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!


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