COLOGNE, Germany — Ford Motor Co. is launching FORD2GO, the first automotive manufacturer-backed, nationwide car sharing program in Europe to incorporate dealerships. FORD2GO was formed following a partnership among Ford of Germany, the German Ford dealers association FHD GmbH, and DB Rent GmbH – the company behind Flinkster car sharing.
The program calls for participating Ford dealers across Germany to offer cars and service to customers in their town, allowing easy access to shared cars and offering the chance for potential customers to experience Ford vehicles. Car sharing was one of the various elements highlighted by Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford during a keynote address on the future of mobility at the February 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. As outlined in the company’s Blueprint for Mobility, dealing with growing congestion and environmental concerns will require the development of a true network of mobility solutions, with personal vehicle ownership complemented by greater use of connected and efficient shared services, and completely new business models contributing to improved personal mobility.
More than half of Europeans would consider car sharing, either through a formal program or through private arrangements, a Ford Motor Co.-sponsored poll shows. Drivers increasingly see car sharing programs as a viable option, particularly in dense urban areas where parking can be problematic, and public transit can meet many, but not all transportation needs. Ready and affordable access to a pool of available vehicles can provide on-demand transportation flexibility. The company revealed the survey findings as Ford of Germany this week launched FORD2GO.
“Ford understands that for some of our customers – as this survey shows – car sharing is an attractive option,” Bernhard Mattes, chairman of Ford of Germany and vice president, Ford Customer Service Division, Ford of Europe, said. “As a company, we are committed to a collaborative and integrated approach to future mobility and the FORD2GO service is another significant step in exploring exactly how that future could look.”
The Futures Co., a leading consulting firm, conducted the survey to better understand the opinions and attitudes of Europeans across a range of mobility issues – from car sharing to green driving to the future of the internal combustion engine. Of the 56 percent surveyed who said they would consider car sharing, 27 percent would be most attracted by reduced travel costs, 26 percent by convenience of location and operating hours, 23 percent by a straightforward booking system, and 22 percent by a reduced impact on the environment.
DB Rent has developed a Web-based booking system along with iOS and Android smartphone apps for private and commercial customers participating in the Ford car sharing program. FORD2GO will be rolled out throughout the coming year. Ford’s German trade network includes 527 Ford dealers, 257 affiliated branches and 1,083 Ford-authorized repair shops – any and all of which would be able to take part in the program.
* Survey carried out by The Futures Co., between July and August 2012. 6,028 people were questioned across six European countries; Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K