If you could have a Baja-capable vehicle that’s also a daily driver and powered by a BMW engine, would you be interested?
Make it the 335d diesel engine, add adjustable ride height, 265 horsepower, and 30+ miles per gallon, and I’m guessing you’d be like me and wonder where to sign up.
It’s the hope of carmaker Local Motors that folks like you and me will indeed sign up to drive home a brand-new Rally Fighter. The thing is, you can’t just head to a dealer and make a deal on one. Sign up to buy one, and you get to help design and even help build it. No dealer visit required, ever. In my mind, that’s perhaps the best part of Local Motors!
Based in Wareham, Mass., Local Motors uses crowd sourcing for the design of its vehicles. It’s an all-new business model in the auto industry, where the local community designs the vehicles. In short, that’s all just fancy talk for saying the Rally Fighter was designed by folks on the Web.
The company eventually plans to build micro factories around the country to build region-specific vehicles with customers nationwide.
Company CEO Jay Rogers graduated from Princeton’s engineering school, joined the Marines, fought in Iraq, and saw the oil problem with his own eyes. After the Marines, his mission was to start a green, sustainable, local car company.
Whether or not this new way of making and selling cars catches on with the public remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: The Rally Fighter is one sweet-looking machine. Good looks and BMW power could translate to success, but the $50,000 price tag and RWD-only drivetrain could hold back a core demographic of the company. At that price, one could pick up a 4×4 Ford F-150 Raptor and have change left over.
Of course, that $50K includes the experience of going to a micro factory and being involved with the production of your very own car. That could create a deeper connection between owners and their cars than just buying something off a dealer’s lot. And if someone really wanted a 4WD vehicle, there’s no reason he or she couldn’t work with Local Motors to design one.
Let’s say you had fifty grand to spend and had the choice between the Rally Fighter and the Ford Raptor. Which one would you buy? I’d be pretty tempted to go the Rally Fighter route. Add 4WD and the deal would be sealed.