Featured Image Credit: CNBC Squawk Box
Tesla (TSLA) bulls have been stating for quite some time now that the EV automaker is leagues ahead of legacy OEMs when it comes to technology and the development of vehicles for the future. Phil LeBeau reiterated TSLA bulls' arguments in a recent interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box. And LeBeau didn’t hold back.
LeBeau appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box alongside former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, who had a few words to say about TSLA’s skyrocketing stock price. But first, Lutz applauded Tesla and Elon Musk’s achievements in the battery electric vehicle (BEV) market.
He even went as far as saying that Musk “has done a brilliant job.” The former GM Vice Chairman “freely admitted” that Tesla produces “very good” cars and a valuable brand. He also alluded to the fact that Tesla made a “nice-looking car with great performance.” Lutz recognized that Tesla had very good technology with the caveat that GM, Ford, and Toyota do, too.
But those were probably the nicest words Lutz had to spare for Tesla. After that, Lutz tried to explain “reality”--in his perspective--as he stated his disbelief that TSLA could be worth more than legacy automakers like GM, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota.
“When you look at reality Tesla—albeit still alive—is not—I’ll say this kindly—Tesla is not a very profitable company that creates a decent return for its shareholders,” said Lutz, speaking from the perspective of probably every legacy automaker in the industry. Lutz said that Tesla might be the “giant of the electric car market,” but still produced far fewer cars than traditional OEMs.
LeBeau picked up the interview right where Lutz left off, dropping some hard-pressed TSLA truths on the former GM Vice Chairman. “I think the issue that [Lutz] touched on is the one that ‘ought to be of concern for the rest of the auto industry. They know they have to catch Tesla in terms of technology and in terms of the styling in the vehicles that they bring out. And for years, they have sat there and said, ‘trust us, we’re gonna come out with these vehicles’,” LeBeau said.
“Well, so far, they have swung and missed. Repeatedly. It is time for them to either step up or stop talking. And we’re gonna find out with the GM Hummer, and we’re gonna find out with the electric pickup trucks coming from GM and Ford and the other automakers.”
LeBeau drove his point forward, saying: “Look overnight, we’re gonna hear from Nissan out of Japan. They’ve got [sic] new electric SUVs. So here’s the question: are these truly going to match up, not only in terms of range and performance but technology? That’s the bottom line here. Because at this point Tesla is way ahead of everybody else. And I’m sorry I hear this all the time, especially from people in Detroit, ‘We got great technology.' Show it. The time has come to show it. The market is developed. You have got to show it.”
Based on the interviews with Lutz and LeBeau, it seems like legacy automakers are still living in the present, rather than looking to the future. Meanwhile, Tesla is only looking forward. So it may be time for traditional OEMs to admit that the present will not wait for them to catch up to the future.
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Ma. Claribelle Deveza holds zero shares of Tesla, Inc., and currently (at the time of this article's publishing) holds zero options or securities in Tesla Inc. and/or its affiliates.