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Ford and Vauxhall in talks to provide consumers with 'free' cars

Ford and Vauxhall are in talks with a media executive on a deal that would provide consumers with cars at no cost in a new scheme to be brought to the UK from the US. While free to use, the cars will, however, be covered in advertisements.

Carl Tooney, chief executive of CT Media Group, plans to establish a “multi-million pound” operation under the name Adcars.

Mr Tooney said: “Why shouldn't someone who has never had the opportunity to buy a new car be given the opportunity to drive one? This has never been done before in Europe, but it has proved successful in the States.

“It is a cost-effective, of course to the driver, but also to the advertiser who gets the maximum long-term exposure they need.” The cost of the car would be covered by the ad revenue.

Those using Adcars' vehicles would not have to pay either road tax or benefit-in-kind tax, Mr Tooney said.

He is looking to grow the business slowly, starting with about 10 cars per advertiser to reach 1,000 cars in operation within a year. They will be available to the consumer on two or three year replacement cycles. Adcars would take the cars back and respray them. How the cars would be disposed of has yet to be decided.

Mr Tooney stressed that drivers would have to undergo a rigorous questionnaire before being given a 'free' car.

“You will need more than a clean driving licence. Drivers will need to meet certain demographic criteria, particularly on where you live, so that the advertiser is satisfied they are getting the exposure they need,” Mr Tooney said.

While in talks with Ford, Vauxhall and another unnamed manufacturer, Mr Tooney is still considering the best source for the cars on the scheme and wants to hear from manufacturers, dealers and other suppliers on potential supply and finance arrangements.

Mr Tooney can be contacted at carl@ctmedia.co.uk.

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