Local Motors is shutting down operations, according to a report from The Drive that was published on Thursday and points to a lack of funding as the reason for the company's termination.
The report cites an anonymous source familiar with the matter, but notes that multiple employees have publicly discussed the company's alleged plans to cease operations. One of them is Chris Stoner, a former Local Motors vice president of sales and customer success, who posted on LinkedIn this week that the company "will cease to exist as of January 14."
Arizona-based Local Motors gained notoriety early last decade with the Rally Fighter, an off-roader designed with crowd-sourced input. In addition to helping design the vehicle, customers were invited to help assemble their cars at Local Motors' facilities.
Local Motors Olli Concept
The Rally Fighter garnered some attention, even appearing in a "Fast and Furious" movie and the "Forza" video-game series, before production ceased in 2016. Local Motors also introduced the Strati, an electric car with a 3D-printed body, although it's unclear how many were actually made.
Local Motors subsequently shifted to autonomous vehicles as part of a reorganization that saw the original company become part of an umbrella entity called LM Industries. The company launched a low-speed autonomous shuttle called the Olli and began public demonstrations. In December 2021, one of the vehicles collided with a tree, critically injuring its attendant. Local Motors' closure is not related to the crash, according to the report.
Underpinning Local Motors' various vehicle projects was the concept of small, decentralized "microfactories" as an alternative to traditional manufacturing infrastructure. While Local Motors may not get the chance to fully implement that idea, startup Arrival plans to use a similar model for electric buses, delivery vans, and ride-share vehicles.