CHANDLER, Ariz. - “It looked really cool and I was like this is the car I always wanted to drive,” Glen Warner said.
Warner is talking about the Rally Fighter. A street-legal car you can run errands with or do some serious off-roading. It's the first car manufactured by Local Motors at its micro factory in Chandler.
“I started doing the research and saw that it had a back seat,” Warner said. “So it was something I could use because I have a kid.”
But Warner can't just drive a car off the lot at this micro factory. In order to buy a Rally Fighter, he has to build it. He brought his dad along to help.
“So being able to come to a facility that already has it set up for you, it gives you the parts and tells you where you need to go putting them on and then you get to learn how everything works together,” Warner said.
“They come in and build their vehicles and they take two weekends to do it here,” Jay Rogers said. “They work with a builder trainer and the sub assembly team which is actually putting their parts together in order for the customer to work with their builder trainer.”
“Then we have a production team where they're making the chassis right here and getting them ready to meet sub assembly parts in front of the customer. It's a whole team effort.”
Rogers is the CEO of Local Motors.
“We wanted to change the way cars were designed, developed and sold in America and really around the world,” Rogers said. “The process for a way a car comes to life at Local Motors is the car gets designed in the internet space.”
That's exactly how the Rally Fighter came to life. Designers, engineers and enthusiasts enter their ideas on the Local Motors website and then compete in design competitions.Yyou don't have to create a design to participate, you can simply vote on cars you like.
“So what's really cool about Local Motors is if you design a vehicle for one of these competitions, if enough people like it, then when Local Motors goes to decide what vehicles going to build, if we have a popular design, will take that design and put it into production,” design community liaison Nicholas Depeyer said.
So far 23 Rally Fighters have been sold since going into production at the beginning of the year.
“Once you get into it, it's actually a neat idea,” builder trainer Steve White said. “And you’re giving people what they want instead of what we say they want”.
So how does Warner feel about cruising around in a very unique car? “I guess it feels kind of special,” Warner said.
More information on Local Motors.
The Conference on Social Product Development & Co-Creation is scheduled for June 27 and 28. It's an event developed by the PDMA partnership Local Motors to bring together a group of thinkers, makers and doers to help you understand and apply co-creative approaches. For more information go to cocreate.pdma.org.