GM’s new launch, Maven, to pioneer car-sharing facilities with a $6 per-hour rate
Last Thursday, General Motors announced the launch of Maven, its personal 'software for connecting vehicle drivers and passengers and for coordinating transportation services." With this move, the company is geared to position itself for the car-sharing and ride-sharing services that are going to explode into the market very soon.
"We see the emergence of car-share/ride-share as much more of an opportunity than it is a threat," said GM's President Don Ammann, as per Business Insider. He explains that the company is moving with the shift in the mindset of people. While there are many who like to own a car, there is a section who finds car-sharing services to be much more convenient. GM'S Maven is launched to cater to that very section. At this time, as many as 5-6 million people share transportation all over the world. This is expected to grow to around 30 million over the next decade.
The plan is to provide cars by the hour or for days. The process is as easy as reserving a car by location via an app and unlocking the vehicle through the same app. Cooling and heating can be controlled the same way. The in-built 4G LTE connectivity will provide easy access to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM. Insurance and fuel would be included in the pricing. A company credit card will be left in the car, to fill up the tank every time the gas indicator swings down.
The no-membership feature, along with a $6 per-hour rate, is expected to make this endeavor more popular than its competitors, ZipCar and Car2Go.
The automobile giant has currently limited Maven services to Michigan's Ann Arbor area. According to The Detroit News, GM'S Vice President Julia Steyn, who's leading Maven, says that the service is now in a pilot phase catering to a small section within the Michigan campus area, but will soon be rolled out to the public in the coming weeks. Later in 2016, the service is expected to run full-fledged in several major US states. Additionally, in keeping with its current goals, Maven has identified 21 parking lots as their rental locations.
The Verge revealed that GM has been planning this aggressive move for quite sometime now. Last October it initiated a 'Let's Drive NYC' campaign, in which residents of one apartment were offered 3 hours of car-sharing per month. This initiative, along with plans of expansion of car-sharing services in Chicago, has now been taken under the Maven program, which will cater to almost 5000 people in both cities.
GM certainly seems to have bounced back from being on the verge of bankruptcy. Its intention of gaining a competitive edge with the Maven launch is pretty clear. At the same time, the company has further secured its footing with a $500 million investment in Lyft coupled with buying out the assets of SideCar.