Bob Lutz, former GM chairman and longtime automotive executive, is not one to shy away from making controversial comments on Tesla. He has been doing it for years. Earlier this year, I wrote a piece correcting false and misleading information he was spreading about the automaker.
Now he is back and his latest comment on the company is a doozy. In a new interview with the popular Car and Driver magazine, Lutz compared Tesla to socialism.
When asked “will Tesla still exist 20 years from now?” Bob said:
“As it is presently, no. As they say, “Socialism is great until they run out of other people’s money.” Tesla burns cash. It’s not a car company, it’s a cult of fanatics who think Elon Musk can do no wrong. But financially, it doesn’t work.”
It’s not the first time he’s made similar comments about Tesla’s financial situation and I already addressed those in my last piece on his comments about Tesla.
It has a kernel of truth to it, but it is misguided. It’s based on his lack of ability to understand a young automaker heavily investing in future production capacity, which is understandable since such a company literally hasn’t existed in a century and he worked his whole career for established automakers, but it shows a lack of foresight.
Anyway, the real kicker here is his comment comparing Tesla to socialism, which is clearly a swipe at Tesla being supported by public funds – something that has been debunked on several occasions. The comment is particularly interesting because under his reign at GM (2001-2010), the automaker went bankrupt and accepted a huge bailout from the government, which ultimately cost $11.2 billion to taxpayers.
That’s a big difference with the few millions of dollars taxpayers actually made from Tesla repaying its $465 million Department of Energy loan – money from a separate program than the auto bailout, but awarded around the same time. You could also add the Federal tax rebates that electric car owners, including Lutz’s GM Volt owners get, but those will expire in the next year or two – for Tesla anyway.
At 84, Lutz is still around to promote his ventures: VIA Motors and VL Automotive. The former is converting vans and trucks with hybrid powertrains and the latter doing exactly the opposite with the Fisker Karma.
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Update: Lutz was at it again today – Tesla/Musk attacked by ex-GM boss Lutz again, spreading misinformation ahead of earnings
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