Things we like: Ford Credit Link

Ford Credit Link is much more than fancy financing. The automaker is tapping into the Sharing Economy with an app that allows up to six co-lessees to “share responsibility among friends, colleagues or family”, sharing the lease cost, reserving the car, and splitting the payment among the group. (Hat tip to Springwise for writing about the service, only available in Austin as of now.)

Don't look past these interesting pieces of the program:

  1. They focus on more than collecting payment The app provides tools to manage the asset's use among the group members. A few nifty features include scheduling drive times, keeping tabs on vehicle maintenance, and tracking the car's location. Imagine when the vehicles are self-driving and can come to you (see Tesla's summons feature)!

  2. They pitched it to an insurance partner and launched promoting them Although they say insurance can theoretically come from any provider, according to the site, “Ford Credit has verified that Liberty Mutual offers insurance for Ford Credit Link subject to underwriting guidelines and criteria.” Ford knew this was a new approach, and didn't assume insurers' existing guidelines would cover the model.

  3. They cover the payments and responsibility in plain language, leaving the group to make the best decisions. That's got to be the first question anyone considering jumping in with a group of people would be asking, right? The group has the authority to make the decision on how it's split. Also, if a group member fails to make a payment on time, "Ford Credit will leave the decision to your group to decide who from your group pays the late fee or if you will be splitting the late fee." (Side note: I'm sure the legalese on the lease agreement is appropriately dense, but that doesn't mean their website language has to be. I like the approach.)

Consumer trends toward collaborative consumption will shift borrowers away from banks and credit unions and their traditional lending approaches. How many borrowers and how quickly they move is yet to be seen, but Ford and BMW/MINI (see their CarSharing program) can't be the only automakers (… or boat manufacturers… or home-builders) thinking about how they fit into the Sharing Economy and how to get there first.