Bob Lutz and Tesla

Bob Lutz and Tesla

sheldon.mike1010 | 15 juli 2019

Reporters need to avoid that senile old fart. He ought to be worrying about how much fiber he's getting and where is the nearest soft chair, NOT cars.

M3phan | 15 juli 2019

Lutz the Putz, thank you for that pinnacle of gorgeosity, the Pontiac Aztec. Clearly you're a man who knows beautiful design.

kevin_rf | 16 juli 2019

But people who bought the Aztec loved the Aztec. They won't even give them up for a Model X.

Magic 8 Ball | 16 juli 2019

Walter White made the Aztec popular again.

syclone | 16 juli 2019

I actually rented an Aztec once. It had a very practical, usable interior. Unfortunately, it was double butt ugly, a great example of "the emperor's new clothes" in automobile design.

peter | 16 juli 2019

Maybe Lutz should compare one of his creations to this!

coleAK | 17 juli 2019

I agree Lutz is sort of an old fool talking about Tesla the way he is. But I’ll add to me the model X looks very similar to the Aztec. Not like mistaking one for the other hut they both have similar proportions and lines. Basically to me the Model X looks like a modernized Aztec

jimglas | 17 juli 2019

lutz is a putz

billlake2000 | 17 juli 2019

lutz is nutz

calvin940 | 17 juli 2019

lutz is a yutz

ReD eXiLe ms us | 17 juli 2019

Amazing how the comments for that article have already been closed after only two days since it was published.

· I figure Bob Lutz, being a Detroit guy, was measuring the age of Tesla Model S based on the year its initial prototype was shown, in 2009, rather than its actual release date, 2012.

Beyond that, his comments were largely [BORSHT].

carlk | 17 juli 2019

All Bob Lutz needs to do to change his mind is to drive a Tesla just once. However I'm not sure that old man could still drive a car. He might not even be able to walk to the car unassisted. Just let him to continue to live in the past. His time is not going to be very long now.

vmulla | 17 juli 2019

coleAK | July 17, 2019
I agree Lutz is sort of an old fool talking about Tesla the way he is. But I’ll add to me the model X looks very similar to the Aztec. Not like mistaking one for the other hut they both have similar proportions and lines. Basically to me the Model X looks like a modernized Aztec
An origami Model X would look like an Aztec :)) - yes I see what you're saying.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 18 juli 2019

Last week Bob Lutz said, "Tesla had 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3. In fact, they only sold 80,000 or 90,000 of them, and they have trouble selling more."

OK. Using the phrase 'In fact' does not automatically make what follows true. Especially when you use the word 'only' as a limiter, when not providing a timeframe, while leaving out desperately needed qualifiers.

If you completely ignore that Tesla actually sold around 140,000 of the Model 3 in 2018, sure, it might seem they 'only' sold 80,000 units if you 'only' refer to the past two quarters of THIS year, 2019.

But that is both distracting and deceiving, since he began that statement speaking of the number of Reservations Tesla got in 2016, more than three years ago. An honest representation would include the word 'since' somewhere, but this quote merely implies there was a disappointing sales rate of less than 25% compared to the Reservations taken three years ago.

Interesting that he doesn't mention how Model 3 sold more units in one calendar year than GM sold of his baby, the Chevrolet VOLT, over the course of its first seven years on the U.S. market covering two design iterations.

Remember, Bob Lutz had championed the wisdom of a 'range extended' electric car, such as the VOLT, as a means to 'save gas' and 'The FUTURE!' of the automotive industry. Yet, the VOLT never sold as well as the Toyota PRIUS. While cumulative sales of the Model 3 greatly exceed those of the PRIUS over the past eighteen months.

Bob Lutz continued in the quote, "The Model S is now ten years old, and sales are sluggish. It’s the same picture for the Model X, the SUV with the wing doors – that’s an ugly vehicle anyway."

Sure, the Model S is 'ten years old' if you go back to its initial presentation as a prototype back in 2009. Do I really have to bring up the Pontiac Banshee show car of 1986 that was stunningly beautiful, but was NEVER brought to market by GM beyond a few styling cues of plastic pieces stuck on the Pontiac Firebird? The Model S became a REAL CAR that could be PURCHASED and OWNED privately just three years later in 2012, unlike the 1990 GM IMPACT show car, which reached the market as the 1996 GM EV1, but was only available for lease, before being subsequently repossessed and crushed.

The Tesla Model S has 'sluggish' sales in the U.S. compared to performance in previous years, sure. But that is due to engineering changes that required updates to its drivetrain and suspension necessitating a temporary shutdown of its Production and resulted in a vehicle with greater range and lower cost. Those same improvements were introduced on the Model X, which is nowhere near as 'ugly' as the Porsche Cayenne, which it has outsold for years.

Bob Lutz concluded, "Tesla will have about a year until each of the big global auto companies has its own fleet of electric vehicles on offer. These cars will be as good or even better than Tesla’s."

Well, this is at best very speculative, highly opinionated, wishful thinking by an old man with multiple decades experience in the ICE automotive industry. And, at worst, it is a complete fabrication and an absolute lie, through-and-through. For at least six years Tesla's detractors have made similar claims in a boastful, "You may get me off the line, but ahhh, once I hit my passing gear...!" fashion. Claiming that Tesla was 'nothing special' and that 'anyone could build a car with a BIG BATTERY if they wanted to' and that 'Tesla only looks good because they are the only game in town' and that 'Tesla cannot stand up to REAL competition from companies with decades of experience building REAL cars who could do anything Tesla does anytime they wanted, so Tesla had better watch out' and stuff. And... seven years after the release of the 2012 Tesla Model S, no one has matched it in style, range, or performance. I guess 'anytime they wanted' hasn't come yet, right?

Even more recently, in 2014, we were told that various Tesla Killer electric vehicles would arrive by 2017. The AUDI R8 etron was first shown as a concept show car before the release of the Tesla Model S. The R8 etron, a hybrid electric two seater sports coupe was to be released in 2013, then 2014, then was made pre-order only, then finally a handful of them may (?) have been built in 2015 before it was quietly discontinued.

In late 2013 the BMW i3 arrived, sans the mostly glass doors of its show car version, and offered as a BEV and REX version. It turned out its design was mostly contrived to meet a narrow definition that BMW negotiated with CARB to create a car with the same range using electricity as it did using gasoline in REX form, more or less, in about a 51%/49% split in favor of gasoline range. That is why it had such a tiny gasoline capacity when it came to the U.S. Strange thing, the car could not effectively fill the batteries while moving at highway speeds and running the small displacement three cylinder ICE REX. It could walk, or chew gum, not both at once. Thus, the only purpose of the REX was to get you to the next plug-in charging site, not to top off your batteries in transit. So, another Tesla Killer dismissed.

Then AUDI tried again, this time with the A3 etron, a plug-in hybrid version of the car, also hailed as a Tesla Killer. It had a very short fully electric range. It did not sell well in the U.S. or anywhere else.

In 2014, Porsche unveiled the Mission·e show car, yet another proclaimed Tesla Killer, that in the years since has been renamed the Taycan. Supposedly due for sometime in 2017 or 2018, both those years have passed without its arrival.

By 2015 or so plug-in hybrid versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Porsche Panamera were appearing, and people cared about as much for those limited electric range cars as they had for the Cadillac ELR Coupe before them -- not at all. Tesla had still not been killed.

AUDI did release the etron QUATTRO SUV in Europe last year and in the U.S. this year, but its sales have not only been 'sluggish' but halted due to a recall issue. Similar results for the Jaguar I-Pace, which seemed to come out of nowhere without the hype heaped upon Tesla Killers out of Volkswagen Group. But, though it has the rough size and shape of the vehicles from the Crossover segment of automobiles, which is considered a very popular form factor, and its interior possesses the level of 'quality and craftsmanship' that is often lauded as a 'missing' factor of 'luxury' in Tesla's vehicles...? No one buys it. And it is undergoing a recall issue currently too, slowing sales even further. Maybe I'm just old. But these types of SUVs and Crossovers just look like 'tall wagons' or 'five door sedans' to me. Not particularly attractive at all. Other than the Tesla Model S, AUDI A5, AUDI A7, and BMW 4-Series Grand Coupe, five door sedans look like @$$ to me.

None of the traditional legacy ICE automobile manufacturers have made a commitment to produce or sell in excess of 1% of their worldwide capacity as long range fully electric cars at all, let alone within the next decade. Many of their Tesla Killer plans, originally set for 2017, 2018, 2019... are now not due to arrive until 2023, 2024, 2025... They all seem in no hurry to actually COMPETE with Tesla at all.

They keep trying to put on a good face. The AUDI etron GT was featured in the movie 'AVENGERS: Endgame' (2019), complete with roaring, rumbling engine sounds, even though it is supposed to be released on the fully electric platform of the Porsche Taycan. In most interviews automotive executives seem reluctant or evasive to questions of quantity for their future fully electric releases. All claim that in some amorphous, unsaid, undeclared, unspecified realm of 'The FUTURE!' electric cars are destined to become commonplace, but always with the seemingly hidden sentiment of, "Long after I'm gone, I hope!"

One of the many Tesla Killers was supposed to be the Chevrolet BOLT, released very late in 2016. The very first Deliveries of the Tesla Model 3 were made in late July 2017. And yes, due to Production issues at Tesla, the BOLT did manage to outsell the Tesla Model 3 that Calendar year. Not at all since.

GM is smaller now, but they used to build on the order of 10,000,000 vehicles annually worldwide. GM has even sold around 3,000,000 vehicles per year in the U.S. each year since they emerged from bankruptcy. There is not a single long range fully electric vehicle from GM due to be manufactured in quantities exceeding 100,000 units for worldwide annual distribution, or to exceed 30,000 units for distribution in the U.S. That's 1% of their annual output, both domestically and globally. How is it that Tesla can commit to 100% fully electric vehicles, while much larger companies such as GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Volkswagen can't even commit to 1%? If you don't build them, you can't sell them.

Sometimes I watch Retro Reviews by MotorWeek on YouTube of cars they covered in the mid-1980s or early 1990s. It is fascinating to see cars I thought were so nice back then and how sorely dated they seem now. To a one, all of them can be matched and surpassed by electric cars today. Range, handling, stopping distance, interior volume, luggage capacity, fuel economy... It has been a long time since quality new cars could be bought for $6,000... $8,000... $10,000... $12,000. But what you can get today for $24,000... $30,000... $36,000... $42,000 is vastly superior. And even if pared back somewhat to be only 'a little bit better' than cars were then in performance, safety, and creature comforts, fully electric cars could easily be 'affordable' by today's standards while providing a better driving experience than ICE of yesteryear or today.

eplaskett | 18 juli 2019

@ReD eXiLe ms us

Great post, full of verifiable facts. Thank you.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 18 juli 2019

eplaskett: Thanks. I try. I don't think that Bob Lutz is a FUDster. He's just set in his ways. That's OK. He speaks based on his beliefs, which given his years in the automotive industry, have certainly been reinforced by his several decades of experience. Where those beliefs fail is in his analysis of more recent history, particularly of Tesla.

He believes Tesla should have gone the same route as Chevrolet VOLT, Fisker Karma, VIA Trucks, or BMW i3 REX. History has shown that he is wrong. Yet he is unwilling to except the facrual evidence of the failure behind the technique of using a 'Range Extender' due to his years of being indoctrinated toward bias against battery electric power.

No. The piston driven internal combustion engine is simply not needed anymore. Along with Tesla, it seems that RIVIAN, BOLLINGER, and NIO intend to make that perfectly clear.

GrumpyinAZ | 18 juli 2019

I met with Bob Lutz once in the 1980's. The conversation in the meeting we had (with six other folks) gave me the impression that he was full of himself and of GM. We weren't talking about electric cars, just business about the exhaust contract we were proposing. So, when someone drags words out of him now, all I can see is the smug man behind the big desk, trying to get an additional 50 cents per piece out of our company. Not a visionary at all. Not even close to being able to compare companies at that stage.

jjgunn | 18 juli 2019

"Similar results for the Jaguar I-Pace, which seemed to come out of nowhere without the hype heaped upon Tesla Killers out of Volkswagen Group.

But, though it has the rough size and shape of the vehicles from the Crossover segment of automobiles, which is considered a very popular form factor, and its interior possesses the level of 'quality and craftsmanship' that is often lauded as a 'missing' factor of 'luxury' in Tesla's vehicles...? No one buys it."
Interestingly enough, I was driving behind an i-Pace this morning in the Bay Area, 680 southbound between 24 & 580. He entered the HOV lane just before I did.

Not a bad looking car, didn't care for the color. Very light brown puke color.

Saw a Blue i-Pace turning into Oracle about 10 days ago.

So that's 2 I've seen this month.

Tesla killed!!

billlake2000 | 18 juli 2019

Tesla killed!

The reports of Tesla's death are greatly exaggerated. | 19 juli 2019

Bob Lutz is just an old, retired auto exec whose comments are based more on his gut feelings than on facts. As he gets older, the facts dim and the gut grows.:-)).

I have owned an S and currently own a Model X90D and a Model 3 RWD LR. The S was a demo that I bought while waiting for the much delayed X. I have been driving for 67 years, The Model S was a revelation. I drove it for 15 months. It needed nothing. It drove like no car I had ever owned. I could slide a 6 foot step ladder into it and close the rear hatch. I worried about range but I have OCD. I worry about a lot of things. It never ran out of juice. The X is a crazy car full of goofy features that are fun but largely a waste of money. But it is easy to get in and out of. It is comfortable to sit in, it drives like the S and when you drive it you have the feeling of commanding the road. "Out of the way, little cars". The Model 3 was a further revelation. It is smaller than the S and lacks the harchback but it us easier to get in and out of and is simply the most efficient BEV in the universe and it costs a lot less. It also drives great and needs virtually no maintenance. Fit and finish are better than the X and S. Lutz should own one of these cars. If Tesla can survive Elon's hubris and big brain stretched a little too far "the machine that builds the machine", it will be the GM of BEVs because the cars are so great, a car company that makes and sells great cars. Go figure.