If you were going to design a car from scratch today, what would it look like and what technology would you put inside? This is the question posed by Scarlet Motors, a new Finnish auto manufacturer with plans to design and build a consumer electronic sports car. On Friday Scarlet Motors threw a launch party in Berlin where it announced it will allow the community to to participate in the product development process.
The company was started eight months ago by Joona Kallio and Julien Fourgeaud, an ex-Rovio employee and designer who are staying close to their roots by calling cars a "true mobile device".
“We have always been interested in understanding the ways cars are built and have too often been disappointed by the slow adoption rate of new technologies in the car industry”, says Julien Fourgeaud, CEO of Scarlet Motors. “Starting from a clean sheet gives us the opportunity to take the best from over 100 years of legacy, weave in the technologies of tomorrow and streamline the product development process.”
Rather than coming out with their own concept, the company wishes to get a community engaged and involved around the creation of their product. They say they're moving away from a traditional "closed" model to a new concept where individuals and companies can participate in the designing and manufacturing of the electronic sports car.
And thus, going to their website feels more like an online startup, rather than some company that is planning to build a complex machine. Visitors are greeted with a sign in form, and after registering the site informs you that they are still in beta, but are accepting members on a daily basis.
Auto manufacturing must have some of the highest barriers to entry out of any industry. But hell, it's 2012, and if we're not going to see innovation in the auto industry now, then when are we? Scarlet's community approach to the design process may just be what the auto industry needs.
Below is an interview with Scarlet Motors' CEO Julien Fourgeaud by Kick Network.