FOCUS ON SHARING: Ford will implement a car-sharing platform in certain US cities in an attempt to reach milliennials needs. Image: Ford
NEW YORK - Ford is following the ride-sharing craze by launching a pilot programme in six US cities and across the Atlantic in London, England.
Customers who use Ford Motor Credit to finance their mobility will be able to rent their vehicle to pre-screened drivers for short-term use, helping to defray some monthly vehicle ownership costs.
David McClelland, Ford Credit vice-president of marketing, said in a written statement: "As most vehicles are parked and out of use much of the time this can help us to gauge our customers' desire to pick up extra cash and keep their vehicles in use."
The move is an attempt to better engage with Millennial or Generation Y customers whose beliefs about carpooling are stronger than any other generation. Milliennials, adults born between 1983 and 2000 are also more open to supplementing their income by renting their possessions, like cars and clothes.
14 000 CUSTOMERS INVITED
Ford said 14 000 customers in the US would be invited to participate along with 12 000 in London. American customers will take part through a ride-share company called Getaround; those in London will use easyCar Club and the scheme is being offered through November 2015 to Ford Credit customers in Chicago, Washington DC, Portland, Oregon and cities in California, among them Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco.
The ride-sharing industry, Ford says, is showing strong growth and other auto companies are clamouring to get aboard.
Read: What is Uber doing to SA's cab industry?
Avis spent the equivalent of R5.9-billion in 2013 to buy Zipcar to tap strong demand for short-term car rentals in urban areas. Enterprise runs CarShare and Daimler AG runs Car2Go in a number of European and US cities.
The number of users has doubled over six years, according to the Transportation Sustainability Research Centre at the University of California. While it's tiny against the accepted vehicle rental trade, annual revenue has reached the equivalent of about R4.8-billion, researchers found.
Ford also has a new electric bicycle, the MoDe: Flex. It's the automaker's third eBike after the MoDe:Me and MoDe: Pro that launched in March 2015.