Bob Lutz: Chevy Volt Was My Favorite, Model X Is Broken, Model 3 Won’t Arrive On Time Or Price

MAY 16 2016 BY JAY COLE 149

Bob Lutz And Rick Wagoner Shake Over The Concept Chevy Volt At The 2007 NAIAS In Detroit

Bob Lutz And Rick Wagoner Shake Over The Concept Chevy Volt At The 2007 NAIAS In Detroit

You know you have been around a long time when:

…every time someone writes a story about you it begins with your age, and then a quick list of ‘what you have already done’, like the author has pulled your pre-written obituary and re-purposed it into a tidy opening preamble.

For A Time, Bob Lutz Was Affiliated With (on again, off again) Extended Range Truck Maker VIA

For A Time, Bob Lutz Was Affiliated With (on again, off again) Extended Range Truck Maker VIA

So, if you don’t know who Bob Lutz is by now, we aren’t going to explain it to you.

Ok, maybe we will, here are the bullet points:

  • he is a “car guy”
  • “father” of the Chevy Volt
  • has developed a ton of cars over 50 years, mostly at GM, Chrysler, BMW and Ford.

But more recently, he is the go-to guy for a candid “automotive insider” take on Tesla.   This time it was CBS Money Watch who tuned him up.  Here are the points of interests.

On Lutz’s favorite creation to be associated with:

“I’ve been identified with a lot of successful cars, but I guess the last one in my career that was groundbreaking was the Chevrolet Volt because it was an entirely new and different technology.”

Mr. Lutz: Big fan of the Tesla Model 3...not a fan of the Model X doors

Mr. Lutz: Big fan of the Tesla Model 3…not a fan of the Model X doors

On Tesla’s electric vehicles:

“I’m a great fan of the vehicles. I’m certainly a great fan of the Model S. The Model X isn’t working too well because it doesn’t have enough roof structure, so those doors are never going to work. The Model 3 — we’ll see what happens with that. I think it’s going to be delayed again.”

More waiting coming to those are waiting, for the Model 3 (InsideEVs/Scott F)

More waiting coming to those who…um are waiting, for the Model 3 (InsideEVs/Scott F)

Building on that quote, advice for people with reservations on the Model 3:

“I would say be prepared for far more delays than you have bought into, and secondly, be prepared to pay more than what you thought you were going to pay.”

Bob Lutz also talks about the future of electric vehicles, while noting that Tesla’s business model doesn’t work, and that “they’re losing a ton of money” and “running out of cash”.

Mr. Lutz says the other traditional automakers are just now seriously coming into the segment as plug-in vehicle start to go mainstream, and they (big auto) will be selling them at a “deliberate loss” in the future to gain market share, losses offset by traditional offerings, something Tesla can not do as it only sells all-electric vehicles.

On Elon Musk, and the pulling forward of production/delivery plans on the Model 3 (new targets: ~July 2017 start of production, up to 200,000 Model 3s built in 2017):

“You know, Elon Musk is a wonderful guy. He’s a visionary. He’s personally charming. He’s the eternal optimist. (However), he does make a lot of claims and a lot of statements that as time goes by prove to be not to be quite accurate. Every time somebody tries to focus in on the here and now, he dangles another grand vision in front of them.”

Once again, love him or hate him, Mr. Bob Lutz speaks his mind clearly.

CBCNews/Moneywatch, hat tip to sven!


Categories: Chevrolet, Tesla

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149 Comments on "Bob Lutz: Chevy Volt Was My Favorite, Model X Is Broken, Model 3 Won’t Arrive On Time Or Price"

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Dangling another grand vision, like Tesla 3 they’ve been working on since about 2010?

Actually what they have been working on since 2006…

Blog Post by Elon Musk
The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me):

“…Build sports car

Use that money to build an affordable car

Use that money to build an even more affordable car

While doing above, also provide zero

emission electric power generation options

Don’t tell anyone.”


Tesla has Nothing to worry about.
The Model 3 is a great Value car, as it looks like it trounces the BMW 3 series, and without the Federal Tax Credit built into the MSRP. It’s a breakthru car.

Lutz responded to the Tesla threat with a great car, the Volt, but Musk, by going Pure EV has just built a better product.

If the Volt had rear seat headroom, you know like a GM SAAB, I would be driving around in on, instead of waiting for a no compromise vehicle.

Traditional automakers will lose money to gain market share an Tesla can’t afford that because it has no ICE to subsidise EVs.
Hmm… If that’s their business plan. We will do worse because we have deep pockets and we can lose money. And Tesla is bad because it’s “loosing” money on increasing capacity.
Wow – logic beyond this reasoning is beyond me.

Bob Lutz Has been Senile for a long time & Has Diarehea of the mouth …He’s Old & worn & should be in an Old folks home resting instead of running his senseless mouth & ruining the auto industry further than He has already …

Bob Lutz is an icon. You ought to read a book or two he has written.

Start with Car Guys vs. Beancounters.

Lutz gave us the BMW 3 Series, Viper and Volt. You say he’s some old nut we should ignore? He knows more about the car industry than all of us together will know in our lifetimes.

We can grant him his opinions, and hope Musk proves him wrong. You can rest assured he begrudgingly respects him – as was noticeable when Volt was imagined, and in the film: Who Killed The Electric Car and
Revenge Of The Electric Car.

Many of Lutz’s opinions are jaded from his era in the car business, and he is like us, giving armchair opinions off the cuff – being that he obviously isn’t well-informed re: Tesla’s energy storage business, and the sheer victories Musk pulls off – being the practical visionary he is. To older types, the types and amounts of risk Musk is dealing with in getting a Falcon booster to land on a robot barge, or electric cars into all of our garages is just too risky and perhaps, foolhardy to embrace.

I think being Chairman of the Board at VIA Motors says Lutz understands, even at his age – quite a bit more than some of us might give him credit for.

When he says, “Volt should’ve been a truck” – we know he’s 100% spot-on. Of course, he spoke that in hindsight – and GM wouldn’t have built an EREV/PHEV truck if their lives depended upon it.

If he has any influence at VIA, he should be doing what Tesla is doing and Virtually Integrating to drive down the Price of those Trucks. I mean if he wants marketshare he has to Walk the Walk.

Vertical Integration – Business Concept.
Where by you make everything in the chain that the product needs.

Tesla Out MBA’d Lutz.

To check his sanity, ask him if he’s still a global warming denier.

Yes = crazy.

There is much truth in your words. But as the philosopher Tswift says, playuz gonna play and haterz gonna hate.

Mr. Lutz has a fantastic record of accomplishment – what do you have?

He is gracious and complementary of Mr. Musk, as Mr. Musk was greatful to me, thanking me for risking $110K on a roadster to make his company viable.

What graciousness do we have from you? I believe you said I ‘Drink my Bathwater’?

Just another constipated old coot.

It would be one thing if these statements were coming from a spoiled 14 year old, but most making them are over 60. Disgusting.

BTW do u even own an electric car, or are you one of these self-appointed big experts of which there is no shortage here?

GM and Chrysler Corp
Are the only car makers that “NEEDED”
a BAIL-OUT… Courtesy of Bob Lutz.
You read his book…. Wow, im suprised
You can read. Did your parents have any children that lived?

GR8SHAG is unfortunately typical of the mean spirited, hateful person posting here. Your post does not change any facts I mentioned and the only point I would agree with you on is, if it were up to me, I would not have bailed out GM nor Chrysler. IN Chrysler’s case, the whole company was basically given to FIAT, after Diamler lost a ton of money on them.

But your nasty personal remarks make me glad that luminaries such as ELON MUSK are not the attrocious people you are. Mr. Musk thanked me and showed gratitude for supporting his company with my purchase, as mentioned.

There have been reasonable comments by others who have said they would never buy an EV since they would never want to be associated with the low-lifes who make hateful comments here, such as yourself.

thumbs up

I wonder why they don’t ask him how his “Here and Now” current endeavors are doing and when will a product come out for the ‘Masses’?

The deliberate loss model is actually a common, if cutthroat, way to deal with competitors like Tesla. Commonly referred to as Predatory Pricing, it isn’t illegal per se (it all comes down to motives, monopolies, etc.), and thus it would be hard to prove GM is doing it achieve certain things like a monopoly.

Indeed, THIS is the biggest risk to Tesla…once the “big boy” manufacturers show up to the party (years late)…they eat all the food.

Actually, it won’t be GM who ends up eating Tesla’s lunch. Notice that BMW and Audi are deliberately positioning most of their launches to coincide with the point when both GM and Tesla will lose their federal rebates. They can afford to make the R&D investment and wait 10 years to launch it when the market is right.

That’s a remarkably generous way to view the German’s lateness. If that actually were their strategy it would be an awfully risky one, since it’s not like the rebate expiration is set in stone. It’s questionable (to say the least) whether Congress would allow it to be used as a rope-a-dope tactic to allow foreign automakers to beat American ones.

rope-a-dope – well said, but disagree in that it is likely that the tea-party is going to take a beating in congress, as the centrists will be out in force to vote ‘against’ and negative voting follows party lines, therefore, there is hope for the 7500 Fed credit to continue beyond 200k, for the reasons many of us feel here: cutting of the market inventors/innovators makes no sense if it serves to help the knuckle-draggers.

Unfortunately, NEW also sells, and the timing cannot be ignored — as the innovators products are getting long in the tooth, here comes Audi and Toyerta to the rescue with new and exciting.
Time will tell.

What on earth makes you think the Tea Party members of Congress are going to take a beating in November? Is there any polling data to suggest this, because if so I haven’t seen it. The central theme of the Tea Party is that we are taxed enough already (TEA) and the federal government needs to reign in spending and do something about the ever burgeoning debt that looms like a monetary albatross around the necks of our children and grandchildren. Those are themes a large number of Americans on both sides of the political center tend to identify with.

voting tends toward reactionary, as we have no ‘gotta vote For them’ candidate this time (and the centrist sway to a Party’s big wins in ’08) we are left with avidly voting Against (also, historically, leading to party sway, against the Against).
Time will tell if the picture can be repainted, but Against votes tend to be brutal – think straight ticket.
(I’m humbly hinting that centrist voting of ~20% -the deciding vote- is not Yet swayed to love one of the candidates.. Remotely)
and like All perceptions and opinions, mine may be Wrong in November

The FED could cancel all goverment bonds it holds at any time. When in control of a central bank, government debt is not an issue if inflation (which is a tax on savings) is kept under control. The US has a big advantage, since almost all comodities in the world are traded in dollars, the FED can print money (buy new goverment debt) and export inflation to the rest of the world.

He said the opposite for the Volt. No car maker is loosing money on electrics, unless they do it on purpose… the purpose being making believe that electrics are more expensive than ICE. They are not. Of course if you build only compliance quantities, they will be expensive without the economies of scale. They are all aware of this but all keep quiet about it..

In order to make more, you have to sell more. GM had to shut down the Volt factories multiple times due to slow demand. If there are no demand, then you can’t sell more. And please spare me your next point… Which you would blame GM for lack of marketing. That is completely BS. There were plenty of marketing back in 2011/2012 and Volt still couldn’t sell 1/2 of its original goal of 45K/year without fleet sales. That is the simple fact. Too many people hate GM even if the Volt is awesome. That includes YOU! If Volt was marketed under Toyota or Honda brand, it would have easily sold 2x much even with less marketing. There are just people out there that will NEVER buy a GM product (including you) regardless how good the car is. So, maybe it is time to look at the demand problem! The few people who are interested in EVs still are waiting for Tesla on the side lines rather than jumping in now. You are one of them who would rather drive a NON-plugin hybrid and wait for Tesla than buying a PHEV. If the Volt was a Toyota, you would have at… Read more »

When you price a 4 seater well over the normal price, hybrid or not you know from the start you wont sell many. Car makers use mainly 3 deceptive tactics to NOT sell EVs.

– High price tag(the Fit-EV and the Focus-Ev were 3 times the regular price!)
– Lousy range (or AER range)
– Unavailability, as you know even the Volts were hidden the first years.

You may add the lack of recharging points, the weakness and slowness of the recharge and the lack, weakness and slowness of salespersons at the dealerships.

Marketing people are all well aware of how to make anti-marketing works while making believe they are genuine in their commitment.

“The technology is not ready yet” Yeah, sure! Tesla goes to 400 miles with tiny means and experience…

“There is no demand” +400 000 reservations for a car that does not exist yet!

Bulls*** yourself MMF.

ICE car makers managed to kill the demand in 2003, and last year, the RAV4-EV disappeared, Nissan stalled the Leaf’s sales, as well as GM for the Volt. Announcing one full year in advance the new model is a sale killer. They did it on purpose. Isn’t it strange that those rare EV sales plummeted in the same time as the Teslas has risen ?
There is still NO real competition, car makers are playing us, again…

““There is no demand” +400 000 reservations for a car that does not exist yet!”

That is 15 years pent up demand combined with a bunch of Tesla fan boys like you.

“Bulls*** yourself MMF.”

LOL. Toyota sells more than 400k Camry world wide. GM and Ford sell more than 400K pickup trucks in the US alone.

You are talking about 400K over multiple years of demand in a global market of 80 million+ on something that might or might NOT make profits even after the Gigafactory is build.

Yeah, BS is on you for sure… LOL

Yes, I have one of those reservation. You know why? Because if government is willing to kick in $10K toward that $35K on something that cost more to build than sell for, then it is a good deal right? Everyone loves a good deal.

But if Tesla Model 3 quality is going to be as bad as some of the Model X, then you can forget it, I will be glad to ask for my refund.

Thanks for fighting the good fight, MMF (and others) – I guess I need to appraise the value of ‘counterpoint’ to uninitiated readers rather than Patently Ignoring (aka scrolling past) the rogue’s gallery of Every Damned Article. I owe ya’ a Pyrat

civility and argument support.. ahh, those were the days..

Camry is made for American market, it’s not available everywhere. If you would see one in Europe, it’s more than 50% possibility that it’s been imported from USA.
I still own Mitsubishi 3000GT, which is very rare is Europe, that’s why I imported it from USA. It’s even green, the colour which been created specially for USA market again

You speak my mind, Maybe Volt and Bolt are not the best cars that’s available on the market, but they are great cars.
If these are make by GM, it can sell a lot more.

If these cars are NOT made my GM, they can sell a lot more.


Thanks for that very thoughtful post, MMF!

But I hope you realize you’re arguing with a hardcore conspiracy theorist. RexxSee has convinced himself that EV batteries actually cost far, far less than EV makers claim, and therefore he’s also convinced himself that BEVs actually cost less to manufacture than comparably equipped gasmobiles.

His mind is made up, don’t confuse him with the facts! 😉

First, there is much less parts in a BEV, therefore, cost of material, less manpower(robots) to assemble it, less imports, less subcontracting.
Built in large enough numbers, they will cost LESS than ICEs.

Second, if you care to cogitate a bit, How ICE car makers can justify such a high pricetag on the rare compliance BEV they build? Certainly not on the motor, the charger or the control electronics! So the only part left is the battery.

I never said :”EV batteries actually cost far, far less than EV makers claim” You put words in my mouth. I said many times that they do not disclose the real price of batteries (Tesla doesn’t either) and all we’ve got is speculations, P.R. disinformation and only one “official” price from a “leak” that will not hold for long with the fluctuation of the market and the uncertain Bolt production numbers.

Third, Any car produced in large volume will see it’s cost plummet fast with economy of scales, including the cost of the battery packs.

Yes my mind is made up because the evidences are there, but you have to read between the lines of official media (anti)marketing.

Part of GM’s marketing problems have to do with the Federal Tax Credit. They have to keep volume low or risk losing that advantage.

Which would really hurt if they are the only company that has used up their allotted 200K+ sales. GM and Tesla will be at a huge disadvantage if there is on extension…

RexxSee said:
“No car maker is loosing [sic] money on electrics, unless they do it on purpose…”

Are you saying Tesla is losing money on purpose?


Did You read their quarterly reports?

They spent money they earn and some more on gigafactory.

That is most deliberate loss making decision.

You can not top Toyotas of this world without spending a penny!

Tesla claim 25% markup on each Models S sold! They just spent more.

Wait and see how much will Toyota’s loose in attempts to regain those losses…

That is incorrect. It is a common misconception on the internet that spending money to build the Gigafactory means that Tesla deducts that amount as expenses on their Income Statement. That is absolutely wrong, and goes completely against fundamental accounting.

Tesla makes ~25% profit on each car sold. As Amazon did for a decade, they are reinvesting in their insane growth. You spread FUD.

Construction expenses to build the Gigafactory or upgrade the Fremont factory, and purchasing manufacturing equipment/robots are NOT deductible expenses on the Income Statement, and thus don’t directly affect profit or loss. Once again Tesla can NOT deduct the amount they spend to construct or build the Gigafactory, or the amount Tesla spends on buying machinery, equipment, and robots for the Gigfactory and Fremont factory. These construction expenses and machinery/equipment purchases affect only the balance sheet (assets, liabilities, and owners equity), and don’t affect the income statement (revenue and expenses). At the end of the year the amount spent on construction expenses is converted into a “depreciable asset” on the balance sheet. When the Gigafactory or machinery/equipment is placed in service only then can Tesla start deducting a “depreciation expense” on the income statement for those assets. The Gigafactory is depreciated over 30 yrs (1/30th of the cost is a depreciation expense each year for 30 years) and the machinery/equipment is depreciated over 5 to 15 years on a double-declining balance method (accelerated depreciation). If Tesla borrows money by issuing bonds or receiving a line of credit, then Tesla can deduct the interest expense on the income statement every year. In… Read more »

Growth is far from only Gigafactory, FUDster.

EVs are more expensive. Tesla need whole freaking Gigafactory to reign costs in.

Do not make it sound silly. And do not suggest that others can simply mimic Tesla.

It’s taking market leader in EVs and market leader in batteries to pool it off.

It’s still IMPOSSIBLE for others. LG+GM will need one more year to reach Tesla from two years ago. It’s sill… But that is market reality. Tesla is way ahead of competition.

Except the one little detail is Tesla has a big price and supply advantage in battery, EV drive, labor, dealer, etc cost.
Since big auto didn’t order batteries so the factories, mines and refineries to make them, now there will be a supply crunch for the the next 4 yrs.
Longer if they don’t put there order in now.

I like Bob but I think he has dimentia.

Looks like “Maximum” Bob is still faithful to his former master GM, but losing credibility fast by talking nonsense to trash Tesla.

About Tesla’s business model: Tesla expects an average sales price of $42k for Model 3, has suggested battery cost as low as $190/KWh and dropping and that Model 3 will get a smaller battery than Bolt.

So it looks like battery cost will be ~$8,000 which leaves ~$34K to do the rest of the car and make a decent profit. At a production run of 300K+/year that sounds like a particularly profitable business model to me.

Elon Musk has already explained about overly ambitious production targets so there will no doubt be some delay, but between the low battery cost and the very large production run there is little reason to doubt the product will be delivered at the promised price and make Tesla a fortune.

Slight correction: When Jeffrey Evanson said below $190 /kwh, that was the all-in pack price. Tesla also has a top-shelf pack design. It has temperature controls, handles greater than 110kW DC charging (on the smallest, the 60kwh Model S), and has been an OEM pick for Toyota, Mercedes, Freightliner (may have been prototype only), and possibly others.

I personally think that part of Bob Lutz’ pension program with GM is to agree to spew hate and doubt when called upon to do so. This is like the tubby Adam West from the 60’s playing Batman: “Yes, commissioner Welch? You say the Riddler has promised a 215+ mile all-electric, available in nearly every global market starting in 2017? Well, it’s time that slime paid for his crime, when his company has yet to make a dime. To the Blatherskite, Barra!”

Nicely done!

Barra,…..Queen ….Bioch

Adam West was not tubby! Although that oversized utility belt he wore didn’t help to accentuate his svelte figure. And who is Commissioner Welch? Are you referring to former CEO Jack Welch. He was CEO of GE, not GM.

Peter Welch is the President of NADA. You are right, I reviewed the photos. I hereby withdraw my view of Adam West as tubby. The costume, however, was entirely unflattering to his well-maintained physique.

Holy bat underpants! Looking at that oversized pic of Adam West above, I see that he is also very well endowed. No wonder why Catwoman was so enamored with Batman! 😉

LOL, and well kidded, Vexar, though I humbly offer that Mary may be the solution, rather than part of the problem..
less bean counters is usually Good.

“Maximum Bob” I like it! Or, should it be “Minimum Bob”? As in, I have minimum interest in what he has to say about the future of electric transportation?

GM is Lutz’ corporate master? He *ran* the place.

Ran the place into the ground ..l o l ….

Lutz was NEVER the GM CEO.

So even putting the “” around the word “ran” is still incorrect…

It’s battery pack level CURRENT price of LESS THEN 190$.


And let’s not forget that Tesla has cut out the middleman of the “stealership”, so doesn’t have that dead weight sucking up their profits.

That’s something that GM won’t be able to compete with, at least not in the near future.

Re: The Model X isn’t working too well because it doesn’t have enough roof structure, so those doors are never going to work.

What a strange quote. What does never going to work even mean. Mine are working great. Could not be happier with them. And certainly there was a huge amount of design done on the roof structure for rollover testing, side impact (doors remain protecting passengers), etc, etc).

I’m hardly qualified to know, but with my background in engineering my heart sank when Tesla decided to go ahead with those doors. The more complicated something is, the more likely it is to fail – just a fact of life.

I am an engineer also and have designed doors for theme park rides. I also thought that they would never pull it off and have to change to minivan doors. They did pull it off though but at what expense. Its one expensive car.

On another note My son has a Model X and I go over to his house just ot watch the doors operate. One of the coolest things I have ever seen.

Mine also worked well thus far. I guess it would never work for you until you actually tried to operate those doors…

The EV Buffet on the Table has Frogs Legs and Crab Legs, which legs would you choose?

You can have all the Frog Legs you want – but the Crab Legs come at a Premium, however – they get you all the Drinks and hot butter you want when you buy into the Crab Legs Special!

Right now there is a line up of 400,000 for the Crab Legs, they have paid their Premium ($1,000 up front), and now the Fishermen have some work to do! Some won’t wait for their ship to come in, they will get a refund and go eat Frog Legs!

Thanks – but no thanks: I am waiting for my Crab Ship to Dock!

[By the way – I personally have eaten Frog Legs, But while they might be fun, they are just a teaser snack, not the real deal!]

That analogy made me hungry. Here’s a video on how to make Crabby Patties:

No Frog’s Legs for meh!

Traditional auto makers can say what they want but look at companies such as Motorola and Kodak. Where are they now???

scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!)

It merged to be come “Modak”. They make knitting accessories.

Modak also picks up guest villain roles in various popular sci-fi TV series.

LOL! Ok, that was funny.


Not even close.. Motorola still makes plenty of products and is the most reliable brand of communications for police, fire and public service communications, plus digital tuner boxes for Verizon , Comcast, TWC and others.. Kodak is still #1 in the movie business. .which they practically own.. and their consumer electronics business was sold off as a name plate and is sputtering along still..

What? Kodak has gone through bankruptcy and drastic downsizing, and is now a very pale shadow of its former glory.

What does “#1 in the movie business” even mean? If you mean they’re the #1 seller of the type of film used to make movies… Nearly all movie makers these days use digital cameras. And cinemas have transitioned to digital projection, so the market for movie film today is a fairly small niche.

Some photographers are still using film, too. But they’re no longer buying Kodak film… because Kodak is no longer in that business.

Let’s see where Tesla is in 25 years…

Motorola is still in business. . They make all kinds of stuff including your cable box and modem.. Kodak still is #1 in the movie business which they have a lock on.. check your facts..

Hey Bob, if you close your eyes tightly enough and cover your ears you might just ignore reality for a little longer.

He’s also a global warming denier. I know. Imagine that.

scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!)

“The Model 3 — we’ll see what happens with that. I think it’s going to be delayed again.”

Sorry, when was the first time it got delayed?

Bob illustrates the thinking of car execs, and therefore is useful. To wit:

– EVs have to be subsidized, both by the government and by the other ICE cars the maker has, because EVs are inherently unprofitable.

– Only hybrids make sense.

Given that, it is hardly a surprise that he does not understand Telsa.

“Every time somebody tries to focus in on the here and now, he dangles another grand vision in front of them.” – Saying this about the guy who has revolutionised every industry he worked in? Aren’t we a bit too arrogant, Bob?

It’s worth noting he hasn’t actually revolutionized the car *just* yet. Past performance doesn’t equal future performance.

But if I were a betting man, Musk would have my bet.

He was great but belong to the outdated dinosaur kind that has not clue about technology in the 21st century. We move so fast in technology that people like him can’t just keep up. Is not his fault is just the world is moving to fast around him. Most of the management of big car makers are suffering the same problem, only Apple, Google, Nissan and the new start ups understand the trend.

Retire, Bob.

He is retired, just not expired yet.

The people who care about what he has to say, are long retired too.

Buzz is dead as well.

Next /

I liked the Volt at 1st…When I Didn’t know any Better…

How fitting, a picture with Bob Lutz shaking hands with Rick Wagoner.

Two over-the-hill automotive losers who almost never got it right and it reflects on their companies performances.

While Tesla re-invents the automobile and hopefully saves the planet from ourselves, Bob Lutz is pulling the electric drivetrains out of Fisker Karmas to put in corvette ICE drivetrains.

Get Real , Nicely said….. & All Truth !

“be prepared to pay more than what you thought you were going to pay”

Uh, isn’t that true for all car purchases, but especially those made through stealerships?

lol….. +1

STEALERSHIPS should be Banned & Dealerships should be Run by the Manufacturers…To “STOP” Warantee Frauds Amongst all the other Stealership Ripoffs…

So Tesla isn’t focusing on the “here and now”, Mr Lutz?
How about we see how _your_ company does that and finally offer your PHEV trucks for sale? VIA Motors was founded in 2010… And you don’t have to design the entire truck from scratch, since you’re getting chassis/bodies from GM.

I was thinking the same thing about Via. It’s disappointing that after six long years, they still don’t have a consumer product. Considering they were demoing pretty-refined working prototypes three years ago, I thought they would have something on GM lots by now. I think they would sell huge.

Also, Bob is overlooking Tesla’s advantages over GM, which are (IMO) superior appearance, superior performance, superior info-tech, and their charging network. Those advantages are huge.

That being said, I’m planning to buy a Bolt when available, then in three years trade it for a Tesla Model 3.

And not necessarily individual consumer sales — it would be great news if they had started fleet sales, or even just a significant pilot program.
Their basic concept makes a lot of sense, and easier to market than consumer EVs… If their trucks save businesses money, they’ll sell well. Businesses care about that more than consumers do.
Another excellent advantage is the option for powering tools / power utensils from the battery.
I’ve been trying to figure out what’s holding them up, but haven’t been able to find any public info.

Can someone wake up grandpa Lutz and tell him this is the 21st century? We don’t ride horses anymore. We don’t need to buy ICE cars anymore to drive over 100 miles. Someone should tell Lutz the Model X doors were fixed and Tesla is so favored on Wall Street, he will have no trouble raising a billion or two to get to the Model 3.

Sorry to pop your balloons, Mr. Lutz. GM is no longer rules the center of the Universe. 🙂

Model X doors still are not fixed.

Wall St is actually currently a very mixed bag regarding Tesla stock.

Here are the analysts’ votes:

Strong Buy – 4
Buy – 2
Hold – 4
underperform – 2
Sell – 3

How is that mixed? Hold is positive so I count that as 10 positive to 5 negative. Pretty clear.

400,000 paid $1000 Bob. Are they all wrong?

I paid $1000 and I’m 90% sure it will be late. Too much to go wrong in the next 18 months. If I want to be one of the first 100,000 or so owners, I better be prepared to spend $60,000 or more for a performance version with AWD and larger battery.

Are they ALL right?

A carbon tax would shut Lutz up.

*Him*? No, no. He’d be the first in line screaming at the government to make it go away.

Prior Volt owner and current Model S owner.

Bobs OK, my Volt was a fantastic car for 5 years, but he can only make predictions based on his experience at the big car corporations that still adhere to the old Detroit way of doing things. I don’t expect him to heap too much praise on the competition.

I leased a 2015 Volt for $199 a month base model and am impressed with the car ride and it fits my needs perfectly. I have used 6 gallons of gas and have over 5000 miles on the car. I have 2 reservations for Tesla 3 and am hoping for the best but if is not as promised I will go somewhere else. I along with many others would not have put down $1000 if it was not refundable though. So far Tesla is only for a limted few but I love Elon”s vision so i wish him the best.

He nailed it but none of this is exactly news. A lot of what he said about missing deadlines, higher prices than anticipated, problems with the doors on the Model X, losing money, and running out of cash, are just facts which have been pointed out by others.

Can’t see why this is a deal. Does anyone think Tesla isn’t losing money and running out of cash?

I’m a Model 3 reservist, but even I can see Tesla’s faults.

Most people here choose to ignore the uphill battle that EVs really face.

It sounds like someone isn’t wearing their rose-colored glasses. B)

Why, do rose colored glasses make a particular noise? Or is it that sympathetic harmonics of cynicism are the only tones you can appreciate?

DonC asked:

“Does anyone think Tesla isn’t losing money…?”

Yes. Unlike you dwindling few serial Tesla bashers, most of us don’t confuse investing money in future growth with “losing” money.

Many of us can tell the difference between short-term thinking and long-term planning, too. TSLA short-sellers like you only think about short-term investments. Tesla has a long term goal of becoming a major auto maker. And in case you haven’t been paying attention, they have been making great strides towards reaching that goal, while regularly beating the majority of financial analysts’ predictions.

Beating those predictions every year.

Of course, that’s no guarantee that Tesla Motors will continue to be an unqualified success, forever. Sooner or later, they’ll reach the limits of growth.

But that looks to be some years off.

He is probably right on all counts. The S is great. The X will probably have quality problems when it gets older. The 3 will be delayed and most people will want to get at least a couple of options making the purchase significantly more expensive than the $35k.

The Sentra is a low cost vehicle but how many buy the base model?
I remember looking at a Honda Civic in the 90s. They charged extra for hub caps! WTF! At least the model 3 base model is expected to be better than most well equipped cars.

@ someone out there. I agree as well. love him or hate him I think Lutz is spot on on these calls. Anyone remember the “advertised” price/s on Model S pre launch? wonder if anyone EVER got one for anywhere near those prices lol!!. While I’m onboard and one day hope to pick up a used M/S or perhaps new M/3 I still have to call a spade, “a SPADE” when I see one.

Tesla DID offer the cars at the advertised price! No one wanted the shorter range battery. So Tesla stopped making them and sold a software reduced range, upgradable 60 kwh instead.

What Lutz did was try to infer that the average selling price is going to be the base price or that the delays and troubles associated with Model X would automatically transfer to the 3.

Since Mr Musk is actually running the company and was rather definitive as to base pricing and the difference between the X and 3 production paradigms, I’m going to go on HIS word and not Mr Lutz’s.

Your use of tense is misleading.

Tesla didn’t “stop making” the Model S with a 40kWh battery. They NEVER made them. The 40kWh battery was cancelled before it was ever produced, based solely on pre-order volume… for a car that nobody had ever seen, nor driven.

The fact that the few S40 orders were fulfilled with software-limited 60kWh batteries tells you that Tesla had no intention of mass-producing a sub-$60k Model S. Instead, they chose to eat the loss of using 60kWh batteries for people who paid for 40kWh cars.

“Someone out there” said:

“…most people will want to get at least a couple of options making the purchase significantly more expensive than the $35k.”

Sure, Elon estimated the average sale price at $42k. Again, that’s the average price… meaning about half will pay less, and about half will pay more than that figure.

But all auto makers cite the MSRP, which is the base price for the car with no options. So why single out Tesla Motors for following the industry standard? What’s the point?

Of course you describe Median not average. I have a deposit and an S but I can’t see ASP being $42k unless they don’t offer a performance version or a much bigger battery.

I personally think $42k will get you reasonably equipped but average? that seems like a stretch. We all know there will be $55k Model 3’s – the only way average is $42k is to sell very very few of these.

$35k I think is possible but with little margin. And I think it will not be as equipped as a S (despite what people think).

I see the word about but I think even about is a stretch

GM built a word beating car (volt) years before everyone else, they had the market to them selves and did what? Restricted production, enough said.

“GM built a word beating car (volt) years before everyone else, they had the market to them selves and did what? Restricted production, enough said.”

I don’t think you should fault GM for restricted production when the sales fell short significantly off the GM’s early goals.

Even today, Volt isn’t selling at 45k/year pace.

Thanks to the bashers from both the EV community and Fox News watchers, Volt was taking hits from both sides from the start.

Don’t forget to critique GM for not promoting the Volt to ensure they could say “hey, we *tried* to sell a hybrid, but nobody wanted them”.

Bob Lut is a Putz.

“Don’t forget to critique GM for not promoting the Volt to ensure they could say “hey, we *tried* to sell a hybrid, but nobody wanted them”.”


Stopping that B.S. Volt was promoted in great deal by GM in 2011 and 2012 and it still couldn’t even reached the 50% goal set by GM at 45k/year if you excludes few large fleet deals.

So, promotion had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. That is a repeated excuses by EV fans. Volt is just NOT good enough. It is too expensive, too small, too slow and “too GM” in order to sell more. If it was a Toyota branded or Honda branded car, it would have easily sold 2x more with even less promotion.

The fact of the matter is that Volt is sold under a damaged brand. Regardless of how much promotion you do, it will NEVER sell as many as Camry/Accord/Civic/Corolla.

“Promtion has nothing to do with it”???
Better tell Madison Ave the bad news.
Toyota promoted the Prius and sold all they made.

Nice try my friend, but I’m afraid your statement does not support itself.

I suggest you read ModernMarvelFan’s post again, because he’s absolutely right. GM most certainly did make an effort to promote the Volt in the early years of production. They even paid for a SuperBowl ad; you can’t find any form of advertising more expensive than that!

So why doesn’t the Volt sell better? Well, I was shocked when I actually saw one; shocked by how small it is. So I understand why so many say the back seat is too small.

I don’t know how much impact on sales was caused by all the bashing GM took over its most recent government bailout, but for years you couldn’t see any article about GM that didn’t lambast the bailout and falsely claim that all that money had gone to make the Volt. So it became a target of all the right-wing talking point mouthpieces, on Faux Noise Fox News and elsewhere. At the very least, that didn’t help sales.

Do you even own or lease a Tesla? I lease a Tesla MS and I’ll write any dam thing I please anywhere I please.. ignorant people like you think from only one angle.. you can’t comprehend tthe whole picture and to label this site a Tesla rah rah site is way off the mark.. .. my serial # is 120539 on my 2016 Tesla MS 90D..

THey had a Bright Red 90D at the Penfield, NY EV expo last weekend.

It appears to make a very favorable impression. Stylish, and larger than other EV’s.

The fat cat auto manufacturer’s are judging Tesla based on their way of making cars. Tesla isn’t doing things the way of GM and others. Don’t be surprised if Tesla rewrites the book on manufacturing processes. I suspect Musk will come up with a new, streamlined way of mass producing EV cars. Nissan just might need to take a page out of Tesla’s book once they get going just to keep up.

“Don’t be surprised if Tesla rewrites the book on manufacturing processes.”

Are you kidding me? Tesla hasn’t done anything innovative with regards to manufacturing processes that would either lower costs or increase build quality. They are not even in the same league as Toyota and Honda.

Yeah, it’s not like Tesla is doing anything like, oh, building one of the world’s biggest factories to substantially reduce battery prices. It’s not like they’re actually investing billions to lower the main barrier to long-range EVs from going mainstream.

Oh, wait…

And this is innovative how? They just put all their future eggs into one basket. Nothing innovative really. They just hope they are right.

Other’s opted not to take the risk at this point in time.

But as much as you and others will disagree, Tesla is not known for anything manufacturing related, on contrary …. Now, if they can pull off their 2020 and 500K vehicles manufactured, safe and functioning, I am prepared to give them some manufacturing props … until then, it’s just risks and savings from scaling … nothing to do with innovation.

And who was it that actually went bankrupt, hmmm?


Many historic names, causing the banks to Stop Loaning money to anyone – as You know, JIT manufacturing cannot happen without it, and it’s a bit short-sighted to demand that GM ‘shoulda’ seen it coming’.

Trouble in Detroit City, with a T, rhymes with P, like if ya’ cain’t Pay the trail ya’ gots no parts, and no parts equals no Cars and that equals..
No Income.

end of the Bankruptcy story, sorry..

What I don’t understand from Bob Lutz is why is EV unprofitable? Assuming battery is $200/kWh, 60 kWh would be $12K. Then simply push up the price by $12K and it would be profitable. Indeed, Bolt at $38K is over $12K above Kia Soul (similar size as Bolt). So exactly what magic would make it unprofitable?

Interestingly, this magical thinking of EV always being unprofitable is like comment by Pushmi-Pullyu that SparkEV is unprofitable. I mean, there’s no carbon fiber, aluminum, it’s just a simple plastic laden econobox with many parts from Volt. There is no magic or gold bar embedded in it that would make it so expensive.

Pretty much every EV built to date has been unprofitable.

The battery hasn’t historically been as cheap as you cite; it’s been more like $300-400/kWh.

Subsidies strongly affect the sales volume of the lower-cost models – just look at what happened to Leaf sales in Georgia when they cut the state subsidy. If Nissan could sell the car for less, they would.

At this point, Nissan is discounting Leafs 50% just to try and keep market share until Leaf 2.0 arrives.

Tesla wouldn’t need to build the Gigafactory as a recycling center for old batteries if new battery costs were already $200/kWh.

I’m using Bolt as an example, and simple math shows that it will be profitable at $200/kWh. Same goes for Teslas. Lutz is saying EV will continue to be unprofitable even at $200/kWh. As to the present, what makes you think EVs are unprofitable? Take SparkEV as an example at $400/kWh. It’s pretty much SparkGas ($15K) + battery; there is no Aluminum or carbon fiber. At 19kWh * $400/kWh = $7600, total of $22.6K. But MSRP is $26K in US, $24K in Canada and Mexico. It has beefier suspension, but that shouldn’t cost more than $400 even at retail level. In addition, much of the electronics come from Volt, leveraging volume discount. Then what exactly is it about SparkEV that would make it unprofitable at $26K? Another question is, how much do you think it has to cost to be profitable? And why are they selling it at non CARB Canada and Mexico for even cheaper than in CA? They love losing money? You can do similar math on Leaf (vs Versa). Although Leaf is more complicated due to lots of new stuff as opposed to leveraging existing car, volume would make up for it. In fact, Leaf is selling… Read more »

To my knowledge there are few if any SparkEV parts in common with the Volt. I know for a fact that the battery housing is hand laid composite material. It’s made in the US and shipped to Korea for assembly. This is NOT cheap and NOT how GM would do it if the car was in high volume production. This is just one small example. Additionally, almost every part on an EV has to be scrutinized for weight to make up for the heavy battery. Battery weight is higher than ICE and gas tank. It’s very difficult to shave one pound, let alone hundreds of pounds. You are oversimplifying and making too many assumptions.

So tell me, Sparky, do you actually think that if you screw your eyes shut, stick your fingers in your ears, and yell “NO! NO! NO!” that this will actually change reality? Sadly for you, denying reality does not actually change reality. It’s a simple economic reality: There is no way that GM can possibly make a profit on a car made in such low volumes, and sold at such a low price, as the Spark EV. Not opinion. Fact. The reason why such EVs as, for example, the Th!nk City and the Tango were failures is because they were made by small companies which couldn’t afford to subsidize selling them at a loss. Those companies tried to sell those low-production EVs at the price it actually cost the company to make them, plus a reasonable profit… as companies have to do, to stay in business. Those small companies couldn’t afford to sell their one and only car at a loss, the way that GM can afford to sell the Spark EV at a loss. Fortunately, this no longer applies to Tesla. It’s true that they made no overall profit on their first car, the Roadster, because of this very… Read more »
You completely ignore the facts and bring up ridiculous cars. Get it through your head that SparkEV is not purpose built ground up EV. Most of its parts come from existing car, $15K SparkGas frame + some EV bits from Volt. Take Tesla roadster as an example. They used existing shell from $50K car, used HUGE battery at high cost, powerful motor, transmission, brand new EV bits by a company that had no experience making volume cars, and that was only $100K. Battery alone wouldn’ve been 56kWh * $600/kWh = $34K, so all other custom made bits (including all custom made EV bits) plus profit enough to fund Tesla S would have to add to $16K. And that’s with guys who had no experience making cars who only sold 2500 cars. And you’re saying SparkEV that sold double the Roadster, that uses existing base car of the same company (ie, no need to pay markup to Lotus), and using exiting EV bits from Volt made by thoroughly experienced car maker would cost more than Tesla? That’s taking Tesla delusion to a whole new level. As I asked before, oh delusional one, how much do you think SparkEV would have to… Read more »

I’d say the Spark is a ridiculous car to bring up or compare to anything. For the vast majority of the United States and the entire rest of the world the Spark EV does not exist.

Oh Climate Change-denier Bob:
How is that condo in the Florida Keys working out for you? Got rubber boots?
Bob wrong about sea level rise, wrong about Tesla, wrong about BEVs
Bob is particularly upset because the Audi and the Volt (and the Bolt) are no match to the Tesla 3

Sorry Tesla fan boys.. but mr lutz has a few valud points even if you don’t want to admit it… those X doors are nothing but trouble waiting to happen.. the rear seats are cramped.. it’s very difficult to open the doors from the back and third row.. and the windshield is WAY too big.. will be hard on driver and passenger in hot sunny weather.. and difficult to clear and keep clear of snow and ice.. the M3 will not arrive on time and will have just as many issues as the early S sedans and these X models.. plus more..I’ve seen wheel trim popping off the fenders of the X already.. and there’s a few other bugs too.. sign this MS 90D owner happy but apprehensive

Hykyrjoe whinged:

“… the [Model X] rear seats are cramped.. it’s very difficult to open the doors from the back and third row…”

Are you on drugs? Seriously?

What’s that? Oh, you’re just spouting fact-free FUD in a laughable attempt to promote your short stock position.

Possibly you’ve confused this website for Seeking Alpha or The Motley Fool? Tesla bashing doesn’t belong here, and isn’t appreciated.

My urine is completely free of intoxicants.. is yours?
I was in 3 MXs @ a Tesla breakfast social a few weeks back.. there is no room in the 3rd row seating for anyone but a kid.. it is nearly impossible to reach the door open control for the falcon doors from there . The 2nd row seating with the useless middle seat is cramped and confining plus the window doesn’t go down… stop being so insulting if you can handle the facts JO. The X is a “people carrier” that really don’t have room for people… plus it is a hulking monster of a vehicle.. almost Hummer sized.. will be hard to city park and even more difficult to back up… yup.. it looks cool.. but it fails in many respects… I’d be willing to match my urine vs. yours anyday…

Thank you for your objective analysis.

It is difficult to take a neutral viewpoint after spending $130K, or whatever you surely had to, for your top-of-the-line S90D.

One other thing… aside from paint chips.. the #2 thing that happens while driving down the highway is a cracked or broken winshield.. think about the cost of replacing that glass on a MX.. the Air Bag SRS deploys against that glass in an accidental impact.. the integrity of that glass is imperative for proper functionality of ANY airbag system.. that glass os gonna cost like $2000 to replace.. judging from the $750 quotes I’ve been hearing for the non cold weather windshield on the MS.. good luck!! Your insurance premiums are certainly going to reflect these costs of repairs. . And this is much more ikely to occur than a collision.. I think Bjorn cracked 2 or 3 windshields over a 135,000 miles..

Bob Lutz is quoted as saying: “The Model X isn’t working too well because it doesn’t have enough roof structure, so those doors are never going to work.” Interesting. So he thinks any fix will require, what? More space between the falcon wing door openings on the roof? Well, it may be that the falcon wing doors will turn out to be a failure on the part of Tesla. But I think it’s too early to pronounce them either a success or a failure. The jury is still out. “The Model 3 — we’ll see what happens with that. I think it’s going to be delayed again.” Ummm… wouldn’t it being delayed “again” require that it has already been delayed, Mr. Lutz? So far as I know, and I did just skim the Wikipedia article, there has been no delay in developing the Model ≡. “…be prepared to pay more than what you thought you were going to pay.” Whistling past the graveyard, Mr. Lutz? Well, we shall see if Tesla can hit their target price of $35,000. Personally I think they will; I think they will cut out some things if they need to, to reach that often-announced price.… Read more »

Tesla is losing money. They don’t have a net profit on their incomes statement is virtually every quarter so far, which means Tesla is dipping into owner’s equity to cover all it’s expenses that execeed revenue (net loss in the income statement).

Tesla is financing it’s Gigafactory by
– issuing more stock (increasing owners equity),
– issuing debt/bonds (increasing liabilities),
– borrowing money and taking out lines-of-credit (increasing liabilities).

All of the above affect the balance sheet and have no effect on the income statement (profit/loss or revenue/expenses). I tried to explain this to you numerous times. This is just BASIC and FUNDAMENTAL accounting!

The biggest problem for the other automakers are excacltly what bob lutz is some kind of advantage, that the traditional automakers will sell their evs with losses for thr forseeable future. This will result in they not wanting to sell evs. Not wanting them to be great and not beeing interested in infrastructure for evs… Horrible!

I wonder if anyone has had the guts to tell him that the Volt can’t be bought in Europe any more (no interest)?

What a Lutz!

I think a bumper sticker is in order

LOL …. it’s amusing to read the reactions when toes are step on. Keep fighting the good fight … Musk’s vision is the only way to go.

I don’t often agree with Bob, but his points are valid. Let’s review the list of “must haves” that Tesla will require with regard to meeting program timing and price targets. These are Tesla’s words, not mine.

-To develop finally assembly line for large-scale production at the Fremont factory, without surpassing estimated costs and timeline.
-To manufacture the Gigafactory, start large-scale cell production, and integrated those cells into Model 3’s battery packs at cost that allows Tesla to achieve targeted gross margins.
-The equipment used for Model 3 production will accurately build the compact sedans in high volumes within “specified design tolerances and with high quality.”
-To hire suppliers for key components on acceptable terms and conditions, including component delivery on time and required quantities to support large-scale production.
To complete Model 3 design and engineering plans and deliver final designs to suppliers on time.
-To poach talented employees to work on high-volume Model 3 manufacturing faculties at the Fremont factory and the Gigafactory.