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Honda revs up ride-sharing popularity with on-site activation at Austin festival

September 29, 2016

Honda will offer free rides to attendees of the festival in ACL-wrapped cars

Honda will offer free rides to attendees of the festival in ACL-wrapped cars

Honda is foraying into the ride-sharing business through a new partnership with Central Texas Honda Dealers and mobile application Ride Austin, offering free rides to attendees at this year’s Austin City Limits Festival.

The Hail a Honda promotion will let festivalgoers get free rides to and from the event in designated Honda vehicles for both weekends of the festival. The move is part of a larger willingness for auto manufacturers to embrace ride-sharing apps’ popularity, which has restructured the way many people think about car ownership.

A free ride
For two weekends, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 and Oct. 7 through Oct. 9, music lovers will converge on Zilker Park in Austin, Texas for the ACL Music Festival.

Ride Austin, a nonprofit ride-sharing service that launched in May of this year, has been servicing riders around the Austin area for the past few months. Honda will be joining forces with it, along with Central Texas Honda Dealers, to offer the Hail a Honda program.

The Austin City Limits Music Festival is held every year in Zilker Park

During the two weekends of the festival, attendees can request a ride through the Ride Austin app and receive a free lift from a Honda vehicle. The cars will be wrapped in ACL Festival advertisements, making them easy to spot when they pick up their customers.

The rides will last between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. They can be accessed from a special Honda at ACL Festival tab that will appear in the Ride Austin app for the duration of the festival.

In addition to free rides, the participating Hondas will also offer water and free bandanas. Each Honda can hold a maximum of four passengers.

The Hail a Honda campaign will serve as a way for Honda to show off some of its newest vehicles, including the Civic Hatchback and CR-V. It will also allow for the ACL Fest to promote itself and the performers.

Honda is also partnering with local Waterloo Records to host some of the performers who will sign autographs at a Honda-branded pop-up record store.

Deals on wheels
Honda is the latest company to leverage ride-sharing by offering discounted or free rides to consumers headed to a certain location or event.

Earlier this year, Boston-based Tasty Burger partnered with Fasten, another ride-sharing service, to offer discounted rides to people who were headed to a Tasty Burger location (see story).

The ACL-wrapped Honda that will be picking up festival attendees

The partnership works symbiotically, playing off the strengths of each company to enrich both. The ride-sharing service gets customers in its cars and raises its profile, while the accompanying brand gets customers to its locations cheaply.

The fact that Honda, an automotive manufacturer, is partnering with a ride-sharing service should not be surprising.

At this week’s MMA 2016 SM2 Innovation Summit, Tim Mahoney of General Motors spoke about the potential overlap between car manufacturers and ride-sharers, noting that the two need not be adversarial (see story).

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Danny Parisi is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach him at

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