Monday, July 7, 2008

A note about our first product placement

Our competitions are exciting, our team is interesting to learn about, the portfolios on the LM site are compelling. All of these statements are true, but certainly the hottest topic on anyone's mind who knows about Local Motors is that we intend to build cars whose design is born in our community.

Naturally, this hot topic usually includes a discussion of what segment and function our first vehicle will fill/perform. "What will it be?"

What I perhaps underestimated in starting this company was the degree to which many stakeholders (family, investors, employees, advisers, web customers, designers, kit-car buyers, OEM onlookers, suppliers, etc) all want to have a say in the vehicles we build - or, should I say, the first vehicle we build. Our first vehicle is special because it is the beginning of a new era. It is the embodiment of a new way of building cars and bringing them to market, and I recognize how everyone wants to be part of that and to have their voices heard.

We cherish all of these voices, and they have already informed our choices greatly, but in chief, we have remained focused on one key voice, when it comes to this first vehicle, and that is the voice of our lead-user. He is the person who will cross the frozen tundra to lay down his money for this vehicle, and he is the person who eats/breathes/lives cars as a passion in work and in play. He is our first customer and we are building a vehicle for him. If we can impress him then he will tell his friends about us. Since he is a car nut, people trust him when it comes to their car decisions, and therefore our reputation as an auto maker will improve.

So this much is clear and easy, and we will stick to this plan like glue.

What is not so clear is: Whether or not this lead-user is currently a member of the LM community? Whether or not the design he wants to buy is yet part of our community collective? Whether or not his chosen design can be built within a budget and cost program required by our financial position?

Those questions do indeed give us pause to test our assumptions, but they are all part of making Local Motors as a business, a team, and a community into the best organized and smoothest functioning auto-maker that the world has seen.

Since the start, our mission has been as follows: Lead the next generation of automotive manufacturing, design, and technology in order to revolutionize the industry with game-changing efficient vehicles and an unprecedented standard of customer service. We are already on our way to achieving this and we intend to do so one vehicle and one customer at a time. Making a supercar for a buyer who craves maximum fuel efficiency is mismatched. Making a rugged truck for a buyer who craves luxury is mismatched. Making a 2-door coupe for someone who craves space is mismatched. And yet making one vehicle which is maximally fuel efficient, luxury and full of space is often impossible to do all at once.

It is our intention to commit to a user and to build his car right, before choosing what to build next. If you are a future customer, go straight to the site and identify yourself, then let your opinons run free. We want to her from you.

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