The maneuvering in the digital space surrounding the automotive industry continues as Santa Monica-based Fair announced that it is acquiring the assets of Canvas, a fledgling vehicle subscription service and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ford Motor Credit Co.
Ford has said it’s all in on developing new forms of mobility to meet customer demand but subscription services that allow customers to borrow a car for limited periods at one price, which many observers think is potentially appealing way to utilize a vehicle, are proving tricky to manage. Terms of the sale are private.
Fair, which like Uber and Lyft is a smartphone-based platform, offers a way to get a car that responds the demand for more freedom by giving customers the ability to drive the car they want for as long as they want, Fair executives said. But also lets customers walk away any time, eliminating the long-term commitment of traditional financing or leasing.
The Fair app also allows customers to select a specific pre-owned vehicle and the number of miles they want to drive and track payments via their phone.
The acquisition of Canvas furthers Fair’s leadership position in the vehicle subscription category, enabling the company to continue to accelerate consumer adoption and expansion throughout the United States, Fair executives added.
“Canvas has built innovative subscription products that are relevant to consumers today, and like Fair, has opened up new ways for consumers to gain access to mobility,” said Georg Bauer, co-founder and chairman of Fair. “This acquisition underscores our shared commitment to providing consumers with the car they want on their own terms.”
Canvas was established in 2017 and since has provided vehicles for about 3,800 subscribers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas. Customers will have the opportunity to join Fair at the end of their current vehicle subscription. Fair and Canvas will provide more details to Canvas subscribers directly.
“Canvas built an impressive business and we learned a lot about subscription services, fleet management and the technology that underlies both,” said Sam Smith, executive vice president of Strategy and Future Products at Ford Credit. “We are proud of the work that was done in support of Canvas and we wish the entire team the best of luck.”
Fair went live in August and users can shop pre-owned cars by all-in monthly payments and sign for the one they want with their finger, driving it for as long as they’d like.
Since launching in 2017, Fair has experienced substantial growth, with more than 45,000 subscriptions. Fair is live in 30 markets and continues to expand its offering nationally.
“Canvas’ mission is to provide customers with flexible access to the vehicle of their choice for an affordable monthly payment,” said Ned Ryan, CEO of Canvas. “Our strong synergies with Fair make this a natural fit.”