Ford wants customers to rent their cars to other people

Ford Fiesta

Although Ford's main business is selling cars, it also operates a number of other services that help people do more with them. It's app-based GoDrive service already allows Brits to rent a car on a pay-as-you-go basis, but now it's experimenting with letting its US and UK customers rent their own vehicles out to other people and offset the money against their car payments. Today, it's inviting 12,000 Londoners and a further 14,000 US customers from Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and Washington D.C. to join its new scheme.

In the UK, Ford has teamed up with easyCar Club, a sister company of budget airline easyJet, to provide on-demand cars for younger drivers. In the US, Getaround will do the heavy lifting. Like Airbnb, renters can search for a nearby car, book online and then collect the keys from the owner (either in person or from a safe), earning them some extra money in the process. After all, owning a car in a city can be expensive, which is why sharing services have boomed in recent years. Ford says customers who have credit agreements with the company (not people who own their car outright) can enroll for the six-month pilot from today, with signups closing on August 1st. However, it remains to be seen whether customers will feel comfortable handing over their keys to a complete stranger.