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Ford rents out your ride in new peer-to-peer car rental scheme

Ford owners in London, Portland, Chicago, Washington and the Bay Area will be able to rent their cars to other drivers.

We doubt anyone will want to rent out their Ford GT, but you can dream.

Josh Miller / CNET

Got your eye on your neighbour's new Ford? You may be able to take it for a spin thanks to a new program that allows car owners to rent out their vehicle in London and six cities in the US.

To set up the six-month pilot scheme, Ford's financial services arm Ford Motor Credit Company has done deals with car-sharing services Getaround in the US and easyCar Club in the UK.

The trial sees Ford become the latest major car manufacturer to experiment with the "sharing economy". Other manufacturers such as Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen have shown an interest in conventional car-rental services like car2go, DriveNow and Greenwheels, and Ford last month announced GoDrive.

The difference with today's Ford scheme is that it's peer-to-peer, like rival RelayRides, putting renters into privately owned cars belonging to regular folks rather than drawing from a fleet of dedicated hire cars. You can already rent out your home when you're not using it with AirBnB, so why not your car too?

Ford's peer-to-peer car hire scheme will be available in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and Washington as well as the UK capital. Prospective customers rent the car through the Getaround or easyCar Club website or app, but they need to be screened and approved before they can proceed.

If you're in need of a car, you go online to book one nearby, then collect the keys either from the owner or from a safe. Unlike, say, ZipCar, which is flexible about where you return the car, you have to drop the car back to the same location when you're done.

14,000 drivers will be recruited in the US, with 12,000 customers to be enlisted in London. If you bought your car through Ford Credit and you're in London, you can register now on the easyCar Club website. If you're interested, you have until 1 August to sign up. The US scheme runs through November.