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GM Launches Maven | DrivingSales News

GM Launches Car-Sharing Service Maven

January 21, 2016 0 Comments

 

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To meet the increasing demand for car-sharing, amid predictions that as many as 30 million people will use such services over the next decade, General Motors is launching Maven.

Initially, GM’s car-sharing service will only be available in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but the company says that it plans to expand the service to other cities in the coming months. Maven will provide vehicles in 21 locations around the city, which can be rented at a rate of $6-per-hour. And unlike services such as Zipcar and Car2Go, there is no membership fee associated with GM’s offering.

“What this is all about…is making sure that we can provide a service that’s completely seamless, completely connected, very easy to use, highly personalized, and a very efficient way to get around from A to B, from a car utilization perspective,” said GM President Dan Ammann.

A Maven vehicle can be accessed by a customer via their smartphone, with the added ability to turn the car on remotely as well as operate the heating and cooling systems. The fleet will be comprised of Chevy Spark models, and will eventually include Bolts when they are released later this year. The cars will feature 4G LTE connectivity and will be compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM. The intention, according to GM’s vice president for urban mobility, Julia Steyn, is to allow “the passenger and customer to feel like it’s your own vehicle.”

Although this may seem like an unconventional move for a traditional automaker, an increasing number of car companies are entering into the car-sharing and ride-sharing spaces. GM says that the launch of Maven illustrates the company’s intention to embrace these changes in transportation as opposed to fighting against them.

“Car-share [and] ride-share, in general, is much more an opportunity for General Motors than it is a threat,” said Ammann. “It’s already a sizable marketplace, and it’s growing quite rapidly.”

GM’s move into this area isn’t entirely new, as the company announced a program last October called “Let’s Drive NYC,” which provided residents of an apartment building in Manhattan with three hours of car-sharing per month. Additionally, the automaker announced last month that it was investing $500 million in ride-hailing company Lyft. The company plans to expand its residential car-sharing service to Chicago, as well as increasing the size of the Let’s Drive NYC program. Both of these initiatives will now exist under the Maven umbrella, and will be made available to 5,000 residents in both cities.

This announcement by GM signifies the major growth expectations for ride-sharing and car-sharing in the future. Ammann noted that cars belonging to a single person or family sit idle “95 percent to 96 percent of the time,” while vehicles that are shared are driven more frequently. This results in higher vehicle turnover, which presents an additional opportunity for GM and other automakers.

“The fundamental dis-economics, if you like, of the conventional owner-driver model is driving a lot of this change and is what creates the opportunity,” Ammann said.

Maven is just one of several building blocks that GM is developing to ensure its continued relevance as car-sharing and ride-sharing expands in the future. It will be very interesting to see if GM’s service will be able to take a significant portion of the market away from its direct competitors, such as Zipcar, RelayRide, and similar services that are provided by rental car companies such as Hertz.

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at news@drivingsales.com.

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