Lloyd Reuss, Former GM President, Early EV Proponent, Dies

lloyd reuss with saturn car
Former GM President Lloyd Reuss Dies at 86Ralf-Finn Hestoft - Getty Images
  • Starting in 1957, engineer-turned-executive Lloyd Reuss was tied to General Motors for decades and served as its president from 1990 to 1992. His son, Mark, is the current president of GM.

  • During his time at GM, Reuss helped develop GM's passenger-car models and supported the company's early electric vehicle project that eventually released the EV1.

  • After leaving GM in 1993, Reuss spent a second career as a champion for various charities, including Focus: Hope in Detroit, which helps local students earn associate and bachelor of engineering degrees.

We once called him a visionary. He was "the man who saved the Riviera from oblivion." He planned to turn Buick from a company that made cushy "doctors' cars" into a more youthful and exciting brand in the early 1980s. He used money from the then-nascent C5 Corvette development program on a full-size sedan platform that birthed the Pontiac Bonneville, Buick LeSabre, and Oldsmobile 88 in the 1990s. Lloyd Reuss died this weekend at 86. He was the president of General Motors from 1990–1992.

Reuss saw something happening in the company back then that made him an early champion of electric vehicles. He supported the GM Impact, the famously poorly named all-electric concept car that debuted at the 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show and later became the GM EV1.

Reuss started work at GM in 1957 and became chief engineer at both Buick and Chevrolet before moving up to the role of Buick general manager in 1980. He kept moving up the ranks: becoming head of GM's passenger-car groups in North America, then the leader of GM's North American operations and worldwide automotive components. After his short stint as GM president, Reuss retired from GM in 1993.

After leaving the auto industry, Reuss focused on charity work, including Focus: Hope in Detroit, which works to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, which notes that Reuss helped establish the Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT) at Focus: Hope in 1993 and volunteered there for over 20 years. Then and now, CAT's mission is to teach local students so they can get a college degree in manufacturing engineering tuition-free. In part because of Reuss's work there, Focus: Hope said GM had given the group over $14 million since 1986. The GM Foundation and the SAE gave the CAT a $500,000 grant. The CAT has awarded more than 300 associate and bachelor of engineering degrees.

Reuss was married to his wife, Maurcine, for 63 years before her death in 2020. They had two children, Charlene and Mark, who is the current GM president. Funeral service information has not been announced. The funeral home suggests donating to groups Reuss supported in lieu of flowers.

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