By starting its own brand, General Motors is aiming to become an important player in car ride-sharing services and also to compete with Uber.
General Motors has aimed its focus on the car-sharing business lately. After the 500-million-dollar investment in Lyft – an Uber rival -and the assets acquisition of the recently defunct Sidecar Technologies company, the automaker takes now the next step into its expansion plan in car-sharing services, by introducing its own brand called Maven. The global Maven team includes more than 40 dedicated employees from the connected car technology industry, as well as ride- and car-sharing professionals from Google, Zipcar and Sidecar, GM said in a statement. Starting this week, Maven is expanding its offerings in multiple cities and communities across the US, with services being customized to regional customer needs and include city, residential, peer-to-peer and campus programs.
The automaker will start in Ann Arbor, Michigan, offering rentals of a Chevrolet Volt or Spark for $6 an hour, initially focusing on serving faculty and students at the University of Michigan. In the first quarter of 2016, Maven will launch car-sharing services for Chicago residents in partnership with Magellan Development Group and also plans to expand the program in New York City (previously called Let’s Drive NYC) with Stonehenge Partners, both programs combined offering service to more than 5,000 residents. All the cars will have GM’s OnStar and connect to smartphone applications like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When someone rents one of GM’s cars, they will be able to use their phone to unlock the car and set their own preferences. The automaker has already started a pilot program in New York involving one residential building, charging $9 an hour.
“With more than 25 million customers around the world projected to use some form of shared mobility by 2020, Maven is a key element of our strategy to changing ownership models in the automotive industry,” Julia Steyn, GM vice president, Urban Mobility Programs, said.