Ford / Driving Together
This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world
Auto brand launches private car-sharing pilot
Ford is creating a programme to allow friends, neighbours and family members to jointly lease a car together.
Ford Credit Link, which will launch as a pilot in Austin, Texas next month, will allow three to six people to share a Ford vehicle. The programme will work with a smartphone app to allow users to view the vehicle’s schedule. Group members will be able to use the app to book future driving times or borrow the car right away with a Quick Drive function. While the car’s location will not be shared when the vehicle is in use, once a driver’s reservation time is up the app will reveal where the car is parked. Drivers will also be able to monitor the car’s health through the app, as well as make payments on their lease and review the group’s payment history.
The Ford Credit Link programme will only be available at select Austin dealerships as part of a 24-month lease.
‘People already are sharing everything – from books to homes,’ said David McClelland, Ford Credit executive vice president, marketing and sales. ‘We’re seeing the potential for a shift from a single consumer paying for a single vehicle to several people sharing costs and benefits. Ford Credit Link makes Ford vehicles more readily available to people who may not want or need their own vehicle but have mobility requirements that must be met.’
Contagious Insight /
Mobility first / Ford’s lease-sharing programme fits in with its company-wide focus on re-thinking new models for mobility instead of simply releasing new vehicles. The brand’s upcoming FordPass system, a convenience-led platform that it has positioned as a ‘iTunes for cars’, is another example of Ford’s new emphasis on building connected relationships with its customers.
Instead of burying its head in the sand and ignoring the rise of ride-sharing programmes like Lyft or Uber and the decline of car-ownership in the US, Ford is investing in its own solutions. What’s noteworthy about the Ford Credit Link programme is that it revolves around the Ford brand. Ford has realised that while fewer people might to buy a new car or need access to a car every day, they still have transportation needs and this solution still encourages people to lease a Ford car to meet those needs.
Ford imagines that its system will be used by neighbours, co-workers, college-students, large households or friends. The brand also imagines that the system could be useful for people who have intermittent need for a special use vehicle like a pickup truck. The key is that these lease-holders are what Ford calls ‘hyperlocal’ meaning that they live in the same building or at least neighbourhood to make sharing a car worthwhile.
Location, location, location / Ford has been smart to think strategically about the ideal location for its pilot as its success will determine whether the programme is rolled out on a wider scale. As Ford states, Austin is an ideal place for the brand to test the system as it has effective public transportation in the form of buses and trains. This is important as a ride-sharing solution can only be effective if users have an alternative to getting around if their car is unavailable.
This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.