GM's Maven is a Sneaky Way to Get Urban Millennials to Try the Company's Vehicles

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
gm s maven is a sneaky way to get urban millennials to try the company s vehicles

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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20 of 34 comments
  • OldManPants OldManPants on Feb 12, 2017

    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.

    • See 7 previous
    • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Feb 13, 2017

      @nickoo "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.

  • Zerofoo Zerofoo on Feb 12, 2017

    "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.

    • See 9 previous
    • TMA1 TMA1 on Feb 13, 2017

      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.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂