Ford has invested Rs 160 crore (24 million USD) in Bengaluru-based self-driving rental company Zoomcar and has acquired an 11 per cent share of the same. The investment, made by Ford Smart Mobility, is in line with their global plan to become a comprehensive mobility solutions provider.
For Ford India this is a massive step forward as it will ensure that they have constant sales of all their models as the vehicle will keep circulating in the Zoomcar fleet. Currently Zoomcar’s associate programme only permits brand new cars to be included and that too for a maximum period of 30 months.
Ford India currently has a presence in the Zoomcar range with the 1st gen Figo and the EcoSport. This deal should now see the introduction of the new Figo hatchback, Aspire compact sedan as well the Endeavour in the SUV range. In the case of the last one it will compete with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Mahindra XUV500. In the US, for many years Ford has been partnering with Hertz car rentals to offer a specialised Mustang as a part of its fleet. Possibly, we could see such a deal here too, though the rental charges will (obviously) be much higher and with a lot more riders in the contract.
The investment by Ford also fits in line with Zoomcar’s plans to move from an inventory-based service to one where the assets (vehicles) are sourced and maintained externally. It has even introduced an associate programme whereby people can register their personal vehicles into the Zoom fleet and let it be used on rent. Ford had announced during the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, earlier this year, that it had been conducting a smart mobility experiment with Zoomcar to explore the concept of car sharing in India and this looks like the next step forward.