In April, Ford launched its Credit Link program as a pilot in Austin, which allows up to six people to share a single vehicle using an app to manage payments and availability — basically, a private Zipcar for you and a few friends. Sounds useful enough for young urban dwellers who only occasionally drive, right? There's only one problem: not a single person has signed up for it. "We are still seeing a good flow of traffic to the website but we don't have any customers signed up at this point," a Ford Credit spokesperson told Automotive News, saying that they're now in the process of promoting it more aggressively.
The three local dealers involved in the Credit Link pilot seem to have different takes on how and why Credit Link hasn't gotten any bites; one suggests it could be more successful in "a metro city," while another says that they deal with individuals buying cars, not big groups. (And in fairness, that is probably the typical situation for most dealerships — no one walks into a showroom floor with a group of friends expecting to share a lease, in part because the concept is new.)
Alternative car use and ownership models — "mobility programs," as they're often called — are a huge push in the auto industry right now, particularly with Ford, GM, and Volkswagen, all of which have spent large amounts of money developing and promoting things like car- and ride-sharing programs. It's far too early to call Credit Link a failure — but as the age of the self-driving cab approaches, it makes you wonder just how ready Americans are to give up their own cars.