John B. Rogers, Jr. has set out to build a game-changing car company. As the CEO of Local Motors, Rogers is exploiting crowd-sourcing, innovative production standards, and an almost old-fashioned commitment to small manufacturing to create what may well be the future of the American automotive industry.
Located in a Wareham, Massachusetts, industrial park, Local Motors solicits designs over its corporate website that are then put up for a public vote. But Local Motors’ relatively tiny factories—about the size of your local Home Depot—are also state-of-the-art. “Micro-factory means micro-production,” says Rogers, “which means several thousand units over the course of a year in a local area that employs local people.” The company goal is to build 20 micro-factories across the country, each serving a regional market.
Before deciding he was destined to make cars, Rogers served for 6 years in the United States Marine Corps, where he was an Infantry Company Commander, and has worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Co., as an investment analyst at Ewing & Partners, and at a start-up medical device company in China. The winner of Local Motors’ inaugural Design Concept competition, designer Sangho Kim’s “Rally Fighter,” is slated to roll off the line soon.