By on February 12, 2017

MAVEN APP

While Ford is currently the domestic automaker making the biggest push into in mobility services — which seem to entail practically anything outside of traditional manufacturing and distribution — it isn’t the only company preparing itself for an era of declining vehicle ownership. FCA has partnered with Waymo to develop a fleet of self-driving Pacificas and General Motors has a personal mobility brand, called Maven, that acts as a car-sharing service.

While it isn’t quite so technologically advanced as autonomous vehicles or automotive A.I., Maven provides additional revenue immediately and furnishes GM with a unique opportunity to cope with some of the ownership problems of tomorrow. Car-sharing is good way for GM to profit from people who don’t own cars, but it’s also a clever method of getting young urban drivers to spend money on becoming more familiar with their product — especially on the coasts where import brands tend to outsell their domestic counterparts.

“[Maven] left me with a much better impression of GM cars,” Parker Day told Automotive News. “I had never really thought that much about GM cars, or really American cars. But it seems like they’ve gotten much better. They drive nice, they have heated seats and they get good gas mileage.”

Day is a 28-year-old technology consultant in San Francisco who may someday need to own a car, and GM wants it to be one from its fleet. Using the service has allowed him to spend time with the Cruze and Malibu in what is essentially a series of extended test drives.

Julia Steyn, Maven’s head officer, said she’s running a profitable business operation but is also aware that a large portion of the service is the potential to steer customers toward dealerships. “This is additive to the core business. The whole company is now looking at this as a portfolio of opportunities to provide our customers,” Steyn told Automotive News at last month’s Detroit auto show. “If Maven customers are at the stage when they would like to buy a vehicle, we definitely have an opportunity to help them with that.”

Maven’s membership is a far cry away form the typical GM customer of today. Steyn claimed that 78 percent are between ages 18 and 36. The average user is 30 and possesses plenty of disposable income. Launched just over a year ago, the car-sharing service has drawn in 23,000 users and expanded to 17 North American markets.

With that success in mind, Cadillac also tried its hand at a premium vehicle subscription service that it calls “Book.” However, that project has gotten off to rocky start and received some fairly harsh criticism.

[Image: General Motors]

 

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34 Comments on “GM’s Maven is a Sneaky way to get Urban Millennials to try the Company’s Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    nickoo

    I always have to laugh at the lengths that marketing goes to in order to sell what is clearly substandard product. Chevy commercials with the focus groups are incredibly bad. As bad as those old 1960s coffee blind taste test commercials. It’s all about the product, that is where Chevy largely fails.

    Chevy in particular, not to mention Buick or Cadillac, is putting out horrid sedans right now. Each one of them grosser than the last. The Impala might be ok if they dropped the 2.5L 4 cylinder model…Even the lowly Charger SE starts with a near 300 hp v6, 8 speeds, and RWD.

    Cruze design, worst than the pre-refreshed model, also super weird cuv like seating position.

    Spark, horrid little S*** box with terrible interior.

    Sonic sedan, looks like a ’49 ford shoebox, and not in the good way. Hatch is o.k. but rare in my neck of the woods, not sure its selling all that well, especially compared to fiesta or fit.

    Volt gen II, the exterior styling was a huge step backwards.

    Malibu, I don’t get it, the ugly as sin front end, combined with the horrid steering wheel push buttons doesn’t do it for me.

    • 0 avatar
      CarDesigner

      If they are SO bad, what do you or Jesus drive?

      Whose ax are you grinding?

      Maven is probably a good fit for high density cities on the coasts, less so in-between. It seems well thought out, but a bit expensive. But many Millenials don’t care about saving for cars and homes, just the latest iPhone! :-)

      • 0 avatar
        tnk479

        Can’t really blame them can you? Many Millenials see how hopeless it is to try to save for a home. Thanks to the tailwinds of ZIRP and the mortgage interest deduction and irrational belief’s that persist, prices in urban areas increase by double digits year after year. Yet, Millenial pay (for the ones that are even employed) is going nowhere. All of the Millenial home owners I know got huge help from parents. Lucky them. For the rest, might as well enjoy that latest iPhone. And this is not sour grapes on my part. I can afford an overpriced home but choose not to buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        cardesigner,
        We’re all curious: who do you design cars for? GM? Ford? Pininfarina? Or Ms. Smithfield’s 6th grade study hall?

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        You sound like an old out of touch boomer with that ridiculous claim:

        > But many Millenials don’t care about saving for cars and homes, just the latest iPhone! :-)

        Not true at all stop repeating that BS. Millenials as a generation are much worse off than their parents in terms of real income, combine that with fixed costs such as student loans and out of control health care, not to mention outrageous costs of housing thanks to the federal reserve’s policies favoring asset holders over those who don’t yet have assets, and not enough bread winner type jobs to go around are why millenials aren’t buying cars or houses. Not only has home-ownership fallen to generational lows, but so have marriage rates and the number of children being born. Our generation got the shaft, but oh boy, we can afford an i-phone on an $80 a month cell phone plan, woo-hoo, aren’t we living in the greatest time to be alive! go us!

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      I disagree. The Cruze design is massively improved over the last generation. Inside and out it looks and feels more high quality. Also, most customers prefer higher up seating positions – thus the popularity of crossovers. Cruze isn’t marketed as a sporty car after all. I prefer the design of Cruze Sedan and Hatch over the Honda Civic which is the leader by sales.

      Spark’s interior is cheap because it’s a cheap car that starts at 13k. What automaker is offering a better product for 13k?

      I also like the Gen II Volt styling which is really just a Cruze with a big battery. What I don’t like is that they don’t offer the option of a sunroof or power seats. I’d prefer those features over leather.

      Almost no one cares about Impala or huge cars in general. It’s a dead segment and I expect to see it largely discontinued in a few years.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        My best friend traded his recently-problematic 2013 Ford Fusion Energi last week for a 2017 Chevy Volt. I was impressed with the Fusion Energi, but am even more so with the Volt. There really wasn’t a worthwhile reason to purchase the Premier trim, so he went for the LT with the leather and comfort packages (heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated wing mirrors). The car has torque for days and actually feels sporty. Plus. we can all fit in it, and the hatchback design allows for plenty of cargo. The only thing I don’t like is that—according to his research—the rear brake lights don’t illuminate if you use the regen brake paddle on the steering wheel, and since the regen function stops the car much faster than do the brakes, you stand a good chance of getting rear-ended.

        But color me a fan of the 2017 Volt. And since I could get the full tax credit, I’m considering one for myself. With the tax credit, the purchase price would be under $30K.

        • 0 avatar
          tnk479

          I know, I’ve had the same thought. I would never pay MSRP for it but pricing one out using USAA’s truecar data plus the $7,500 federal tax credit and it’s 26 and change. For that kind of money it’s a neat little car. I got a chance to sit inside one at the DC auto show and the back seat was roomier than I expected…but it’s a four seat car. That middle hump doesn’t qualify IMO. What do you think the chances are of a mid cycle refresh that adds power seats and a sunroof for 2018?

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “The only thing I don’t like is that—according to his research—the rear brake lights don’t illuminate if you use the regen brake paddle on the steering wheel, and since the regen function stops the car much faster than do the brakes, you stand a good chance of getting rear-ended.”

          Agree & that’s a good point Kyree. My Gen 1 Volt doesn’t have the “paddles” but if I run it in “L” as opposed to “D” the regenerative braking is pretty aggressive (no brake light as well). So I always have to be aware of the the traffic behind me when I’m in driving in that mode. Which is not very often.

    • 0 avatar
      RicersSuck

      I think you should crawl back into your toyota corolla / subaru outback ricemobirrrre and look at its plasticky interior before complaining against American cars ;)

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Jesus H, Chevy, PLEASE lose the greasy yellow bowtie already! I always flat-blacked mine.

    You make competent cars and great trucks but then you slap the car equivalent of Golden Arches on them.

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      I agree – they would be better off replacing it with a simple little square with the letter’s “GM”.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        Or at least match the body of the bowtie with the car color. That, surrounded by the “chrome” border, would be sweet.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          The Chevy bow-tie logo should always be blue. No reason it should have ever went to gold. Chevy has some really cool logos going back to their founding, the modern logo is such a shame…

          http://www.chevrolet.com/culture/article/bowtie-history.html

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Fine, blue… *anything* but that sick, penurious attempt at gold that turns out looking EXACTLY like the globules of Orville Redenbacher popcorn oil the lid of my kettle leaves in the bottom of the sink where it sits awaiting attention while I tend to the Orville Redenbacher popcorn & hot kettle.

            Orville Redenbacher: das Beste oder nichts.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “The Chevy bow-tie logo should always be blue. No reason it should have ever went to gold.”

            Gold matches better than blue and looks good on both my black Tahoe and my Volt with the “cadillac” metallic white paint.

        • 0 avatar
          Demon Something

          Seconded. But that’s probably too much to handle for a production line…so they’d say today.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        From what I can tell, the only time GM ever adorned a car with its namesake “Mark of Excellence” badge was when it built the EV1. But then they went to great lengths to quietly remove the GM badges on the sides of their cars after they went bankrupt in 2009. Some Mark of Excellence badges did make it to 2010, such as on early fifth-gen Camaro and second-gen SRX units, but for the most part, it was gone by then.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    “They drive nice, they have heated seats and they get good gas mileage”

    If this is the standard millennials use to evaluate cars, then the auto industry is doomed.

    Almost all cars have these characteristics and if this is all millennial customers want – then the cheapest appliance will win.

    The auto industry needs to figure out how to make cars desirable and affordable again. Without that – the industry is doomed to become a white-goods commodity industry.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      What tech doesn’t start as expensive and awesome only to become commoditized?

      Isn’t that just what progress is supposed to do? Why should cars be so different.

    • 0 avatar
      Bill Wade

      “the industry is doomed to become a white-goods commodity industry.”

      Already happening. Talk to the many of the younger people, they really do look at cars as an appliance.

      • 0 avatar
        tnk479

        Self driving cars will dramatically exacerbate this. I don’t think there is much anyone can do about it. In 15 years we will be buying “mobility”. At least I won’t get anymore speeding tickets!

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Talk to the many of the younger people, they really do look at cars as an appliance.”

        For most people, cars have been appliances for more than half a century. How much “soul” was there in, eg, a slant-six Plymouth Valiant? How about a Ford Granada? The answer is “About as much as a Honda CR/V”.

        I’m sure that over on “thetruthaboutblenders.com” there are people arguing the merits of Bosch versus Miele and decrying the “young folks” who are buying Danby, and how Kenmore decontented since the 90s, and how they don’t need smartphone integration with their LG.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That’s the standard that every generation uses to evaluate cars since, oh, 1940 at least.

      Don’t kid yourselves that Millenials are any better or worse than the people who bought everything from the Belair to the Valiant to the Granada to the Camry: it’s all about “does it ride nice” and “does it have X”.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      That only car that guy ever owned was a hand-me-down 1999 Chevy Lumina. Heated seats and good gas mileage probably seem like a huge leap forward to him, and I doubt he’s driven a large array of modern cars to form the necessary basis for comparison.

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