Would you rent out your vehicle to strangers to help cover ownership costs? Ford is betting that you will as it enters the fast-moving, ride-sharing boom.
Under a pilot program launching in six U.S. cities and London, customers who finance their vehicles through Ford Motor Credit will be able to rent their vehicle to pre-screened drivers for short-term use. That would help reduce the vehicle owner’s monthly vehicle ownership costs.
Ford’s “Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing” program is inviting 14,000 and 12,000 customers in Chicago, Washington D.C., Portland, Oregon and California locations, including Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco, and London to take part. U.S. customers participate through the Web-based, mobile-friendly software of ride-share company Getaround, while London drivers connect through a similar rental system of easyCar Club.
“Consumers tell us they are interested in sharing the costs of vehicle ownership, and this program will help us understand how much that extends to customers who are financing a Ford vehicle,” said David McClelland, Ford Credit vice president of marketing, in a statement. “As most vehicles are parked and out of use much of the time, this can help us gauge our customers’ desires to pick up extra cash and keep their vehicles in use.”
The ride-sharing industry is growing rapidly via Uber and Lyft, but more traditional auto companies are getting on board. Avis spent $491 million two years ago to acquire Zipcar to fill srong demand for short-term car rentals in U.S. cities. Enterprise runs CarShare and Daimler AG runs Car2Go in several European and U.S. cities.