GM’s Maven lands in Uber’s backyard

GM’s car-sharing service, Maven, has launched in San Francisco as the fight for the future of personal transportation intensifies

  • By Callum Glennen | Friday, October 14th, 2016

The Cadillac Escalade, beloved of hip-hop stars young and old, faces a fight to remain relevant

General Motors has launched its car sharing service, called Maven, in San Francisco, as the carmaker continues to make efforts to remain relevant should vehicle ownership go into steep decline. The ongoing rollout of Maven is the latest in a series of decisions designed to keep its brands, including Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, relevant.

GM launched Maven in January this year, and has been gradually rolling out the service to a number of US cities, including Boston, Los Angeles and New York. Users can select a GM car, ranging from compacts like the Chevrolet Volt to large SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, for a short-term rental. Prices range from $8 per hour for small cars to $14 per hour for SUVs. Cars need to be picked up and dropped off at the same location, similar to services like ZipCar and Enterprise CarShare. As reported by Reuters, Maven is attempting to differentiate itself from these competitors by reducing the sign-up and approval process to just a few hours.

GM launched Maven in January, and has been rolling out the service to a number of US cities, including Boston, Los Angeles and New York

San Francisco will be a tough place to crack, as the city is the home of Uber and many other transportation companies keen to disrupt the ride-share industry. It’s a fight that traditional carmakers will have to win in order to remain relevant. A study completed by the University of Michigan this year found that the percentage of US citizens between the ages of 16 and 44 holding drivers licenses has consistently fallen since 1983, meaning many people are no longer seeing cars as a necessity.

Maven is likely only a smaller part of GM’s plans for the future of its business. At the beginning of this year, the company announced it would be investing $500m into ride-sharing service Lyft and purchased what remained of Sidecar, a failed ride-share company. Developing a self-driving car is also clearly a priority, with GM acquiring Cruise Automation in March. Seeing a shift away from private car ownership, GM is clearly interested in finding an alternative to just selling vehicles.