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Influx interview-defiant motors

April 15, 2007

Early in 2006, VW announced it was producing a new three-wheeler vehicle, the GX3 (shown in the video below).

By the end of 2006, VW had cancelled its plans for the GX3, disappointing many prospective customers.

Since we now live in a Web 2.0 world, where “Brand You” has power, a few of GX3s prospective customers banded together and created a new company, Defiant Motors.

Influx tracked down one of the founders, Aaron Mady, for a short interview.

1. What exactly is Defiant Motors?

Defiant Motors is a company formed to work with major automotive manufacturers
launch niche vehicles.  I suppose that’s our formal definition, but in a more
general sense we’re a group of automotive enthusiasts that hope to work with
Auto companies and encourage them to bring out interesting vehicles.

2. How do you help car manufacturers?

Most major car manufacturers these days seem to stifle innovation because
they are overly worried about lawsuits.  We hope to work with companies, having them produce a vehicle and badge it as a Defiant.  In this way they can continue to design and build interesting vehicles but we will be responsible for liability lawsuit claims and such.  Of course, the companies would still be liable for serious design or manufacturing defects, but we would take on most other responsibilities.

For example, the GX3 was initially canceled by VW because they do not produce motorcycles and were concerned that people would think it was a car and then sue them when someone was injured/killed due to it not having airbags and other standard car safety equipment.  We would be responsible for making sure customers understand that it is a motorcycle.

3. How do new technology and the Internet enable you to do what you do?

Without the Internet none of this would be possible.  Our total expenses at this point are the site hosting and domain registration fees, and for that we are able to get directly in touch with and build a list of potential customers.  We are also hoping that being able to present VW with a sizeable list of potential customers for the GX3 will increase the likelihood of a partnership with them and the GX3 going into production.

Without the internet we would have no easy way to get the word out on what we’re trying to do, much less an easy way for people to let us know
that they’re interested.

4. Do you believe concepts are supposed to be produced?

That is a bit of a difficult question.  Thinking about it, I’d say concept cars could probably broadly be divided into three different categories.  The first would be your next year model / close to completion vehicle, and will usually also be spotted outside of the show flow undergoing testing.  The Mitsubishi Concept X would be an example of this.  Second would be vehicles as an engineering showcase. 

Something like the Prodrive P2 comes to mind, where from the start they stated that it was not intended for production.  The third type would be the truly crazy concept vehicles, which may not even be running/working prototypes.  Any of the entries to the Peugeot Design Challenge would fit this category.

From what VW had previously stated, the GX3 appears to fall nicely in the first category even with its more radical design.  Obviously it depends on the vehicle whether it should be produced, but in general those in the first two categories are designed as if they are going to be made.  So in general I suppose that was a long way of saying yes.

5. Why Did You Pick On the Three-Wheeler from VW?

It was the vehicle that initially caught my eye as an automotive enthusiast, as I was hoping to purchase one myself before VW announced it as canceled.  I am also a big Lotus fan, and they were involved in helping tune the chassis for the GX3, which furthered my interest.

6. What about the Saab Aero?

If we are referring to the Aero-X concept revealed last year, I thought it was an interesting concept and loved the way the car opened up.  However, I feel that this falls more into the second category of concept cars.  I would also be more concerned about the potential mechanical problems that could arise from the door + windshield mechanism, and also making sure that everything sealed properly when closed.  I have, however, just seen pictures, so I am no expert on the vehicle.

However, if Defiant Motors were to be looking at a car, I believe we would be looking for something closer to the Lotus Elise, light and simple.

7. What Other Cancelled Concepts Do You Have You Eyes On?

The GX3 is currently the only one we are looking at.  If this goes well then we will definitely be watching auto shows for new and interesting concepts.  We also hope that if it does go well that it might encourage other manufacturers to approach us with interesting vehicles of their own.

8. Will you produce your own cars?

For the time being we intend to sell but not produce vehicles from major manufacturers.  Ideally long-term we would like to have our own vehicles, but not in the immediate future.

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