Starting September 13, Ford will launch The People's Fleet, loaning 12 Ford Fiestas to 12 nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles. The goal is to provide a platform for Ford to get the word out about a dozen groups doing good while helping these groups save money and solve their transportation issues (and yes, gas cards will also be provided!). Like their Ford Fiesta Movement that gave 100 brand-new cars to artists, entrepreneurs and social media mavens, the program has a creative component: A team of "storytellers" will ride along with the groups with video cameras to document the do-gooding.
It's a great idea but I hope that Ford is thinking beyond the eight-week pilot program. Rather than take the cars to another city as part of a campaign, Ford might work to establish a useful city-wide system where organizations working towards social change could share a fleet of cars with each other. There's a disappointing lack of car-sharing programs in L.A., with only two small nodes clustered around USC and UCLA—in fact, a new report by the city released yesterday recommended that companies like ZipCar add more stations to better serve the growing car-free population. If Ford stepped in, they could use the model of these non-profits to show other startups that sharing cars is a smart and sustainable solution for businesses.
If you're part of an organization based in L.A. that could use another set of wheels, register over at The People's Fleet site. And be sure to check the site for updates on which groups have Ford Fiestas in their future.