2016 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
Bob Lutz is back again poo-pooing on Tesla.
This time the auto industry veteran was speaking to attendees of a collector car auction held Thursday in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he recommended they get hold of a Tesla Model S because it's primed to be a future collectable, and that they should do so while the cars were “still available.”
Lutz's reasoning is that Tesla might not be around much longer as the company isn't manufacturing cars at a profit.
“Twenty-five years from now, [the Model S] will be remembered as the first really good-looking, fast electric car," he said. “People will say 'Too bad they went broke.'"
Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, Lutz said he was “semi-serious” about the comments. He pointed out that Tesla's costs are still higher than its revenues and that he doesn't see the situation changing anytime soon.
Bob LutzEnlarge Photo
“When you are perennially running out of cash you are just not running a good automobile company,” he said. “I don't see anything on the horizon that's going to fix that.”
Lutz has pointed out the fragility of Tesla multiple times in the recent past. Some readers may recall he questioned the viability of the company in a 2015 op-ed titled “Is Tesla Doomed?.” More recently he appeared on television stating that Tesla was going out of business. He made that particular comment shortly after Tesla reported it had lost $619 million in the third quarter of 2017.
Should Tesla want to prove Lutz wrong and escape joining the list of dozens of failed U.S. automakers, it will have to ramp up production of the Model 3, and soon. So far the company has little in the way of direct rivals but that will change this year as major automakers start rolling out compelling alternatives.
When it unveiled the Model 3 last July, Tesla said it was expecting to be churning out around 5,000 of the cars on a weekly basis by the end of 2017. Instead, the company managed to build just 2,425 of the cars in the whole fourth quarter.
There were some positives in Tesla's most recent production update, however. The company also said it had delivered 101,312 cars in 2017, up 33 percent on 2016's total.