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Ford2Go – car club schemes adapting to customer needs?

Ford 2go

At the beginning of March, Ford announced a new cooperation with Deutsche Bahn (German railway company) and with the Ford Händler Dienstleistungsgesellschaft mbH (Ford dealer service corporation) launching the German-wide car sharing platform Ford2Go in the second quarter of 2013. One of the main advantages for Ford2Go customers is the fact that their registration card can also be used for Flinkster, the Deutsche Bahn car sharing platform. This allows Ford, in contrast to all other vehicle manufacturers so far, to start off with a wide-spread network of stations and cars in nearly every bigger city in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, a feature which small local car sharing operators often leak. In Germany, Flinkster currently runs 2,800 vehicles at 800 stations in 140 cities.

The German car sharing association had just stated at the end of February, that more and more people are disposing their car in order to swap to car sharing. But, car sharing schemes still vary much and each platform brings its own advantages and disadvantages. Some for example allow one-way-trips and others don’t, distance and time fees are nearly always calculated differently and the registration process and usage differ as well. When living in bigger cities like Berlin or Frankfurt, wanting to use different offers in order to maximise flexibility, consumers often find their wallets becoming thicker with registration cards and their brains hotter with all sorts of codes to remember. One of the reasons for which Ford2Go sounds promising to customers who want a simple solution for their daily mobility needs.

Apart from Flinkster, the Ford dealers are also strongly integrated as they provide and service the vehicles, a model still rarely found in Germany. Will there be stronger cooperation with the dealers in the future? How will the profit distribution look like?

Ford2Go as a name might seem uninspired at first glance. Or is it another indicator (apart from consumer feedback) that car clubs need an integrated mobility model in order to suit customer needs properly? But who will then be the integrator? These and other questions related to the topic will be discussed at ICDP's Mobility Workshop ‘A tale of three cities’ on 17th April in Frankfurt, Germany where the results of an analysis of the three commercial models in Berlin, Paris and London will be presented.  For additional information and to book a place at the workshop (for members only), please click here.  Non-members who are interested in joining the workshop should contact the ICDP Project Office.

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Written by Gabriel Marks

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