Hot sketches? Check. Giant wheels? Check. Aggressive styling? Check. Production vehicle? Check..? Yes, CHECK.
Local Motors has released information on their first build, the “Rally Fighter” by recent winner Sangho Kim. The concept was born of true open-source thinking via LM’s Design Process community section of their website: Designer creates concept, community critiques concept, designer refines concept, community critiques again, and so on. To designers, the process is reminiscient of every college design course (and every succesful design studio) we had, with weekly critiques of our designs in efforts to make it better. (We’ll have more on the Design process in a future article). Kim’s concept was one of the first to utilize the Design Process, and did so effectively, evolving over the summer into the vehicle that you see in the images below.
The vehicle, although it will have to slightly morph to fit today’s safety and manufacturing standards, is a take on the stylish not-so-off-road genre that BMW, Audi, and even Hyundai are starting to take a look into seriously. Dubbed a “larger lighter-weight” car that is fuel-efficient, the Rally Fighter had it’s roots as a BMW-inspired concept, picking up the look of the X6 and eventually evolving the proportion and form language to become more unique. While not as outlandhish as many concepts we see come out of other design competitions (and other start-ups) the Rally Fighter has a clean, modern aesthetic that will aim to help define the Local Motors brand language.
If the final vehicle retains much of the “sketch on wheels” appeal of Kim’s concept, then the Rally Fighter will be a winner. With the help of LM team members such as Ben Messmer (Lead Designer at Local Motors) and their engineering staff and community, the project looks promising, and will be a nice way for the design communityto showcase itself in the increasingly open-source world that we live in. Congratulations to Sangho Kim, who’s having one heck of a summer!
Official press release (and a few more images) after the break.
August 5, 2008
For Immediate Release:
Local Motors Announces First Car to be Built with Community Support
Sangho Kim’s Rally Fighter will be the first Local Motors Design Concept to be taken from sketch to reality. Multiple factors influenced the decision to build Sangho’s design. Community support, focus on car enthusiasts, timeliness and community collaboration are key.
Local Motors will build the Rally Fighter with the participation of the entire Local Motors Community of designers and car enthusiasts, who were the largest consideration in this decision. Ben Messmer, Lead Designer at Local Motors explains the value in Community Design Process, “This design has aroused incredible feedback and collaboration from the Community. By promoting discussion and collaboration early on, we are able to design cars we know people want; there is no guessing.” Everyone is welcome to collaborate and give feedback since the Rally Fighter is currently in “Process”. Kim’s Rally Fighter represents an industry first as the premier car to be designed and built for car enthusiasts in open non-private development.
Local Motors is a new American car company focused on building cars for the most influential market, car enthusiasts. The Rally Fighter will fulfill the desires of these selective drivers:
1. American Authenticity: Local Motors will hold true to the influences of traditional American car design: hotrods, trucks, and aerospace are among the inspiration to build a legion of new and exciting cars for enthusiasts. The Rally Fighter reflects the heroism of American aerospace design and is inspired by the long, powerful lines of Classic Warbirds.
Each Local Motors car will be uniquely American since each is designed and built to suit a local region. The Rally Fighter design is suited to several local geographic areas, from the Baja landscape of Southern California to the hills of Texas and the Back Country of North Carolina. Local Motors has yet to announce the location of the first local micro-factory facility where the Off-Road Rally Fighter will be built. The prototype will be built at Local Motors headquarters.
2. Mechanicals Showing: Die-hard car enthusiasts are turned on by the site of a beautiful automobile; especially if the mechanicals are showing. Styling cues like exposed wheels or exhaust, or exposed panels on frames are details that can take a design from like to lust. The aerospace influence of the Rally Fighter is tailored for features like raw panels you see on old Warbirds.
3. Presence of Excellence: Local Motors’ consistent Presence of Excellence will be head turning, heart pounding car design. What Local Motors will do well with design and execution will be simple but effective. This company cannot and does not intend to compete with other industry products that distinguish themselves on the absence of defects. No matter the price point, no matter the limitations, the absence of defects without the Presence of Excellence is still falling short. In this case, the Presence of Excellence is a must-have design, where we will accept being bested on life cycle testing for door handle reliability (e.g.) in order to focus on a product whose look and feel you cannot live without.
4. Playing (vs. Posing): Car enthusiasts want a vehicle to do what is advertised or implied. A true rally car must be able to jump, and a hotrod had better be able to burn rubber. Anything less is just posing; Local Motors Rally Fighter is ready to play.
This Rally Fighter fits the bill of Local Motors’ and car enthusiasts’ expectations, and we believe Sangho has presented it at the perfect time since OEMs are no longer focusing on large vehicles. As the majors change their product mix away from larger vehicles to achieve overall corporate gains in fuel efficiency, they are creating opportunities to provide larger lighter-weight cars to the American consumer. “We believe there is a way to make a bigger, safer vehicle which is lightweight and super efficient. With the guidance of our community, we not only think but we know there is demand for such a vehicle. Sangho’s Rally Fighter is the clear standout in this category and we are proud to make this design our premier,” says Local Motors CEO, Jay Rogers.
Sangho Kim’s winning creation has spent weeks in the Design Process section refining its unique off-road rally characteristics with the help of the Community. This section of http://www.local-motors.com is a development hub for the most promising Local Motors designs and is invite-only. In this designated area, designers can work directly with the LM Design Team while collaborating with one another. After weeks in Process with the LM Design Team and Community, the Rally Fighter is an eye-catching rendition of aeronautical inspiration in a high-waisted coupe style vehicle.
Kim’s community participation made him an easy choice; not only can he design, but he has excellent communication skills and is able rapidly to iterate his design based on community feedback. Recently, this same skill set helped him win the Miami Road Racer Competition. Now Sangho Kim has taken the opportunity to see his idea come to life, the dream of every car designer. In addition to this awesome experience, Sangho earned $10,000USD. The team at Local Motors will carry out Sangho’s vision and ensure his name will forever be associated with his design. He is only the first of many designers to be conferred with such an honor, and we so Local Motors looks forward to more to come in the future. In addition to Kim, there are already three winning designers and several runner-up finishers who have risen to the top of the community in Local Motors competitions. These other designers’ individual achievements represent the depth of this community.
Local Motors revolutionary but simple process values the desires of community; the community is also the customer.
About Local Motors
Local Motors Mission
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.
Must-Have Products: With an aggressive pursuit of both form and function, build and source the most eye-catching, gut pleasing and functional products for personal mobility. This differentiation will command a higher price.
Community and Education: Dealerships are plentiful and customers abound but true communities of owners are precious. From the physical world to the virtual world, treasure the company, the people, and the products that give our owners reason to make friends for life. For our owners, this is not just about transportation; it is about how they enjoy their freedom. A deeper relationship with customers may not increase the price, because while it increases the customer willingness to pay, it also increases the company willingness to share value, but a deeper relationship does increase resale value and brand loyalty. A great part of this value is wrapped in education and the desire of Local Motors to lead the field of auto makers in taking the time to educate and inform its customers in a most engaging process.
Environmental & Corporate Sustainability
Environmental Sustainability: Reduce harmful particulate and carbon emissions. Clean up the face of mainstreet by doing away with the oceans of unsold cars baking in sun. Reduce engine noise inside and outside the vehicle for the sake of serenity. With a must-have product that commands consistently superior value pricing and a community that creates customer loyalty, self-sustaining profit is the result.
Corporate Sustainability: With a must-have product that commands consistently superior value pricing and a community that creates customer loyalty, self-sustaining profit is the result.
Safety: Provide not just a defensive safer vehicle that can withstand greater impact than other vehicles in its class, but also an offensive safer vehicle whose nimbleness and technology make it an industry leader at avoiding accidents.
Seductive Simplicity: Everything you dreamt of, nothing extra.
Customer First: This is the second largest purchase most people ever make in their lives. Treat them with the respect that their purchase deserves. Delight and exceed customer expectations. Pay for this with operational efficiencies born from a local manufacturing, sales, and service model. This has never been done before in the car industry so look for peers from other industry leaders (motorcycles, aircraft, component cars, beer). We are looking for an aspirational product delivered through a meaningful entertainment experience.
To learn more go to: http://www.local-motors.com/aboutUs.php
For questions please contact:
Ariel Ferreira Cronk
aferreira [at] local-motors.com