Bob Lutz has worked as an executive for General Motors,Â Chrysler, Ford, and BMW at various points in his storied life. Saying he’s a man who is well-versed in the automotive industry would be a colossal understatement. And that expertise has led him to the assertion that a certain manufacturer is a cult led by a false god.
That, Audi has abandoned its wildly successful career in endurance racing for something far less popular, Ford takes a financial body blow, and Volkswagen Group continues to suffer with Porsche as its sugar daddy… after the break!
Former GM executive is no fan of Tesla or Elon Musk
Bob Lutz doesn’t have a whole lot of faith in Tesla. The former General Motors vice chairÂ expressed that skepticism in an interview Wednesday, tellingÂ CNBCÂ that he thought “Tesla supporters are like members of a religious cult.” He went on to say thatÂ Elon Musk is “seen as a new visionary god who promises this phantasmagorical future, a utopia of profitability and volume.”
“I just don’t see anything about Tesla that gives me any confidence that that business can survive,” Lutz said, adding that he expects the company to suffer an eventual financial collapse “unless people keep pouring new money in ad infinitum.”
Tesla reported a worse than anticipatedÂ loss in the second quarter and revenue that fell short of estimates. The companyÂ has also spent a massive amount of money on its Gigafactory in Nevada and production improvements at its Fremont, California assembly plant. But it surprised everyone with aÂ reported $22 million net profit for this third quarter â€” its first profit in more than three years.
Tesla also earned 71 cents a share on an adjusted basis in the third quarter on $2.3 billion in revenue. Analysts expected a loss of 54 cents per share on $1.98 billion in revenues. However, a significantÂ amountÂ ofÂ Teslaâ€™s third quarter revenue came from pollution credits it sold to other automakers.
Audi leaves endurance racing for electric series
With the exception of Porsche, Audi has taken away more wins from 24 Hours of Le Mans than any other team. When the new millennium dawned, Audi began its domination of the race and ensured itself a prominent role in FIA World Endurance Championships. Their new role in that race will be a purely historical one, however, as Audi has announced it will be leaving Endurance racing forÂ Formula E.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Audi said it will shift its primary motorsport focus to the Formula E championship – where it is partner to the Abt Schaeffler team – while maintaining its DTM programme.Â A decision on its World Rallycross programme has yet to be made, with Audi suggesting it could provide works backing to the EKS team run by its long-time DTM driver Mattias Ekstrom.Â Audiâ€™s Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler said: “Weâ€™re going to contest the race for the future on electric power. As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audiâ€™s technological spearheads, have to even more so.â€�
Volkswagen Group is still reeling from the shame and multi-billion dollar expense of their diesel emissions cheating scandal. As a result, the parent company has shifted Audi’s focus toward “clean” hybrids and electrics. Audiâ€™s diesel-powered R18 e-tron quattro may have been a great race car, but it doesn’t fit the image VW wants Audi to present anymore. Who would have guessed that winning races would create an image problem for an automotive brand?
Ford Q3 profit drops 56 percent
Automotive News reports that theÂ Ford Motor Company’sÂ third-quarter income droppedÂ from its stronger performance a year ago as global revenues dippedÂ slightly.
Net income was $957 million. Fordâ€™s pretax profit was $1.41 billion, down 55 percent from the third quarter of 2015. Revenues were $35.9 billion, down $2.2 billion from a year earlier.
Ford CEO Mark Fields said that â€œwe remain on track to deliver one of our best profit years ever.â€� Ford is sticking with its guidance that its full year pretax profit will around $10.2 billion, which it decreasedÂ to account for charges in its ongoing door-latch recall of
Automotive News said:
In September, Ford said it will recall 1.5 million more vehicles for faulty door latches after federal regulators told the automaker that a regional recall in the previous month was insufficient.
Ford said the recall would cost about $640 million and reduce its projected third-quarter adjusted pretax profit by nearly 40 percent.
Down but far from out: VW profitsÂ continue to tumbleÂ
Volkswagen AG reported a 56 percent drop in second-quarter profit, hit hard by costs stemming from its emissions-cheating scandal. Third-quarter profits were more of the same.
Automotive News EuropeÂ reports:
Volkswagen Group said third-quarter operating profit at its core VW brand plunged more than half, adding weight to management calls for cutbacks at the the automaker’s biggest division.
Operating profit at the VW brand dropped to 363 million euros ($396 million) from 801 million a year earlier, VW said today, or just 1.5 percent of sales.
Skoda, Spainâ€™s SEAT, Porsche, and the companyâ€™s truck division softened the blow by drivingÂ Volkswagenâ€™s automotive operating profit higher. This compensatedÂ declining earnings at Audi, the Volkswagen passenger car brand, and Bentley.
CEO Matthias Mueller said in a statement that VW Group remains “fully operational in spite of the present pressures.”[Images: General Motors; OnInnovation/FlickrÂ (CC BY-SA 2.0); Audi; Ford Motor Company; Volkswagen]