Ford Motor Company (F) is acquiring scooter-sharing firm Spin in a deal said to be valued at $40 million, although the exact amount was not officially confirmed. Spin, which is based in San Francisco, offers dockless scooters on rent. Dockless scooters, as the name suggests, do not require designated parking spaces or docks.
This move is part of Ford’s efforts to reduce its dependency on its traditional business of car ownership and to diversify into new areas of transportation. Several car companies are exploring different trends such as autonomous driving, ride-sharing and micro-mobility services as the transportation industry continues to evolve.
Micro-mobility is a term for smaller transportation options such as bikes and scooters that are apt for short distance travel. The vast majority of trips made in the US are short-distance and this is pushing the demand for micro-mobility services and reducing the appeal of cars.
The mobility market is a large and fast-growing space and scooter start-ups like Bird and Lime are gaining in popularity, which is also leading to cities coming up with various regulations on scooter-sharing companies.
This acquisition will benefit both Ford and Spin as the latter can expand rapidly into many more regions with Ford’s help while Ford can diversify its services and enter a market that has huge potential.
Ford is not new to the mobility space. In January, the company acquired two firms, Autonomic and TransLoc, through its Smart Mobility subsidiary. Both companies provide technology that support transportation and mobility services.
Other car companies like General Motors (GM) and Tesla (TSLA) have also announced plans to develop and sell electric bikes. The automobile industry is undergoing significant shifts and car companies are investing in alternative transportation services in order to reduce reliance on traditional car production.
Ford’s stock was down 1.35% as of 2:35 pm ET.