Outspoken auto-industry veteran Bob Lutz has advised car collectors in the US to get hold of a Tesla Model S “while they’re still available” – an insinuation that the electric carmaker might not be around much longer.
Lutz, 85, speaking at a classic car auction in Arizona, said: “Twenty-five years from now, it (Model S) will be remembered as the first really good-looking, fast electric car. People will say ‘Too bad they went broke.’”
The former General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW executive, later said he was “semi-serious” about the comments, pointing out that Tesla’s costs were higher than its revenues and it was not making cars at a profit.
“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 is a big fan of the Model S. ”Especially with the performance upgrades, it is one of the fastest, best handling, best braking sedans that you could buy in the world today,” he said, “The acceleration times will beat any $350,000 European exotic.”
But it’s not the first time he has targeted Tesla and its billionaire chief executive Elon Musk, whom he openly admires and is pictured with above.
He called the carmaker a “fringe” brand in 2014 and penned an editorial in Road & Track magazine in which he wrote: “I think the Model S is a fabulous car, but history’s filled with defunct companies with great products run by brilliant people.”
More recently Lutz appeared on US television stating that Tesla was going out of business. His comments came shortly after Tesla reported it had lost US$619 million in the third quarter of 2017.
Tesla unveiled the smaller Model 3 sedan (above) last July and said it was expecting to build around 5000 models a week by last month. Instead, it managed to build just 2425 in the whole fourth quarter.
But its most recent production report said it had delivered 101,312 cars in 2017, up 33 per cent on 2016. Tesla’s stock closed last Friday 1.58 per cent up at US$350.00 (NZ$479.00). Market value, meanwhile, is listed at US$58.7 billion (NZ$80.4billion).