Nancy in my office forwarded me an issue from “Drive In Newsletter” that documents ways the auto industry is embracing the ride sharing economy. What struck me is how Ford and General Motors are experimenting with selling cars to groups of people, which will obviously hurt individual car sales.
General Motors announced Maven in January. It’s a car sharing service that rents vehicles for $6 an hour. Unlike Car2Go, ZipCar, etc, there are no membership fees. Maven is currently available in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a pilot test. It sounds like GM plans to roll Maven out to more cities by the end of the year.
Ford announced Ford Credit Link in February. It’s a new car ownership program that allows three to six people to split a lease on a car as a group. It’s kind of like the family plans many cell phone carriers offer. At the heart of the program is an app that allows the group to coordinate when they’ll each use the car, payments, and maintenance. Credit Link is currently available through dealerships in Austin, Texas.
I think these are just two more data points that prove there is significant experimentation happening with car ownership and the sharing economy. The big auto manufacturers are trying to figure out how to keep their piece of the pie, even as the size of the pie may be shrinking.
The takeaway for our industry, or actually a question, how are we preparing for a reduction in vehicles and just maybe a long term decline in vehicle miles traveled?