement and that is part of the reason why I work,” he says.