Bob Lutz compared Tesla Motors supporters to “members of a religious cult” during a CNBC television interview yesterday.
Hours before its quarterly earnings report, Lutz, a former General Motors vice chairman and promoter of the Chevy Volt, presented a scathing sound-bite-sized analysis of Tesla’s financial future and gave Tesla CEO Elon Musk a thumbs down rating.
“Tesla supporters are like members of a religious cult,” he said during the interview. “Just like Steve Jobs was worshiped at Apple, it’s the same way with Elon Musk … seen as a new visionary god who promises this phantasmagorical future, a utopia of profitability and volume.”
Lutz sees a big difference between Jobs’ role at Apple and Musk’s at Tesla. “Steve Jobs delivered and Elon … hasn’t delivered a thing, except increasingly negative cash flow, and an increasing lack of profitability; more and more capital spending.”
Tesla didn’t respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Like other analysts, Lutz is skeptical about Musk’s plan to merge Tesla and Solar City. The merger is “tying two sinking ships together for synergy,” he said.
Tesla has been able to improve earnings this year with strong vehicle sales and stock offerings. That’s not enough to fix the company’s cash burn, Lutz said.
“I just don’t see anything about Tesla that gives me any confidence that that business can survive,” Lutz said, arguing it could ultimately go bankrupt “unless people keep pouring new money in ad infinitum.”