Ford didn’t have anything as ambitious as the new GT at last week’s Detroit Auto Show (those only come around every decade at most), but the automaker did have a lot of talk about “mobility” and new approaches to car ownership and getting around. And if you live in Austin, Texas, soon you’ll be able to “share” a lease with other people.
The program is called Ford Credit Link, starting in February it will begin at three Austin dealerships—Covert Ford, Leif Johnson Ford and Maxwell Ford. Under the program, groups of three to six people will lease the same car for up to 24 months. Ford said it’s an ideal program for college kids, neighbors, occasional pickup truck users, or city-dwelling friends who only need a car sometimes.
Before we proceed any further, if anyone else in Austin wants to go one-third to one-sixth on a Shelby GT350R, please email me immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have excellent credit and a driving record that’s... well, let’s not let a great idea get bogged down in minor details!
Anyway, Ford’s program is an interesting one that bridges the gap between individual car ownership and ride-sharing services like Car2Go or Zipcar. Those are great in theory, but they can prove costly if you use them often or for long periods, and sometimes they don’t have the cars you need at the times you need them.
Ford says that groups can reserve time with the cars, check their vehicle status and make payments all through a smartphone app. It’s up to the group how much each user pays, and users can come and go as they please.
Austin is an interesting city to try this in. It’s full of young people who are willing to try new things, but it is also very car-dependent; we lack an extensive public transit system, and the city isn’t especially walkable unless you live in its increasingly expensive downtown area. I could especially see this being useful for small business owners in need of a pickup truck.
We could see this program in other cities if it goes well. Now, about that GT350R...
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