Monday, May 19, 2008

American Car Enthusiast Psychographic

In the field of marketing, the "psychographic" defines any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles of your target customer. Think "'flower power" and there you have a psychographic for the initial VW Beetle buyer.

So what is the psychographic of a Local Motors lead-user. We know that sustainability, design, uniqueness, simplicity, connection, education, desirability are all part of the mix and we work daily to integrate the values of our target customer into the first design that we build. But what about American. If building cars locally is something that we are pursuing, then it would make sense that they would appeal to Americans. However, according to research we've conducted, there is a prevalent negativity directed at current American automotive, and the trend seems only to be getting worse. Could it be true that exciting vehicles only come from abroad....To us the answer is not only "No" but "Nonsense!"...but somehow we need to turn the odds in our favor...pick categories which might play deep into an American ethic.

If you are thinking supercar, microcar, pickup truck, large sedan, crossover, etc., those can all be exciting categories, but save them for another forum about commonplace ideas. In focusing on the American psychographic value for this post, let's take a tour of some unique car concepts that we believe have deep American appeal. (NOTE: These images that appear are not all American in origin, but that does not mean that we don't think they have deep roots within the psyche of American enthusiasts.) So here goes:


(Hemisfear Coupe, Foose design,

(SJiaDesign - LM community)


(Beau Reid Concept - LM Community,

(AH-1J Super Cobra Attack Helicopter...because we all have dreams)


('75 Lancia Stratos,

("Zorro", 1967 Camaro Trophy Truck,


('08 GMC Denali XT Concept,

(PanTerra, Filip Tjezserski - LM Community,


(Lamborghini Gallardo Art Car,

(Lamborghini Gallardo Art Car,

(Fiat Scratch Concept, where the skin comes "pre-scratched",

(Frank Stella, BMW Art Car,

(Andy Warhol, BMW Art Car,

(Ken Done, BMW Art Car,

(Roy Lichtenstein, BMW Art Car,

Though this list is not exhaustive, even in categories, it is meant to get that red-blooded, American auto enthusiast blood pumping, hungry for something new and outright thrilling.

If you have a passion that is not well-represented by the current auto landscape, write us and tell us about it.


Robin Spinks said...

Upper income Americans and "car enthusiasts" are into the fancy, beautiful European styles.

Middle class Americans (most of us) are defined by "practical" - think Model T, minivan, pickup truck. The only middle class value that pushes the practical into something else is power - think hemi and NASCAR.

So the challenge for being truly "American" is how to design practical/functional into something that also looks intersting and new - or retro. Example - the PT Cruiser is not beautiful but it is truly "American" design.

I still like the idea of a retirement car - cheap to operate, easy to get in and out, no fancy digital stuff that old people can't operate. It is not sexy design, but it is practical. Can we figure out how to make that pretty?

Or maybe leave that mass market for the big guys and focus on the "car enthusiast" and their taste for the extreme, unusual and beautiful.

Robin Spinks said...

To the LM Community....

PLEASE don't think my comments are at any time, in any way, negative on the process or results of your designs. I LOVE what is happening. I just like to be a devil's advocate with different ideas to make everyone think. Why are we doing this? To whom will the product sell? How will it be used?

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