Local News

If You Don't Mind The Look, A Free Car Could Be Yours

Posted August 16, 2001 9:46 a.m. EDT

— Many people who drive cars say they have found a great way to save money. They can own a brand new car with no monthly payments and no loans, but they are attracting a lot more attention.

It is hard to miss Lucy Gardner's new company car.

"I've heard it described anything from a billboard to a race car," she says. "If you turned a corner, people would look and their head would just turn all the way around."

Gardner, a nurse with Interim Healthcare, spends a lot of time on the road making home health visits. She would use her own car to conduct her work before she received her unique set of wheels.

"[I put] close to 300 miles around a week and that puts a lot of miles on a '97 vehicle, and I drove 85,000 miles in three years," she says.

John Morris, the owner of Interim Healthcare, bought the cars from a company called


. They offered him a very distinct way of advertising. He, in turn, can offer his nurses a new company car or one they can own for free.

The catch is they have to drive it around town.

"The people who were, 'Oh, my God, people are looking at me,' are now like, 'Hey, this is cool," he says.

FreeCar also offers new cars to people even if they do not work for the advertiser. Companies fill out forms with specified demographics including target age, city and the income level of the people they want to reach.

They will match that information with a driver. Each car also has a global positioning system, so they can keep track of how many people are looking.

Gardner says she has learned to enjoy all of the extra attention.

"I like it. I like the way people look at you. It's sort of notoriety," she says.

FreeCar has four clients in North Carolina, 400 nationwide. They are looking for more people to sign up -- both businesses and drivers. FreeCar runs motor vehicle reports on all drivers to make sure they have clean records.

The cars can be leased anywhere from three months to two years. Interim Healthcare has their nurses drive the cars for two years with the advertisement on it. After that, they can take it off if they want.