Bob Lutz has some advice for 'troubled' Tesla Motors

Mounting Losses, Capital-Intensive Showrooms Offset 'Fabulous' Car

Bob Lutz , the former General Motors executive who helped develop the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, called Tesla "a company in trouble" in an editorial he penned for Road & Track. But at least he thinks the Model S is "fabulous."

According to Lutz, despite a $5 billion Gigafactory being built out in the Nevada hinterlands, Tesla doesn't have too bright of a future because of the capital-intensive nature of company-owned showrooms, relatively cheap gas and increasing inventory. He added that the Model X SUV has "a compromised structure to accommodate gullwing doors," and that the company would be better off adding a lower-priced hybrid model that could go 50 miles or so on electric power and then be propelled by a gas-powered range-extender. Kind of like the Volt.

Tesla said earlier this month that it sold 11,580 vehicles during the second quarter, up 49 percent from a year ago. But its second-quarter net loss tripled from a year earlier to $184.2 million as research, development, selling and administrative costs surged. Revenue was up 24 percent to $955 million. And Tesla's shares are down about 12 percent in the past year.

Lutz has never been shy about his opinions, especially on plug-in vehicles. In September 2014, he took to CNBC to call Tesla a "fringe" brand, and said the California-based electric-vehicle maker would remain so until it came out with a "mass-market" (read: cheaper) EV that could go 200 miles or so on a single charge. Feel free to check out Mr. Lutz's more latest editorial in R&T here.

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