Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Ford Battles Uber, Lyft with Car-Sharing Service

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Ford Battles Uber, Lyft with Car-Sharing Service

Article excerpt

Ford Motor Co. is testing a car-sharing program that helps people rent out autos they purchased from the automaker to prescreened customers as a way to defray the cost of maintaining a vehicle.

The test is acknowledgment by the automaker that the rise of ride- sharing services Uber, Lyft and Zipcar are starting to change how people access automotive transportation, sometimes giving up car ownership.

"Our vision today is to expand that same thinking using advanced technology and new business models, and addressing the mobility challenges people face around the world," said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Henry Ford's great-grandson.

The "Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing" test targets Ford customers in six U.S. cities -- Berkeley, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; Chicago; and Washington, D.C. -- and in London. It runs through November.

Ford Credit is inviting 14,000 customers in the U.S. and 12,000 in London to sign up to rent vehicles to pre-screened drivers for short-term use. U.S. customers participate through software provided by ride-share company Getaround. London drivers will connect through easyCar Club. Only people who financed their cars through Ford's credit arm will be invited.

Getaround will recommend the rental rate based on the make, model and location of the vehicle, but owners can set their own price. Rates are typically $7 to $12 an hour and include customer support and roadside assistance.

Getaround provides the digital platform, collects the funds, takes a 40 percent cut and then pays the vehicle owner. It also screens the drivers to ensure they have a safe driving record.

"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.

"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."

Ford cited a study from the Penn Schoen Berland research firm that indicates there's interest in such a service. …

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