Tesla slammed for ‘terminally ugly’ car
ONE of the most authoritative voices in the automotive industry has poured cold water on the Tesla hype.
Bob Lutz, who at some point has been in charge of all the Big Three car makers (Ford, GM and Chrysler) has slammed the coming Tesla Model Y in an interview on American show Autoline After Hours.
"The Model Y is terminally ugly. I don't know who is going to buy that with another one of these humpback things like the Model X," says Lutz
Lutz says that the Model Y is neither an SUV or a sedan and would struggle to carve out its own segment, potentially cannibalising sales from the Model 3.
Lutz gave credit to Tesla for its recent sales success with the Model 3 and its move towards profitability but he questioned the company's ability to bring promised vehicles to market.
"The fact is, there is still a lot of unsubstantiated hype. I don't think they are going to do that sports car anytime soon. They certainly aren't going to do the (electric semi-trailer) and if they did, they'd be extremely foolish as that whole market isn't enough to make a difference," he says.
Lutz also said that Tesla, in terms of electrification technology, was in the same place as everybody else because all makers use lithium-ion batteries which have a defined energy value. The only reason Tesla had more range was they used bigger batteries.
He put a large chunk of the success of the American electric car brand down to its enigmatic boss, Elon Musk.
"Elon Musk's great capability is his creative imagination and coupling decent electric vehicle technology with superb styling.
"You had the combination of a vehicle that was environmentally sound, blindingly fast, looked great and had a decent range," says Lutz.
But he couldn't help have a dig at his branding exercises: "(Musk) Makes bold moves and designing bold concepts and surprises the public with ever new announcements like the Boring Company."
And he sees tougher conditions for Tesla in the future. The brand held strong appeal but that would be tested because it was now competing with fully-electric Porsches.
"A Tesla has more image value compared to mainstream rivals because of great marketing but now that it is going to be up against a fully electric four-door Porsche it is a different story," he says.
Lutz's views on Tesla are nothing new and it isn't the first controversial thing the former American car supremo has said. Back in 2008 he said he was a climate sceptic and global warming "is a total crock of s**t".
At the same time, though, he was the man who championed building the electric Chevrolet Volt and committed to building a large number of hybrid vehicles, believing that electrification of cars was inevitable.
And while Lutz opinion carry's a lot of weight, it wouldn't be the first time that Elon Musk and Tesla have proved people wrong. Tesla recently announced a surprising profit for the past quarter, which burned the long list of short sellers betting against Tesla.