Home / Audi / TTAC News Round-Up: Bob Lutz Says Tesla’s Most Successful Product is Kool-Aid

TTAC News Round-Up: Bob Lutz Says Tesla’s Most Successful Product is Kool-Aid

Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz has worked as an executive for General Motors, 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!

by OnInnovation/Flickr -- Elon Musk

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 chair expressed that skepticism in an interview Wednesday, telling CNBC that he thought “Tesla supporters are like members of a religious cult.” He went on to say that 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 anticipated loss in the second quarter and revenue that fell short of estimates. The company 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 a reported $22 million net profit for this third quarter — 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 significant amount of Tesla’s third quarter revenue came from pollution credits it sold to other automakers.

R18 etron

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 for Formula E.

Motorsport.com reports:

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. 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. Audi’s Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler said: “We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power. As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’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. Audi’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 logo

Ford Q3 profit drops 56 percent

Automotive News reports that the Ford Motor Company’s third-quarter income dropped from its stronger performance a year ago as global revenues dipped slightly.

Net income was $957 million. Ford’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 “we remain on track to deliver one of our best profit years ever.� Ford is sticking with its guidance that its full year pretax profit will around $10.2 billion, which it decreased 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.

VW logo

Down but far from out: VW profits continue to tumble 

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 Europe 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, Spain’s SEAT, Porsche, and the company’s truck division softened the blow by driving Volkswagen’s automotive operating profit higher. This compensated 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/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0); Audi; Ford Motor Company; Volkswagen]

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