Bob Lutz recently was a guest of the MotoMan Studio in an interesting episode about the automotive industry (mostly the established carmakers and their future). Only a small part of the talk (from 45:00) was about Tesla, but it was "a hell of a ride".
First of all, Bob Lutz, a former top leader of Ford, Chrysler and GM, is very skeptical and sometimes also derisive about Tesla. He's been this way for years.
Lutz's general conclusion is that Tesla is doomed, and it might happen sooner rather than later. But if Tesla is poised to fail, what will be its future? Bankruptcy or acquisition (by some other carmaker)? Bob Lutz answers "Who would want it?". Is Bob Lutz entitled to say things like that about Tesla?
In Lutz's opinion, there are many problems with Tesla, including:
- they will fail, because of the "continued lack of profitability", "stocks gonna tank" and it will be difficult to raise more cash, especially if Elon Musk will undermine investor confidence
- "All they have are some good-looking electric cars that sell below cost"
- Tesla doesn't have unique technology, they are using the same lithium-ion technology as everybody else
- Every other manufacturer will introduce a 300+ mile electric car on the market (there will be no advantage)
- zero-emission credits as a source of revenues (in the U.S.) and in Europe (deal with FCA) will dry too
- Other manufacturers are forced to produce a certain amount of EVs, so they will do it, even at a loss, and then recoup the cost on conventional models (this is a major factor behind the rising prices on crossovers/SUVs and full-size pickups). For Tesla, it's a lot of EV competition.
- Another problem is too many employees at the plants (in particular at the Tesla Factory - currently closed)
- The vertical integration is wrong, as you not only spend precious capital instead of ordering stuff from suppliers, but also will be required to keep investing to stay competitive with external suppliers of the rest of the industry
Well... that is a strong, pessimistic voice. Hopefully, Tesla will survive in a good shape, improving its weaker points (as some are real), as the times ahead are very challenging.