Bob Lutz Unleashed On Autoline: Of Course He Talks Tesla


We could have almost predicted that Bob Lutz would be making a special appearance on Autoline to talk about Tesla.

Surprised? We think not.

Not long after we reported that Autoline’s John McElroy is seemingly (finally) becoming a Tesla believer – and Via’s Bob Lutz continues to have no faith in the Silicon Valley automaker – Lutz makes an appearance as a special guest on Autoline After Hours. This really comes as no surprise since we’ve also shed light, especially as of late, on the immense amount of Tesla and Tesla-related coverage in the industry today. Make no mistake, if there’s a link to Tesla (good or bad), it’s sure to be huge news on a multitude of platforms.

We watch Autoline This Week and Autoline After Hours in their entirety as often as we get the opportunity. But, we know everyone is busy and may not have time to tune in to the whole episode. If you want to simply hone in on Maximum Bob’s Tesla talk, you can see the breakdown of topics in the video description below. We’ve highlighted those sections with BOLD font.

To sum it up, Lutz gives kudos to Franz von Holzhausen and says that Tesla is the first car company with truly compelling designs. Honestly, Lutz says he loves Tesla cars, though he just doesn’t stand behind the business. McElroy agrees that there is nothing like Tesla’s offerings on the market today. He absolutely loved his recent test drive experience. However, Lutz goes on to say that this is temporary, as many automakers are coming to market with EVs that are just as good, if not better than Tesla vehicles … and they’re going to be cheaper. According to Bob, Tesla just doesn’t have the resources or technology to compete against ICE OEMs. Interestingly, the others set up a nice argument against Bob. Watch the segment to form your own opinion.

Video Description via Autoline Network on YouTube:

Bob Lutz: Live & Unleashed (And Yes, He Talks About Tesla) – Autoline After Hours 436

SPECIAL GUEST: Bob Lutz, Former Vice Chairman, GM

09:35 – Mid-Engine Corvette
31:47 – RAM: Thanks Lutz!
39:40 – Lutz’s Daily Driver
43:19 – Pontiac Solstice
48:49 – Maximum Bob Talks Tesla
56:09 – Doctor Data
59:46 – Lutz loves Rick Wagoner, Lee Iacocca
1:04:44 – Will GM bring brands back to Europe?
1:17:32 – Who should buy Tesla?
1:22:17 – Tesla conversation continues

**There is a technical issue at 1:18:16 in this broadcast For the continued Tesla conversation, please skip to 1:22:17

– Henry Payne, The Detroit News
– Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design & Production
– John McElroy,

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82 Comments on "Bob Lutz Unleashed On Autoline: Of Course He Talks Tesla"

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Bob talking his book. Any VIAble competitors to GMs EV efforts, are going to get some BOB Shade thrown on them.

What about Bob?
Bobs on Sail!

“Keep sailing, Bob”!
Sad Bob sailed/failed so miserably with VIA motors.
Unlike Bob, Musk went thru what was needed to build a profitable vehicle and drove the cost out of the vehicle, and designed it for mass production. Bob could have done that at VIA, but chose not to. FAILURE of LEADERSHIP. Failure of Vision.
So, yeah, he’s burned that he’s now a failure in comparison.

“Maximum Bob”, “he’s burned” to the Max!

Tesla in the future won’t stand still, and let the legacy ICE OEMs beat them on quality and cost, of overall value oriented compelling EVs, that people desire.

It’s important to consider that informed savvy consumers, are willing to wait for production to ramp up, and meet overwhelming demand, of exceptional products.

I am so fed-up with this clown. Instead of speculating about the demise of Tesla, which he has been doing for a decade, why doesn’t he apologize for running GM into the ground, resulting in their bankruptcy and subsequent government bailout?

Lutz might be loosing it…. a cranky knee-jerk reaction to an up and coming car company that has already proven itself and it’s products. Some degree of jealousy? And we need to look closer at Lutz’ own record: the successes and the never-discussed failures. Like the Solstice – a design nightmare, a quality nightmare, a stone in performance, dead dynamics, flat seats and old school steering. A sales failure, resulting in a dead factory and thousands of jobs lost. And there are so many others. He can’t rest of his CTS-V successes alone.

DEFINITELY jealousy. Bob wants to think himself as the great autobiz titan. In reality, no one but the people that follow the auto biz even know his name but everyone knows Elon Musk whether they like him or hate him.

Yeah, I think it’s clear that the green-eyed monster has possessed Bob’s soul. By now he’s become pretty predictable and repetitive in his predictions for Tesla’s failure, but his comments seem about as relevant today as complaints about the state of his 8-track tape collection.

From article: “…According to Bob [Lutz], Tesla just doesn’t have the resources or technology to compete against ICE OEMs…”

So Tesla Model 3 is outselling Chevy Bolt (the follow-up EV to Lutz’s Volt project) by a factor of 14x… without Tesla having in hand the benefit of the resources or technology needed to compete against GM.

To believe that requires a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe something surreal.

There is a point in that Tesla only has the one assembly factory that is getting near capacity. And Tesla finances are shaky making it difficult for them to get another. But I think that Tesla could shop around for another old abandoned auto factory, refurbish it, and get it up & running. Or build the next one in Asia where costs will be lower.

“getting near capacity”?
That’s what always was true. Tesla is and always was production bound. For 10 years now.
Still Tesla have more capacity then anybody else (apart from China cheap and small models).

So where are those big and nasty competitors?
Well, they struggle 10 times more with capacity.

80 years ago, one Summer day, Bob came home crying.
What’s wrong honey, asked his mom?
In response Bob turned over a small pouch with a drawstring, it was empty.
Oh, said his mom, you lost all your marbles.
80 hence it would happen again.

Who is the “Boob Putz” anyways?? Did he ever start an EV company from scratch?
Why is he relevant? Does he have experience in bankrupting companies?

Must be short funded “consulting for hire”.
-Tesla has the lowest battery cost today.
-And the largest battery factory.
Good to ignore obvious facts that destroy your theory Bob.
GM would have to raise the money Tesla raised to compete with Tesla, and it looks like they don’t have the stomach for it.

Only the Porsche will be “just as good”. Porsche may flood the market with 10,000?
The other offerings are not as good as Tesla because the other manufacturers have gotten a secret agreement to not challenge their ICE line, that’s clear from what’s coming out. So, Bob is Out Of Touch. Even the Financial Times says Tesla isn’t being challenged.

Oh Bob, it’s not Tesla that’s making you irrelevant, it’s you.

The only people who car about what he says are shorters. If he were talking about anything else than Tesla, he’d be dismissed as a old has-been of a has-been looking for limelight fighting to stay relevant.

Thanks for stopping by Bob and giving us the thumbs down.

Bob’s eating on camera like a total putz , meanwhile the dude on the far right wants to go back to bed with his bed-head.

Top six sales in August 2018:

17800 (+25%) Tesla Model 3
2750 (+108%) Tesla Model X
2625 (+119%) Tesla Model S
2071 (+4%) Toyota Prius Prime
1825 (+24%) Chevy Volt
1225 (+4%) Chevy Bolt

Customers are voting with their wallets and Chevy isn’t winning.

I’m not going to watch that video, that’s for sure. No need to ruin my day by another sour old lier…

He’s interesting in everything, but, then a total BLUNDER when it comes to Tesla.
He must get his “financial” information from Seeking Alpha.

I quite couldn’t get his info on VIA? Something about not being able to get parts?

Nobody will Not Stop Tesla , TESLA HAS ALREADY & WILL CONTINUE TO SUCCEED.. That’s wishful thinking … There will be More “Humble Pie” Served Up for all the Tesla Bashers to feast on . As Tesla Becomes a Force to Reckon with. To them I say , “Eat Up & Enjoy”

What did Bob Lutz do when he was at GM as CEO that someone else couldn’t have done. Another over paid CEO. Visionary NOT.

If you actually watched the show posted above, the whole show, you would now be educated in the FACT that Bob Lutz was NEVER the CEO of GM. That’s OK, many here seem to be just as ignorant, you seem to be just another pile on Tesla drone.

The video crashes right when they start talking tesla.

LOL @ Maximum Bob.

Does after hours mean 5:30pm? I think that’s when he is supposed to go to bed.

McElroy is a shill for Detroit big 3 anyways.

Someone that works for a company that has 5 of the VIA trucks posted about their experiences on a forum I peruse. Basically said they were mostly pieces of junk (always breaking down, incredibly loud even when they functioned properly, service was a disaster). But they were impressed with the truck’s 14.4 kW output ports. These trucks could be quite useful as mobile emergency charging points for BEV owners that had pushed their luck on range. A 15 minute boost could give a car like the i3 or Bolt a ~6 mile charge, enough to limp on (hopefully) to a nearby charging station.

Well at least that says Via has actually started selling their conversion vans, even if it’s in very, very low numbers. I really wasn’t sure if they had found any customers at all.

At any rate, I think it’s safe to say that Via Motors isn’t exactly the runaway success that Tesla is! 😉

I suppose if I was Bob, I’d be jealous of Tesla too. But I hope that I would have enough sense to keep my mouth shut about it.

“They have no technology that nobody else has. Absolutely no technological advantage, not in autonomy, not in batteries, not in control systems, it’s just an electric car like everybody.” – Bob Putz

Is he really wrong? What does Tesla have that one of the other auto bigs couldn’t duplicate if they wanted? Obviously “Brand prestige” can’t be easily duplicated, but that’s not a technical advantage. The Supercharger network? If another manufacturer really wanted to lose money and build one, they could. Tesla’s battery tech isn’t the secret sauce, as LG Chem/Samsung seem to have just as good chemistries.
The advantage certainly isn’t on the production line, as Tesla has one of the highest employees-per-car-produced ratios in the biz. And it’s definitely not in the paint shop. Lol
Again, what technical advantage does Tesla have that the other manufacturers don’t?

If they can duplicate why won’t they? Do you think Benz and VW want to make weaker evs intentionally so they don’t upset Tesla?

Because they care about making a profit?

Profit vs. market share.
Tesla is winning marketshare today, profit tomorrow. — Economics.

Actually, Tesla is winning profit share for EVs today.

Hey, nice job there of changing the subject to avoid admitting you lost the argument.

How is he changing he subject??! Asked a question and he responded. Why aren’t other companies doing what Tesla is doing? Because they have to make a profit. Seems pretty straight forward to me. So how has he lost the argument?

Because they HAVE TO MAKE A PROFIT. Tesla apparently does not.

Scale, no dealerships to share profits with, no marketing needed (Jaguar spends $5k per car in marketing), dedicated EV platforms, one of the most desirable brands, 500,000 paid reservations, mineral/battery supply lines secured severeral year prior to competition, 5,000,000,000 miles of autopilot ghost mode data, 1,500,000,000 miles of autopilot data, lowest battery pack cost in the industry, highest safety ratings, no fossil manufacturing lines to retire, no wasted R&D on fuel cells to try and green wash your company with, favorable Zev credit policy environment, over the air updates, etc.

Nice points but I am not convinced Tesla shadow miles are being used that heavily. Especially once you change the architecture then previous data might be useless. If they were capturing that data for their simulator/testing then that is perfect but is that really happening?

“I do not know, so it must not be happenning”.

Do you also close your eyes and pretend that anything you do not see….


Shadow miles provide human driver reactions to particular road (and conditions as far as car can detect them). So they are always up to date. Each new software, or even smallest change can be tested against those human reactions, over and over.
This way Tesla do have not only realistic data set, but also two points of reference (previous best by software, and best by human driver) to make sure that any change to software is beneficial.

Such large tests on a tinniest changes are industry standard. Software industry. We call them automated tests.

Next time, do not use your ignorance as an argument in favor of your hypothesis.

Smartest automotive CEO and some of the top tech talent in the world and a mission like no other.

So where are all these Tesla-killers then?
I’m actually a bit fed up with Tesla jerking customers around with pricing.
The Model S rear child seat options went up 3 times.
The Model 3 AWD pricing went up 2 times. Don’t even wanna talk about paint.

I want to buy a Tesla killer. Where can I find one?
I don’t want an obvious el-cheapo, basic interior BEV called Bolt.
Leaf 2.0 in 60kWh is not available.
Audi is a joke. If dealers won’t sell it then I won’t trust dealers to service it.
I-PACE might be OK, but review said it look cramped and efficiency looks poor. Can’t buy one today.
EQC maybe, but not available.
Don’t talk about that little citymobile i3.
Kia looks good for the kid. Come on, bring it to US.

To compete with Tesla you have to spend like Tesla, on battery research, and production capacity. For Lutz and you to ignore that is folly, and invalidates your argument. Tesla has the lowest cost battery, and the best battery solution on the market, with the lowest degradation.

If LG Chem could compete with Tesla Tesla would be buying their batteries, as Tesla is the largest battery customer in the world. They literally make Panasonic the largest battery producer in the world.

Why don’t you go argue with Sandy Munro, and tell him he’s wrong about his Model 3 teardown analysis, and his statements that Tesla does a better job integrating its car builds than anybody else, and has better electronics than any other auto maker?

I’d love to be a fly on the wall when you “explain” to Sandy how you “know” so much more than he does, based on your random guesses rather than his teardown analysis. 😉

What advantage? They HAVE the Supercharger network. They HAVE the gigafactory. They HAVE the fastest production car. They HAVE by far the best over the air updating. They HAVE a centralized computing system that has been proven by a teardown to be better than everyones. They HAVE taken the market from the top luxury manufacturers. They HAVE NOT gone bankrupt. They HAVE the most accumulated miles of autonomous experience. They HAVE the fastest, longest distance car in the history of cars. The Roadster on its way to Mars.

Jean-Baptiste Labelle
Yes, the SC network. They have it since 6 years and the others are at best 2 years away from reaching Tesla and Tesla is not exactly standing still. And 2 years will gave them half to a million cars additional on the road. They also have the best battery chemistry. Even the NMC 811 chemistry, supposed to be commercialize next year does not match current NCA Tesla / Panasonic chemistry in term of density and low Cobalt content (the most expensive component of the battery). They also are the only one to be able to drive electronically Induction Motor, which are cheap / simple / powerful. And the Model III goes even further with PSRM motor even cheaper. So we are at 3 major advantages already: the best and cheapest batteries, the cheapest motors, the best fast charging network. Pretty darn good advantages for an EV. But it does not stop here. They have the best electronics and integration. Result: an i-Pace, a car 1cm shorter than the Model III, on highway, is consuming around 35% more than the much bigger Model S and even more than a X!!! It is also twice the price of a Model III… Read more »
The point he made about incumbents being able to sell a small volume of EVs at loss, simply by raising the price of high-volume product a tiny bit, reducing cost by a tiny bit, or reducing profits a little, is valid at the moment, and for at least a few more years. Tesla isn’t going to make five million cars next year, or any of the first few years after that either. But I was frankly surprised at how weak his argument was in its totality. I’d have expected him to come up with something that sounded plausible. He says they’ll make 15-20k underpriced EVs a year. But there’s already demand for millions of EVs per year, so at those volumes, even if lower price manages to attract customers who would otherwise get a Tesla, as his theory requires, there would be plenty demand when all the incumbents’ EVs have been sold. And the *growth* in EV demand is huge, so there’s every reason to expect the incumbents have to make hundreds of thousands of EVs per year in order to stand any chance of running Tesla out of business by undercutting them on price. And he simply didn’t have… Read more »

Yes, as California is 50% of the US auto market, it’s not good to ignore California and make it up somewhere else.

Not to mention there are 20 other states now that follow California’s standards.

And since recent changes too effect already, mandatory sales are per state, so underperformance in any of those means a need for extra credits bought or limits to total sales, or fines.

The problem is that ICE car companies CAN’T both lose money on individual EV sales and sell large volumes to compete with Tesla. It is one or the other, they can’t do both, or they won’t be able to compete on ICE sales with ICE companies not selling EV’s.

And meanwhile, Tesla is well on the way to both making money and selling in large volumes at the same time.

My jaw hit the floor when he claimed the Tesla semi prototypes were just plaster models for the stage. No wonder he is so ignorant about Tesla, he simply doesn’t know anything about them. I mean the semis have been on the road and touring the country for almost a year now, and it has been very well documented. He seems to have no idea about this.

Well, Tesla is known for marching out shells of cars with no guts (see fake Model 3 with melting side mirrors at the Gigafactory/shell 2020 Roadster displayed at a European auto show earlier this month), so not a completely off the wall assumption.

No, doing it once doesn’t mean Tesla is “known for” showing props of prototypes instead of actual working prototypes.

But you serial Tesla bashers certainly are working hard trying to make it look like Tesla is “known” for that! 🙄

Grand Basel in Basel is the ultimate show for automotive masterpieces that showcases top-of-the-range automobiles from the past, present and future. It is a show that focuses on style, design and future cars. Why ship an operational model there?

One Semi has been on the road. Still unclear where they will be manufactured and how they will charge.

One is all you need to have a full prototype. Having more than one is just a waste of resources because the early prototype is for testing and will be heavily modified in future versions. As they get closer to a final design they’ll have multiple builds so they can get much more reliability testing data in parallel.


One has been on the road, to customers, charging at Tesla’s charging stations. This has been covered extensively. The customers are seeing the Semi today. It’s not going to change radically, or for the worse. Remember, Musk always under-spec’s his product announcements, and out-performs the specs on final delivery.

I don’t know what you will or won’t consider a “radical” change, but I won’t be at all surprised if the production prototypes show substantial changes from the original two tech demonstrator prototypes. For example, having a single centrally placed seat in the cabin, with no passenger’s seat, ain’t gonna fly.

Er, just to point out that the passenger seat in the Tesla semi is behind and slightly to the side of the driver’s seat against the rear wall. The seat bottom is usually folded up out the way. You can see it in a number of photos, and it is mentioned in some articles. Check out Andrew Black | Tesla Semi Truck (Outside and Inside) on Youtube.

Two have been on the road making deliveries, and now travelling the country to show them off. They will charge at Tesla chargers which will be in before the first trucks are delivered, both at roadside and at company depots. 30 minutes of charge will give 400 miles of range.

Apple was associated to the personality of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs dies. Apple is even bigger now. Sorry, Bob. You are wrong again…

Bob was semi alive and vice chairman (the guy on the financial side of things) when GM went bankrupt.

Are you saying Tesla would be bigger if Musk were to die?

Why is IEVs giving time to this clown?

Articles like this are red meat for us Tesla fanbois, and IEVs knows it. Altho by now, we’ve seen so many articles about Dinosaur Bob’s stuck-in-the-past rants that IMHO they’ve become rather stale.

Seriously, can we stop seeing posts about this guy? He’s irrelevant and hasn’t said anything true and interesting in many years. Is he still a climate change denier (i.e. thinking of his infamous “crock” one-liner)? He’s devolved into bad self-parody, and doesn’t even have the self-awareness to see it.

I would love to see this site ignore him, even if he suddenly had a change of heart and started praising Tesla.

Well, good news, Android will embed in cars. The Bolt “android drive” is so bad it is downright embarrassing.

the “technical issue” at 1:18 was coincidentally when Lutz lies about Tesla non technological advantage and the host brought up Munro’s teardown conclusions

Lutz is a veteran of the auto industry, he is entitled to his opinion. I don’t think he understands the Tesla cult, it is nothing like what he has experienced.

First question should always be disclosure. Do you own any stock in the company you are talking up or shorting a stock you are not…

Bob is just jealous. Tesla is kicking the butt of every automaker that he worked for and he can’t stand it. The other automakers are just not yet convinced the EV market works, they are not designing good EVs, and they are way behind in the technology & infrastructure.

Maybe the other automakers will eventually catch up…but I see nothing on the horizon showing that they’ll be able to catch up in the next 2 to 3 years.

Get Bob some more crackers!

Thanks for posting this, Steve. I for one (and perhaps, based on comments below, the only one) enjoyed it. He talked about a LOT more than Tesla. It one of Bob’s more astute conversations about both the auto industry’s history and its future.

Agreed. Thanks!

Is info about the Corvette valid? He keeps saying it’s full speculation.
Is a mid-engine Corvette coming?
A Hybrid Corvette would be very interesting.

True about brand crowding.
The BMW X2, X3 not much better than a Ford Escape, Explorer.
About 15% better, but, not the handling and the ride, better brakes yes, better seats yes. But, not really enough to justify the BMW name. But of course, an SUV just isn’t a platform from a sporty car.

And good point about affordability across the board.

Bob talks about program discipline in the Viper program.
If he wasn’t a paid short “consultant” he would be able to validate Musk doing the same think on the Model 3.

Bob, if the bean counters have too much influence : “Holy smoke, what happened to this interior, it’s all black plastic”
— Exactly, the Chevy Bolt interior.

Wow. A Yukon is his daily driver? What a disappointment. A bus is his daily driver. Nice about the other cars, but a bus is the closes “car” to pick. All his car opinions are now invalidated.

Bob, apparently totally unaware of quarter to quarter growth of Tesla. Today, it’s at 200,000 cars a year run rate, in three months? This guy is under-informed.

Whaddaya expect from someone stuck in the 20th century?

If Bob started using Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch as his stand-in for these video interviews, would anyone notice the difference? 😉

(Well, yeah… Oscar is much cuter!)

This is funny… lutz saying all the. Dirty car production of the legacy manufactures is why Tesla can’t compete! Hahahahaha…its the opposite! No offense, but staying stuck in dirty oil is why Elon wins….you’re stuck with redoing old plants or shutting them, an outdated dealership model and CRAP INVENTORY! Elon started fresh, knows and cares about the future…and it’s balls to the wall! Gigafactory 1,2 and soon 3… more batteries “secured!”, top quality…. Solar, utility grid stabilization, dedicated people, free advertising…you’re FRACKED! BTW, There’s plenty of room for any remaini g companies to go EV…the entire world needs to dump oil…ICE is death…and people are realizing it…and with Model 3s flooding neighborhoods…its just gonna ramp the demand for Kona EV and others…. Tata! Nissan Leaf owner with a M3 on order…crushed my Pathfinder & mom’s spotless Buick Lesaber…dont wanna see them on the road! Im in Idaho not.CA but we’re changing fast!