Ford Motor Credit in the U.K. is offering its 12,000 London customers a car-share pilot program that allows them to rent their vehicles to other drivers.
The company says the peer-to-peer scheme will provide extra income to owners and, for pre-screened renters, a convenient, cost-effective way to rent a vehicle.
Ford Credit customers in London can enroll to participate in the 6-month program on the easyCar Club website until Aug. 1.
The easyCar Club has more than 15,000 members and more than 1,500 vehicles on its books.
Another 14,000 retail customers in the U.S. also will be able to join car-share programs, Ford Credit says.
Ford Credit is exploring how innovations in vehicle financing could help create a convenient, high-value service to meet the changing demands of today’s younger drivers.
In the U.K., the company is working with easyCar Club in London. Renters search the easyCar Club website for a nearby car and book online. Keys are collected from the owner or are accessed from a safe, and renters return the car to the pickup location.
Ford says surveys show that Millennials – those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s – are open to car-sharing opportunities that can save them money and use resources more efficiently.
“There is consumer interest in sharing the cost of vehicle ownership, and this program will help us understand to what extent that interest extends to customers who are financing a Ford vehicle,” David McClelland, vice president-Ford Credit Marketing, says in a statement.
“Realistically, most vehicles are parked and out of use much of the time. This pilot will help us gauge our customers’ desire to pick up extra cash and keep their vehicles in use.”
Ford recently announced it will be making its London-based GoDrive car-sharing service available to the public. The service offers flexible and affordable access to a fleet of cars for one-way journeys with easy parking throughout the city.
The London operation is one of several Ford car-sharing experiments under the Ford Smart Mobility program. It includes car-sharing experiments in Germany, India and the U.S. that will help the automaker determine how to best serve global customers as they face new mobility options in the future.
Ford Carsharing Germany is the first manufacturer-backed, nationwide car-sharing program incorporating dealerships. It has run for two years and recently expanded to 40 dealers in 67 cities with 135 locations. In partnership with car-sharing company Flinkster, the service allows Ford Carsharing customers to use about 3,600 Flinkster vehicles. In turn, Flinkster’s 270,000 customers can use the Ford fleet.
Share-Car in Bangalore, India, sees Ford working with Zoomcar to test a concept allowing small groups, such as co-workers, apartment dwellers and families, to share a vehicle among multiple drivers. The approach helps consumers who can’t afford a car but want the benefits of owning one. The program is expected to expand to two more communities later this year.
Dynamic Shuttle in New York has Ford exploring a shareable service that will offer point-to-point pickup and dropoff on demand. The experiment aims to better understand the social dynamics and routing requirements of shared transportation for city dwellers.