Car Manufacturer Turns to Crowd Funding for Investment Boost
Crowd-funding campaigns are usually seen as useful for inventors, entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to bypass the usual routes to success and use the power of the internet to generate cash to make their nascent products a reality...
Now British automaker Zenos is jumping on the crowd-funding bandwagon, having launched a campaign last week in order to push through its upcoming projects and deliver them earlier than originally anticipated, according to AutoCar.
Zenos has two new sports cars in the works, with the E11 and E12 designed to be more practical for everyday use than the track-focused E10 model which it initially offered. And to bring them off the drawing board and on to the roads of the UK, it is seeking £750,000 as part of a crowd-funding effort which will be combined with its own investments.
Within 72 hours of the campaign going live, the firm had managed to raise more than £102,000. And as with all good crowd-funding efforts, various rewards are on offer for those who are willing to commit their cash to the cause.
The minimum amount which can be paid is £10, but at the upper end of the scale is the £50,000 reward which will allow those who can afford it the opportunity to become part of the development team for the cars, having an influence over how they are designed and which features they offer.
Zenos spokesperson Mark Edwards said that while his firm has not previously dabbled in the world of crowd funding, it is clear that the early success of this campaign is an indication of just how powerful it can be as a tool for the automotive industry as a whole. In particular, it is the ability to interact with customers and involve them in the process of creating cars that excites Edwards and his counterparts.
He went on to say that if the funding target is met or indeed exceeded, then it seems likely that the firm will embrace the power of crowd investment further down the line when it is working on other vehicles to introduce in the UK.
While Zenos is still a small but growing name on the car market at the moment, it has been assisted in its growth thanks to collaborations with Ford, which currently supplies it with the engines that are found under the skin of the E10 R.
The bare-bones set-up of this model is fine for enthusiasts, who care more about speed and handling than comfort and interior technology. And Edwards promised that no matter how the funding progresses, the firm will still be choosing to make the E11 and E12 much more suitable for people who would prefer it if some creature comforts were present on board.
That is not to say that these new models will have lost their edge, as they need to remain exceptional performers in order to continue providing buyers with an alternative to models like the Lotus Elise and Exige. But as Edwards revealed during the announcement of these models earlier this year, Zenos is looking to expand its appeal beyond its core customer base.
The E11 is setting out to act as the kind of car that owners could use throughout the week without feeling restricted by its features. And since the E12 will take on a coupe design, introducing a hard top rather than the open-roofed approach of its siblings, it could be even more practical.
The ambitions of Zenos are not limited to these petrol-powered models, as Edwards has previously talked about the possibility of building hybrid and even full electric cars in the future. But for the time being, the E10’s successors will retain a traditional approach to power, even if they are being funded in a very forward-thinking manner.