Friday, February 27, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom from an Arizona R-A-C-E-R

Tonight Robin, Ari, and I had the pleasure to bring the Local Motors plan to an intime audience of Phoenix die-hards from journalists, to drivers, to activists, to builders, to pilots, and simply enthusiasts. How did I feel?



On Message.

Ready to Receive Thoughts....

and that is what we did.

30 seconds into my small presentation, John Martensen, Champion Class 1 Driver, pulled out a napkin and started writing. At first I could not tell what he was writing furiously....then he flipped it around and pushed it across the table saying he had just given us our first local Phoenix, Off-Road, expert feedback.

Naturally I promised him that this would be a feature on my blog tonight, and voila....vintage John Martensen advice for the Phoenix Rally Fighter, (be careful what you wish for John, we act fast on everything that we hear from experts):

-Fire Suppression
-Low hp with high reliability
-Don't build another vehicle for the "big guys" but something to get the family into racing
-Make it so we can drive to the race, pre-run, and drive home
-On street form what is the sway ability....needs to be much tighter than off-road
-Put a constant amber light in the rear, because in the dust you can only see brake lights if someone is on the brakes
-Include bumpers that can be added to the front and rear for "rubbin" while racin'....we ALL do it
-Mega reflective paint or decals in the desert...people get lost, break down, and finding them from the ground or air can be a total pain in the a$$
-GPS add-on is a must, if this car can go anywhere, then we will go, and we would like to be able to get back
-Spare tires and tools...please no fancy, auto, air ram-jacks that don't work and only scream I have enough money to show off
-Washability and no fussy paint jobs...If I am worried about getting it dirty or scratched and if it is a pain to clean, then I won't use it as hard
-Protect all the glass, in fact, front window probably has to come out for a race.
-A.M. and Z.M. are awesome builder-teachers.
-Please rear view camera. This can be dash mounted, aftermarket, but anything to give a view of headlights from behind can save you from getting hit.
-FLAT TIRE DETECTION...when you are banging up and down on a straight away at 100mph you will not notice a flat until you go to take a turn....then you will wish you had known
-Lights Lights LIGHTS, and
-Last but not "Baja: Edge of Control" on XBox 360, I [John Martensen] am in the game

Rock on John! As promised, you have made the LM Blog and your advice has been immortalized.

We will see you in the Fall for more real live Rally Fighter testing.

If you, as a reader, have any further advice like John's, hewn from years of experience, please feel free to share it so that we can all benefit.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the Grond in Phoenix - Local is where it is at!

On my way here, a friend sent me a link to Peggy Noonan's Wall Street Journal OpEd from this past weekend. One paragraph in specific stuck out to him, and here is what Noonan said,

I end with a hunch that is not an unhappy one. Dynamism has been leached from our [the US] system for now, but not from the human brain or heart. Just as our political regeneration will happen locally, in counties and states that learn how to control themselves and demonstrate how to govern effectively in a time of limits, so will our economic regeneration. That will begin in someone's garage, somebody's kitchen, as it did in the case of Messrs. Jobs and Wozniak. The comeback will be from the ground up and will start with innovation. No one trusts big anymore. In the future everything will be local. That's where the magic will be. And no amount of pessimism will stop it once it starts.


To read her entire OpEd and to realize that she ends up on the "local" chair when the music stops is an amazing thing.

Phoenix may have been hit hard by the global economic downturn, just like almost every other city in our nation, but the optimism that we have seen since the moment we arrived is that anyone who is willing to invest in the future here will be rewarded first and foremost by those that have also committed and made Phoenix their home.

It is amazing how valuable the Local concept in Local Motors is. I am humbled by it every day we step into a new community.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Early Morning Rise to the Desert

Tomorrow I am off with our site selection team to the Southwest town of Phoenix, AZ. Could this be the future home of the Rally Fighter and several other Local Motors models....we will see.

I need to get a good nights sleep first.

3 busy days to be had in Arizona.

If you are in town on Thursday night from 6-8 in Scottsdale. I ask you to join us at the Gordon Biersch restaurant where we will be hosting a reception to talk about Local Motors and the Rally Fighter to a collection of some of Phoenix' most dedicated automotive enthusiasts.



Monday, February 23, 2009

A taste of Friedman's medicine... "Let America Revive NOT Survive!"

Tom Friedman wrote an OpEd in his column in the New York Times the night before last which started like this:

Reading the news that General Motors and Chrysler are now lining up for another $20 billion or so in government aid — on top of the billions they’ve already received or requested — leaves me with the sick feeling that we are subsidizing the losers and for only one reason: because they claim that their funerals would cost more than keeping them on life support. Sorry, friends, but this is not the American way. Bailing out the losers is not how we got rich as a country, and it is not how we’ll get out of this crisis.

Darn Straight!

I did a small calculation on some assumptions:

- Assume an average startup needs between $4-10MM of capital ($7MM average) to prove out its model. This could be hotly contested, as it could be less or more, but we are making an assumption here for the middle part of the curve.
- Assume the utilization of that sum over 3 years means an even split and if there is NO revenue then that is $2.3MM per year
- Assume for the people who work in this facility, (i.e. those that staff the LM facility, HQ Labor pool and other SG&A type employees) that their salaries probably represent up to 40% of the budget for any year.
- Assume this 40% means means that there is about $1MM in salaries being paid carrying about 22 people on payroll at an average of $45K per year. For some Wall Street Bankers, this salary may seem low, but for an average AND for a startup it is probably right on. You can live on the wage, and it is not forever as you prove out the model.
- Assume that the "job multiplier" (i.e. how many jobs are created around a business when it come to town) is around 2. This can be as high as 3+ for something like the auto industry, but again this is an average.

- Therefore this means that 44 people would be employed full time each year for 3 years on the startup money alone invested in one average startup, trying to be the next Google and the next Mary Kay. 44 jobs.

Here comes the kicker. Some in our government are thinking about giving GM and Chrysler another $20BN on top of what we have already given them, which is about $22BN in loans and guarantees to the Big 3 making this about a $42BN price tag. If instead we simply did not make these loans as Friedman suggests and put this money into startup companies at the average dollar figure suggested above ($7MM total over 3 years) and earned a little interest on that money while it was being drawn down, say $2BN at treasury rates, then $44BN could spark 6,286 companies trying to be the next Google and the next Mary Kay.

That would be 6,286 X 44 Jobs per year = 276,571 jobs added to the economy each year for three years in place of the Big Three being "saved".

...276,571 jobs added to the economy each year for three years!
......276,571 jobs added to the economy each year for three years!
.........276,571 jobs added to the economy each year for three years!

How many months will it take the Big Three to blow through their first $18BN?...I think that it will be less than 3 months.

Again, as a country we could do that OR as Friedman suggests with simply the money that we are spending on the Big 3 (NOT altering the remaining $767BN in the stimulus plan)....

276,571 jobs added to the economy each year for three years.

GM already employs less than this number and is getting smaller every month.

This number of 276,571 may not "take up" the 3MM jobs that people predict would be lost if the Big 3 go out of business, but what if the Big 3 were simply allowed to go through bankruptcy? Then they could reorganize like other companies do; borrow money from non-governmental agencies (like they always have); AND continue to do business (employing a reduced, lean team) with 6,286 other new businesses in America at their flanks trying to become the next Google and Mary Kay....and maybe even the next GM.

As a taxpayer, I think that Friedman may be right. He did not quite spell it out this way, but the numbers are probably close. I would love to hear your thoughts, and if you agree, please send this argument to some others who might enjoy thinking about it. Our entrepreneurial spirit and reputation for growth in this country depend upon it.



Sunday, February 22, 2009

A little history close to home

A potential supplier of ours was asking me the other day about my family's history in Springfield, MA. I told him about the Indian Motorcycle Company and my Grandfather, and he asked me if I knew that the first gas-powered production car had taken to the road in the US in Springfield MA.

Not being sure of this, both he and I looked it up to double check the facts......Guess what? IT IS TRUE

The Duryea Brothers pulled this off in 1893 based on the Lenoir design. Ford did not put his car on the road until 3 years later in 1896 in Detroit.

It would naive to think that automotive alone is the only notable thing about Springfield. This gem of a town also called first home to many other notables: Basketball the sport, Milton Bradley, Kurt Russell, Dr. Seuss, the first National Armory, and so much more.

Springfield.....such an important town. Seems appropriate that cars and motorcycles started there, that my Grandfather's Company, Indian, was there, and that we at Local Motors are back in Massachusetts working to revitalize the auto industry.

(Charles Duryea,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Treat glimpse of things to come....

Here it is....for a brief glance:

The new and upcoming homepage for Local Motors.

This page was designed by a member of TopCoder's worldwide community, voted on by the Local Motors community and now delivered by our team to you.

Designed to open Local Motors up to our broader community of future owners, designers, and engineers, this page will soon go live.

More to follow as we get closer.

A glimpse of the all-too-close automotive future. Lack of excitement.....Lack of brands

Today GM announced that it was immediately disbanding its performance car division and associated lines. The story from Automotive News says it all:

(From Automotive News) DETROIT -- General Motors, focusing on mainstream products in a battle to survive, has scrapped a unit that produced high-performance vehicles.
GM today disbanded High Performance Vehicle Operations, which is based at the company's suburban Detroit technical center, and redeployed its engineers, said spokesman Vince Muniga.
"All high-performance projects are on indefinite hold," Muniga said. "The engineers are moving into different areas of the organization, and they will work on Cadillacs, Buicks, Chevrolets and Pontiacs."
The unit created low-volume vehicles for GM's divisions designed to appeal to enthusiasts and bolster the company's image. Products included V-series Cadillacs and the Chevrolet Cobalt SS, HHR SS and a V-8 version of the Colorado.
Muniga said there are no plans for high-performance versions of upcoming cars.The move is in the spirit of GM's viability plan delivered to the U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday. In the plan, GM said its future-product focus is on fuel- efficient cars and crossovers.
In short, I believe downsizing probably is the right step for GM as they must focus on being the most efficient mass player that they can be.

But this closure of the performance division on the heals of yesterday's announcement of slashing GM's brands to 4 (Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC) calls into question whether the number of brands are the problem at all. Customers in America want more and more differentiation and individuality (ref the success of Scion and Porsche) whether you call this type of diffentiation "brands" or interesting models within a brand, it is still absolutely essential that exciting quality product be offered. A company like GM should not kill its performance division AND its brand stable, unless it can figure out how to bring MUCH more excitement and quality to that which is left behind.

They better have a pretty spectacular plan for Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC or else these moves will probably be nothing more than an accelerated path to bankruptcy.

Here's hoping.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Last week - a recap and a reblog

Thanks to LM Life's stupendous author, Ariel, I have the chance to share with you our exploits of last week in great detail. It is well worth the read to hear all that we accomplished. Here is Ari's account, reblogged for you pleasure.

The Last Week (by Ariel Ferreira Cronk).......

It is now Monday, and I have not updated you here in too long. Last week was such a whirlwind. We (Jay, Aurel and I) met so many new faces, caught up with community members in the Midwest, and started to broach territory that is, as of yet, a bit uncharted.

It will be easiest if I take you through the last week day-by-day.


AM - Kettering University

We really didn't know what to expect at Kettering University. The Kettering Entrepreneur Society was kind enough to host the Local Motors presentation during the lunch hour, and even brought lunch for everyone! Jay was sharp, and for the first time he was presenting to a group of engineers. While the focus was on Crowdsourcing and entrepreneurship, the questions were asked from a calculating engineers point of view. How is this feasible? How are you going to be profitable? How are the cars built? It was a good talk.

After the presentation we had a short tour. Kettering University is starting a start-up incubator program right on campus with a focus on bringing new businesses and new jobs to Mid-Michigan. Those running this program are sharp, and will succeed. All is not lost in Flint, Michigan.

Then, we met with the SAE lead/coach. He was so supportive of Local Motors and offered strong suggestions on how to integrate SAE collaboration in our process.

PM - Dinner with D-town Community Members

Though the big community dinner was scheduled for Tuesday, some CCS students and community members let us know in advance that they were going to be busy that evening. So, we met them on Monday. We had pizza in Greektown and hungout. It was a really nice, relaxing evening.

Two of the guys who joined us are community members, Vaughan Ling (Vling) , and Jon Russell (Jon). The other two are not yet members (not that I know of!), but I hope they will be in the future - both Zach and John are cool guys.


AM - Lawrence Technological University

Lawrence Tech has a new transportation design program. Located in Southfield, Michigan, just next to Detroit. LTU has a strong automotive culture based in engineering and now branching out toward design. It's amazing what they have accomplished in a short time.

This pic of Aurel was taken at LTU. It has no particular significance here, except that I like it!

PM - CCS Presentation

We were prepared for CCS to be a harder audience than the others. In our experience, the old Detroit frame of mind is not always an open mind. And while Jay can convince a room full of 500 entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that the Local Motors process is doable, sustainable, and scalable, it is sometimes more challenging to have the same conversation with Detroit engineers, manufacturers, and designers. But, as we found, CCS students do not have the old Detroit frame of mind (at least not the ones we talked to). They were very open minded, and asked strong questions.

If we could emphasize just one more thing to this group, to Mid-Michigan, and to Detroit, it would be that Local Motors structure supports the larger automotive economy over all. That we are not competitors to existing OEMs, we too, to some extent, are customers to OEMs.

All we want to do is put exciting and sustainable cars on the road, and we want to invite customers to choose what they want and participate in the process. It's that simple.

Evening - Dinner at Slows, 27 guests

Slow's Bar BQ in Detroit was really good. That being said, in the future we will not opt for a traditional restaurant setting. We need more of a reception, more of a social atmosphere where people can walk around and socialize. This was my lesson, and you can bet that while this dinner was great, the next event will be even better.


AM - Drive to Cleveland

PM - Presentation at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)

We FORGOT to take pics at CIA. I am going to try to get some pics of these guys from Matt Beckwith who is the CIA "Designer in Residence". He was a great help in planning our visit, and introducing us to students and faculty.

If you ask Jay or Aurel, they will tell you that 1.) CIA was impressive. The program, the students, the final projects - well done. And 2.) These guys know how to have fun. They have created a challenging balance between work and play. What a great atmosphere for learning and living.

Evening - Drive to Cincinnati

HUGE thunderstorm. Thankfully, Jay drove. At one point we had to pull the car over under an overpass until the rain slowed enough to enable us to drive. Aurel slept through most of the storm, but he woke in time to see a rainbow. I can't track down that rainbow pic right now, but it was just awesome.


AM - Loitering at University of Cincinnati - buy the contents of a bake sale

We were invited to loiter, so I guess technically we weren't "loitering", but hanging out. We wanted to make ourselves available prior to our presentation so we could have plenty of one-on-one time with interested students.

Notice the Dunkin Doughnuts box behind Jay? Since we were hanging out in the DAAP Cafe area, we wanted to bring some goodies for the students. I went to the Kroger bakery that morning and bought tons of cookies, and we got coffees for those that wanted it (me!). As we arrived at the Cafe to unload our cookies and presentation boards, we found that a group of students were doing a bake sale to raise money. So what does Jay do? He buys about $80 worth of doughnuts to support the bake sale cause, and pass out to students in the cafe. Then, at the end of our stay in the cafe, he gives the leftover doughnuts back to the bake sale.

Not a bad day for fundraising.

PM - Presentation at UC & Senior Projects

More students than we expected turned up for the UC presentation. In my opinion, this was Jay's best presentation of the week [Thank you Ari! Shucks!]. He had a crowd comprised of mostly designers, a fair mix between product and transportation. And we also had engineers.

Part of what made the presentation so strong was the myriad of questions. These students had tons of questions, and Jay was ready to answer.

Evening - Fly home

5 presentations in 4 days. Phew. What a week!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The gift that keeps on giving - A note on Consumption

What do you do for fun? Does it include spending money each time you do it?

What about a perpetual saving machine? Would you buy that? Could that be fun?

What if you could buy things in life that bring enjoyment, memories, friendships, again and again for the cost of almost nothing? Those are the types of things that we should be investing in in America.

We have all heard these statistics before, but let's take stock of the bad news on debt: The average American with a credit file is responsible for $16,635 in debt, EXCLUDING mortages, according to Experian. (Source: U.S. News and World Report, "The End of Credit Card Consumerism," August 2008)

......and that is just personal debt. Any legitimate figure must include all borrowings private or public from which people in America take benefit, as that total is the debt load for which we are all ultimately responsible. This total is approximately $175,000 per person or $700,000 per family of 4. It has grown 600% in the last 50 years at a rate 2 times the rate of growth of our economy. (

That is the tale of the tape. Those are the facts. We could sit back and pine over lost opportunity, but I prefer to look forward. As individuals and collectives (companies included) we must take responsibilities for ways to curb borrowing. Especially in the face of a $790BN government stimulus, how do we change the growth of debt? We reverse our trends and we find ways to save.

Local Motors is a company which has been purpose built to do its part. We have created a product and an experience which is built to increase your saving and to create great memories while doing so.

For decades, car consumerism has been about borrowing to own, but the pride of ownership has been swiftly diminishing. People have no loyalty to their cars. With 40MM cars sold in the US each year (15MM new + 25MM used) on a base of 240MM cars, that means we hold onto our cars for 6 years. But cars are made to last for 20-30 years according to our leases so why must we always switch out 4-6 times faster than that? I believe that we have stopped falling in love with our cars. The content in our cars has been reduced to such banal offerings of seat color and stereo power that car companies have almost planned for us to "fall out of love" with our cars on exactly this time scale.

No longer. Local Motors has created a product and an experience that you pay for up front and in return it brings you a lifetime of excitement, fulfillment, memories, new friendships, and education to reflect on your personal transportation solution. Buying a Local Motors car is a commitment to build your car in our micro-factory, and we promise you the return of all of the riches listed above.

To be clear, here is the pay-off equation:

- Build the car of your dreams ($50K)
- Do it with a friend or a family member and bond forever (Free)
- Take drives to anywhere and see the world (Gas Money..... and a lot less at that)
- Meet people along the way who are eager to talk to you (Free)
- Gain a lifetime of confidence and pride in having built your own (Free)
- Have the time of your life (Free)

When was the last time that you could do all that with your car. Let's change the rate at which we consume. Let's do it with our cars, and let's have fun!

I am the first in line!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

You might have been thinking "Brand" ...No way, we are in revolt.


During our trip to the old Motor belt of our country last week, we encountered a lot of questions about our "Brand".

What is a standard Brand? Take Rolex for instance. Internationally known and monolithic as a statement of product. If it could talk it would say,"I am THE WATCH. Take it or leave it, but wherever you go across the world, that is what you get."


What are we? To say it simply: We are not building a Brand. We are in open revolt.

Local Motors is a revolution in the car industry like the '76rs were to the British Colonies. We are creating a federation of Local Motors locations whose products and devotees are the very soul of our movement. If you simply must have a Brand for LM then perhaps you could consider this federation our very brand itself, but the true identity of our company is wrapped up in the individual fabric of each location already born within our community.

In case you think that you haven't seen this before, Is this a Brand?


What about these?




or better yet, Is this an icon?


What about these?




I cannot tell you the full expanse of our identity, because it doesn't exist yet, and that is the MAGIC. Local Motors has sparked a movement - a revolution - and it is to the winning vehicles and their supporters that we owe everything.

Yes, this is our Company Logo....

But this is the beginning of a revolution...

Viva la Rally Fighter!

Viva la Revolucion!

Viva Local!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ending the Tour in Cincinnati Ohio

Today we ended our whirlwind tour of Michigan and Ohio in Cincinnati at the school of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at UC talking to the Transportation Design Track. A cooperative program, the Trans Design Track is only five years old (first graduating class this year), but it is full of a very robust and well-trained student body each of which who has fulfilled at least 5 cooperative education quarters at a corporation.

We spent 5 hours with the students and faculty talking about the ideas and execution behind Local Motors and the community. We only planned for an hour presentation, but given the length of time we spent, it was a popular time for all and necessary for us to spend that time answering the many questions they had about our Company.

We also had time to spend in the Senior Studio and to have a review of each of the Senior projects. Curtis, Lucas, Andrew, Ryan, Laura, Brad, Tom, Jonny, and Clay all had a collection of extensive senior projects which they were each gracious enough to share with us. We were humbled and amazed by there depth of craftsmanship.

I think that if there were ever a school which we would want to return to year after year, this program who qualify.

Bravo UC!

Go Local!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cleveland Institute of Art today

Today we left Detroit and struck out across the top of Shawnee (Native American) Country. This area of Ohio is such a contrast to the dense urbanization of Detroit and elsewhere.

Today we visited the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA).

The students' work at CIA was particularly spectacular and the built environment of the school takes advantage of the surrounding museums. We have seen a LOT of schools and are saying this with the full comparative knowledge of our background travels.

We spent a full afternoon explaining our concept, answering questions and learning from our audience. After that, we took off and drove all the way to Cincinnati where we are now.

Tomorrow we will present to a final school for this trip and then begin to make preparations to return to home.

Day 2 in Detroit

This morning started off at Lawrence Technical University, talking to the administrators, instructors, and students of their brand new design program and also to their students competing in the Formula SAE program. This school has achieved so much in such a short time. Only 2 years of any design at all, and now a growing program with students who are hyper focused on both design and engineering. We delivered a presentation and answered questions about Local Motors in a format that was very free-flowing and meaningful.

Later today we caravaned over to the College for Creative Studies (CCS) where we met and briefed Larry Erickson and his students in the transportation design department. This was a hard hitting presentation with question and answer afterward. What an amazing group of auto enthusiasts and how receptive and inquisitive they were of Local Motors. They also kindly offerred us a tour and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the facilities.

Tonight we then went to Slow's for BBQ with almost 30 members of our community, both new and old and even some parents and spouses. Finishing around 1130pm, I feel like we have been in Detroit for days with old friends.

Late tonight, we capped off the day with an internal team crunch session over the final terms of the upcoming competition: Rally Fighter Interior Competition. Many discussions and decisions, but as always great, balanced, progress. We are all so excited about what the future brings. What a day and what feedback we have received. It is humbling and also exhilirating.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tales from Flint, Michigan

What a day! Awoke at 3 am and turning in at midnight.

When thinking about this post, at first, I was inspired to talk about the effects of frictional unemployment on Company towns that have suffered major business pull-outs like Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Detroit.

Then I felt like it was more important to talk about the creation of a Brand and which ethos was more important for Local Motors: A global brand, a league of teams, or a federation of factories.

Each of these is a meaningful post, but not ultimately for tonight. Instead the topic that has won the day is our activity in Michigan.

We have taken Flint by storm and tomorrow on to Detroit. We spent the afternoon at Kettering University hosted by both the Entrepreneurship Society, the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Tech Works Technology Commercialization Programs. This was an amazing breath of fresh air compared to what we expected. Driving into Flint (former global home base of Chevy and GM) it felt as if it always has lately, full of gray and foreboding of economic malaise. Even the mayor, Don Williamson, resigned today.

But Kettering was a different story. Students alive and talking, administrators and teachers present, and facilities that support the basis of a vision of growth and hope. I don't think that we had finished 10 minutes of our presentation when we were already getting questions about whether we would consider placing a facility in Flint. When I gave the reasons: that Michigan was not ready to accept start-up companies, that much of the negative community feedback which we had received had come from those in the old guard of the auto industry in this area, and that we were too small in each of our micro-factories to attract much interest from any economic development function....Not one of these was enough to deter the dogged determination of the team that had gathered to greet us. Dr. Tavakoli, Neil Sheridan, Dr. Navaz, and Dr. Hoff were gracious hosts and determined proponents of the future promise of Flint.

Later we met with alumnus and Masters candidate, Jason Kane, to discuss some of the finer points of the Formula SAE program at Kettering and his new venture that he and some classmates are starting to offer accelerated engineering services to a broad array of customers.

We were given a tour of the C.S. Mott Engineering and Science center, and what an impressive facility it is. E-Manufacturing lab, CAD lab, rapid prototyping center, and more, each with students receiving first rate instruction.

If there were ever a place with the components to support an automotive company it would be Michigan, if there were ever a town in the state hungry to get something new going, it would be Flint. Bravo, Flint has given us much to think about.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Off to Motown!

At 3am this morning, we are off to Michigan and Ohio making the rounds
at some of America's top Design and Automotive engineering schools.

Kettering (formerly General Motors Institute)
Lawerence Tech
College for Creative Studies
Cleveland Institute of Art
Art Institute of Cincinnati

Over the next 4 days we are off to preach our Gospel in the land of
the Old Testament. I cannot wait. So many car lovers in these areas,
so many people looking for change.

Be sure to follow us as we travel.

Go Local!

Go Detroit!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Seaside Students hit the shore at LM HQ

Today we were visited by about 10 students from Marion's own, Seaside School. A school for young minds, this institution is replete with inquisitive children who were simply enamored of what our community has achieved.

Have a look a their progression:

For their part they designed and drew cars in school and then brought them to present to the team members at LM. Needles to say, it was an exciting field trip for everyone. Even the "dads" joined in as at least 4 fathers volunteered to pick up their children at school and carpool them on the field trip! Maybe they too were having a look-see at the company that will make their future car.

Once the students' designs are a little more finished, we will be sure to post them on studio home for a little LM feedback. Be sure to give them some comments. We will let you know when that happens. This is all part of the magic when you are local and accessible.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Quote of the month, "I have found my Facebook"

Today I was talking to J. David Weiss (aka "Designova"), an LM Community member, and friend to all of us. David went to school to be a designer at NC State and now lives in North Carolina freelancing as a designer.

We were talking because of the effort that he has recently put forth in writing the bulk of the competition description for the next LM contest, Carolina Motors. This is really an incredible story all on its own. 10 months ago, this entire concept of distributed and open car design was non-existant, and then LM broke on to the scene. We have run 9 competitions in that time, and have worked very hard to make sure that each one embodies a flavor and excitement for the area to which it pertains. With David's work for Carolina Motors, this marks the first time that a designer from our community has reached up into the very heart of our process and penned the very description that gives birth to our competitions. Check it out in Ari's Life Blog. Wow! Community members inciting community members. As a member of our community AND as a native, David's description is infinitely more connected and powerful than that of anyone who would write a more detached or academic piece on the location.

What's more, he even sourced some family photographs (those of his brother, Beau) to adorn the description that he has so carefully crafted.

(Topsail Island at Sunrise by Beau Weiss, NC Native)

(Near Tale of the Dragon in Wintertime by Beau Weiss, NC Native)

As David and I settled in to talk about his writing we quickly became distracted by the bigger goals of the community, and in passing David mentioned something magical that I have yet to hear. I am repeating it here because it is such a great sentiment. In short, he told me, "All of my friends use Facebook and other social media which I have yet to find worthwhile, but when I found Local Motors, I knew that I had discovered my own "Facebook".

Of course, this does not mean that LM's web community is a social media outlet, but rather that we offer a destination of choice and a friendly environment where people of all skills and nationalities can come together to learn and to contribute to the passion that consumes each one of them equally, CARS.

Bravo David. Good luck in receiving the kind of sensitivity and response that your community has come to be known for in this upcoming competition...."Carolina Motors, Here we come!"

"Parts Bin: Side Vent" Competition is closed for submission BUT open for voting and Feedback

For the next two days, you can come to Local Motors site and give the community your vote on any entry. If you want to be part of the selection of the side of our Rally Fighter, I hope you will take the time to dig into these amazing designs and to share your thoughts with the designers.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A shout out to the LM Fans let's get the word out.

This weekend 3 articles came out that were notable:

1) Investors Business Daily : "Modeling the Ideal Carmaker"

2) Business Week: "Detroit Should Get Cracking on its Googlemobile"

3) Wall Street Journal: "Car-Industry Slump Imperils Role in Spurring Innovation"

Certainly, I recommend that you give them a read, but to me what is notable about them all is that they each assume that some things are sacred about the current auto industry and grope at its future with wild ideas about what a future car company might look like. They declare, not only how the industry's downturn will hurt innovation, but also they speak of it as if it were lost at sea and as if no one is out there trying new things. Naturally, Local Motors is and has been working everyday on exactly what these articles seem to seek - innovation, low capital approach to the car market, and American manufacturing.

At the very same time that these articles above were running, Local Motors was profiled in the following 8 news sources (the first 4 I told you about yesterday, but wait...the list has grown):

1) in the Boston Globe
2) in the Boston Herald
3) in the Providence Journal
4) on
5) at the top of the AP local for Boston for an hour last night (picked up the Herald article)
6) on the Channel 5 news at 11pm
7) on
8) on Baja Racing News Live

So what is it about the national media that has kept them from hearing our story. I expect it is only a matter of time, but in the meantime, you could help America out by writing a note to these interested journalists and tell them a little about our Company. At least, tell them to check out our website, one of our three blogs, and to write me an email to me at

The Investors Busines Daily Article was written by:
Gary M. Stern who can be reached at

The Business Week Article was written by:

The Wall Street Journal article was written by:

Let's get the word out and start a more positive outlook and debate on alternative paths for the US Auto industry - paths that are already being trod.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

There must be something Local in the water

(Boston Globe - Courtesy of Local Motors)

LM has been in the talk of the town in New England 5 times this weekend.

In specific, we have been in five major news properties in the local area in the past 24 hrs and are most grateful for the kind and insightful coverage.

1st - The Providence Journal kicked off with a detailed and thoughtful piece written by Peter Elsworth.

2nd - The Boston Herald did a follow up to its Boston Motors piece, this time profiling the winning entry, the Bullet.

3rd - The Boston Globe (largest circulation paper in New England) ran a feature story in its Globe South section sharing the LM Dream with the Southcoast.

4th - WCVB and picked up the Herald story and are running it now on their website as a profile of a new "pothole buster" and car of the future for Boston.

5th - Our Super Bowl ad ran at half-time and was a huge....... just kidding on this one.

But seriously, this was a solid weekend of local news and shows the power of investing in your home town.

More to come no doubt, but please enjoy these articles, and for those of you that are local, use them as incentive to show up at our shop anytime. I'll give you the tour myself.