Check out the concept for the new "Local Motors" car company:
- "Vote for the designs you want. If you are a designer, you can upload your own. Either way, you help choose which designs are developed and built by the Local Motors community. Vote for competition designs, Checkup critiques, or portfolio designs.
- Open Development, sort of like open source. Once there is enough support for any single design, Local Motors will develop it openly. That means that you not only choose which designs you want to drive, you get to help develop them - every step of the way.
- Choose the Locale During the development process, help choose where the design should be made available. Local Motors is not a big car company, we are Local. The community chooses car designs with local regions in mind; where will this design fit best? You tell us. We make it happen.
- Build your Local Motors vehicle Then, once the design and engineering is fully developed you can go to the Local Motors Micro-Factory and build your own - with our help, of course. See the "Buy" page for purchase and Build Experience details.
- Drive your Local Motors car, the one you helped design and build, home."
I like this user-centric approach to car design and development. This is how we really put the user in the driver's seat.
The is the type of opportunity where we go from Henry Ford's one car for the masses approach to a more localized implementation.
While I don't know the specific economics of this approach for a car company, it seems like it has bottom-line potential since they will only proceed with car development once they have enough demand identified.
Why build cars that no one wants or likes and why pay for internal design and market research studies, when people will willingly participate for free in order to get what they really want?
Finally, this is a terrific example of open source development and crowdsourcing--getting the masses to contribute and making something better and better over time. More minds to the task, more productivity and quality as a result.