We'll miss you, Local Motors.
America is home to some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world and leads the way in numerous sectors of the automotive industry, but unbeknownst to many, there are a ton of smaller manufacturers that build all the cool stuff larger brands would never touch. One such company is Local Motors. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, this specialist vehicle builder is best known for creating the awesome-looking Rally Fighter, a retro-inspired lifted muscle car that is set up to take jumps and hit the dirt. The company, which recently made the shift to autonomous vehicle design, has now sadly announced that it will be closing shop on 14 January.
The unofficial announcement was made by various employees on social media, with senior management later confirming the news. Local Motors was founded in 2007 and started delivering the Rally Fighter after 18 months of development. The Rally Fighter was powered by the GM-sourced 450-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine found in cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro, and clean examples can still be found for a decent price. Local Motors shifted its focus from fire-breathing rally cars to a more subdued field: autonomous shuttles. The "Olli," as it was known, was deployed across the globe, but interest has clearly waned in recent months.
The reason behind the closure is simple: there's a lack of funding. Employees had varying responses to the news, with former interim CFO Ivan Golubic making the following statement: "In light of today's announcement by Local Motors, the only thing I will say, so proud to be able to be part of this leadership team and lead the finance team in such challenging and exciting times."
Jeff Hollowell, on the other hand (the company's senior vice president), showed little emotion when he made his brief statement: "As with most adventures, they must come to an end. Local Motors has closed its doors." Running a small, independent car manufacturing business can't be easy under the current economic conditions, and we'll be sad to see one of the more interesting indie brands go down.