By on July 24, 2018

2017 Chevrolet Malibu - Image: GM

A pilot project we discussed months ago is now up and running in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Chicago. Launched by General Motors’ Maven ride-sharing arm, the new peer-to-peer service goes beyond the existing fleet of GM-owned vehicles (which Maven users can rent for varying periods) and into the realm of the privately-owned car.

Yes, there’s owners who are now letting their car work for them.

Called Peer Cars, these 2015-or-newer GM vehicles appear alongside Maven Cars whenever a Maven user in a participating market takes out their phone and opens the app in search of a low-cost, short- or long-term rental.

The user experience is the same as renting a typical Maven car (read about Bozi Tatarevic’s experience here). Open the app, locate your preferred car, travel to that location, unlock the car with your phone, and drive off. Owners needn’t meet the renter in order to size them up — GM takes care of that. It also installs the necessary unlocking device, takes photos, provides a $1 million insurance policy, and collects 40 percent of the revenue earned from the rental. Owner assistance is available from either Maven or OnStar.

Image: GM

It’s assumed the vehicle owner will make his or her loan payments by putting the car on the Maven rental market, choosing when it’s available, and for how much. GM claims owners can set a price within a range that’s up to 20 percent higher than a regular Maven vehicle — or 20 percent lower.

“Your car is one of the most expensive things you own. Sitting idle, it is a wasted asset,” said Julia Steyn, vice president of General Motors Urban Mobility and Maven, in a statement. “It’s time to put your car to work. Maven’s peer-to-peer offering is a smart way for owners to offset their vehicle investment.”

Of course, racking up extra miles with someone else behind the wheel also means these owners will hit their maintenance periods sooner, as well as add wear and tear to the vehicle — potentially lowering their resale or trade-in value. For lessees, it means using up more of your annual allotted miles. This could earn you a penalty in the event of an unexpected end-of-year road trip, assuming there’s no other option besides taking your own car. We hope would-be Peer Cars owners spend some time with a calculator before taking the plunge.

That said, Steyn’s words could certainly resonate with a number of people who see this as a way of getting out of working a second, low-wage job, or simply as a way of reaching the car payment finish line sooner.

GM plans to collect data from the three test markets before rolling out Maven’s Peer Cars in additional U.S. cities this fall.

[Image: General Motors]

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23 Comments on “Maven’s ‘Peer Cars’: Your Mobility Future Is Someone Else’s Ride...”

  • avatar

    Hmmmm, I’m not sure how the hourly model would work for me as a car owner… what if I need the car that day but forget to make it unavailable (I assume one can block time)… what if the renter uses it for longer than planned, etc.

    I do like the idea of car sharing, in general, though. I have my classic car listed on DriveShare by Hagerty and have met some fun car enthusiasts who have rented by 1972 Beetle convertible so far this summer. But that’s not a car I rely on for transportation every day and the rentals are prearranged, not just a spur of the moment thing like on Maven. So far, I’ve about covered my annual holding costs for the Beetle (insurance and winter storage) so any more rentals are gravy.

    DriveShare also includes insurance, roadside assistance, driver background checks, and the payment processing for a lower percentage than Maven, too.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Wow, I can’t imagine renting out my 57′ chevy. I have owned several old cars, all have been wonky in some fashion or another and it takes time learn each cars foibles. For whatever reason, this is one of the things I love about owning an old car, along with my DD’s. I find it to be a much more visceral experience; you feel and hear things that tell you how she is feeling that day far more than when I climb behind the wheel of the modern Suburban.

      • 0 avatar

        I get your point, and it isn’t for everybody. In my case, the ’72 Beetle is about the simplest and cheapest collector car I’ve ever owned. When I’ve rented the car, the renter meets me at my home or work, we go for a drive (so I can make sure they know how to drive it and I can show them how to use the top, explain any quirks, etc.), and I use the company’s app to photograph the car and not the mileage.

        Like I said, these have been positive experiences and the people were all experienced drivers and were excited. One rented the car as a surprise for her mother’s 60th birthday (her first car was a Beetle, I was told), a Father’s Day rental, one was a local photographer who wanted the car as a prop for a photo shoot. You can also limit rentals to non-driving (event like the photo shoot) or even offer chauffeured rentals, but I haven’t done any chauffeured rentals since the car isn’t quite right for that and I don’t have the time.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Too many problem with this scenario. Shift the expense to the poorest entity (car owner) and the profit to the conglomerate, the 40%. The expenses will most likely outrun the income in the long term. Tires, wear and tear with a heavy emphasis on the tear.

    GM wins both ways, the 40% up front and shorter ownership cycle as the car gets used up faster with the hope the consumer is hooked on the small income crack they are receiving and buy another GM car, rinse and repeat.

    Problem is the consumer will most likely take a 75 to 84 month loan to make the ‘income’ work for them but need a car in 48 months due to the wear and tear and the car the no longer fitting the program due to said damage/wear/use. A true realization of the profit and or cost of this would be the for the consumer to take a 48 month loan with a limited down stroke. If they can make money after maintenance costs than great news. But we all know this will not be the case.

  • avatar

    An idle vehicle is not a wasted asset. It won’t spoil or evaporate and disappear. It is a potential allotment of miles that you can use as needed and except for insurance its value is consumed on a per mile basis.

  • avatar

    TTAC has posted this topic before, and the usual comments are: I’d never rent out my XXXXX (see above^); It can’t possibly make any money for the car owners/ease holder (see above^). Basically gear heads couldn’t possibly imagine this in their lives. I get it. But on issues like this, and I say this in as apolitical way as possible, this really is a conservative (small c) site.

    I hate words like disruptive and mobility. And I’ve been a car nut my whole life. But I live in a big city, and I walk to work. My car has made almost $10,000 for me in the last year and a half. I understand I will have a depreciation hit, though most of the depreciation has already occurred for my 5 year old vehicle. I have faster maintenance schedules, but then I don’t have a car sitting and atrophying for weeks at a time, which can cause its own maintenance headaches.

    I’ve done the Math, and after 2 years with all costs including projected depreciation, I project that I will have netted about $8000. I factor in my own use in this equation.

    I’ll do it again, though next time with a lease. On a luxury car. And I’ll use the income to pay the lease while still having a luxury vehicle for my occasional needs. I could just have not car, and rent myself when I need transport, but I do want to be a car owner. It’s just not practical on its own. “Disruptive mobility solutions” like this really do work. I’d love more articles like Boris’s, where he wrote from experience.

  • avatar

    I could see this working in certain lease scenarios. If you don’t put on a lot of miles on your own, and would end up turning in the car under your allotment, why not make some money off those miles rather than gifting that bonus to the dealer? Also with a lease, you’re probably covered for maintenance during most (all) of the period, and you’re not likely too concerned about showing some additional wear and tear.

  • avatar

    After a mortgage, an automobile is the largest asset (or liability) most Americans have; I don’t include retirements savings, as many articles of late indicate that most Americans have less in retirement than the average cost of a new automobile. Therefore, this rental program is going to give strangers access to your second largest asset, with their mindset being that they don’t care as much about it because it’s not their asset.

    When you factor in the “flog the rental” mindset that many people employ when renting a car, why would you expose your personal property to that sort of risk? And, as the article mentions, the elevated costs will certainly offset a significant portion of any revenue collected. Seems like a fool’s errand for many…in the vein of Uber.

  • avatar

    marc, forgive me if I smell B.S., almost as if you’re Schilling for this type of service whether carbon-based life form or a bot of some kind (I’m being serious, as I’ve seen comments like yours in support of goods and services on other sites, and have some knowledge that companies do in fact employ such method – sorry to be so skeptical, but this is the world we now live in, amiright?), so humor us this regarding this excerpt:

    “I hate words like disruptive and mobility. And I’ve been a car nut my whole life. But I live in a big city, and I walk to work. My car has made almost $10,000 for me in the last year and a half. I understand I will have a depreciation hit, though most of the depreciation has already occurred for my 5 year old vehicle….
    I’ve done the Math, and after 2 years with all costs including projected depreciation, I project that I will have netted about $8000. I factor in my own use in this equation.”

    1) What vehicle by make and model?

    2) What service do you sub-rent that vehicle through?

    3) What city do you live in?

    4) Please specify, mathematically and precisely, how you have “netted $8000” (as stated, you have implied that you have received $8000 of “net” income from sub-renting your vehicle, which would be true net-net-net allowing for additional depreciation from extra miles, wear and tear, maintenance, etc.)


    • 0 avatar

      1) 2013 Prius
      2) Getaround
      3) San Francisco
      4) I couldn’t possibly give the entire breakdown. Many a spreadsheet and cocktail napkin has been sacrificed for this. I haven’t netted $8000 yet. In fact, after 18 months, I’ve barely broken even. But I have a car that has been fully paid off (and maintenance paid for) with the income; I get my own personal use out of it, which has value; and when I go to sell it, the profit is all mine. The leftover profit is where the bulk of that number comes from. Instead of the sale price covering what I have spent purchasing the car, that money goes right into my pocket, because the car was already paid for by the income it generated.

      A lease on my next car will work better. Income will cover the lease payment; Maintenance is usually covered for at least a couple years; and I will get use of a new car, which again I give a monetary value to, because it is money I’m not spending to rent other cars. So I’ll get no profit at the end of a lease. Instead, I’ll get a free car for 3 years.

      And, tho it’s not been without its aggravation, it does appear I am shilling for this service. Only to the point where I want more users, not more owners lol.

      • 0 avatar

        So, pure, unverifiable, rampant speculation, then.

        “I couldn’t possibly give the entire breakdown. Many a spreadsheet and cocktail napkin has been sacrificed for this. I haven’t netted $8000 yet. In fact, after 18 months, I’ve barely broken even.”

        And you are using a 5 year old Prius on a WAY different owner rental-system than Maven (you are merely renting out your vehicle through Getaround, a non-automotive manufacturer sponsored system and totally different, with no Toyota involvement), on a Prius that you own or are close to owning outright on a straight-up purchase).

        Thanks. I appreciate your honesty – no sarcasm at all.

        • 0 avatar

          I take no offense. I presume you have little ire left for me after what you expend on Melody.

          Its really not speculation though. Again, the income paid for the car payments. So if I sold it right now the money would all be mine.

          Toyota is actually an investor in Getaround, and the program I intend to do next, using a leased Lexus, is a byproduct of that. This is the speculative part- if I presume that the income on the lease will cover all expenses, even if I net no profit, I get free use of a luxury vehicle. That’s worth something, an actual quantifiable amount.

          • 0 avatar

            Why the personal insult?

            And yes, Toyota has invested between 1 and some millions in Getaround (in other words, a very small amount on a relative basis), but Getaround has many other investors, including Mercedes-Benz, and many larger investors, than Toyota –


            – and it operates on an absolutely different model than Maven does, as I’ve stated:

            “Similar to other car sharing services such as Zipcar, Getaround utilizes the economic principles of collaborative consumption. However, the peer-to-peer rental model doesn’t require the company to maintain a fleet of vehicles; rather, owners manage and maintain their own vehicles.”


            Maven is an idiotic concept that is directly tied into the new Gig economy, where we are approaching close to 40% of working adults having more than one “job,” while not really having an employer in the traditional sense – so no health care, pension, 401(k), etc., and peeps have to work 3 or 4 or even 5 “gigs” to try and get by.

            GM invested in this nonsense of Maven because they are following the herd, not because the underlying model makes an ounce of sense or is viable or will ever be profitable or even popular (it will have market penetration so negligible that it will likely never breach 0.75%).

            GM is being idiotic again, as they tend to do, in ways big and small, and this service makes zero sense for 99.9999% of people buying/leasing Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) vehicles.

          • 0 avatar

            “Getaround, a non-automotive manufacturer sponsored system and totally different, with no Toyota involvemet.”

            “And yes, Toyota has invested…Getaround has many other investors, including Mercedes-Benz”

            Non-automotive sponsorship and certainly no Toyota involvement…except Toyota and other car companies ARE involved by investing (a good way to “sponsor” something is to throw money at it).

            Which is it? Or are you just jumping into a subject you are ignorant about to “prove” your narrative, researching as the conversation progresses, searching for tidbits to validate your initial assumptions?

            Nowhere did he claim this is exactly like Maven, only inferred that its similar enough to make a comparison valid. But, Maven has GM’s name behind it, so it must be stupid and awful and Mary Barra and HACKet and something something something darkside, something something something complete.

    • 0 avatar

      Where’s the insult? I answered your questions while saying I took no offense at you calling my statements b.s.

      Just because melody pissed in your wheaties, l don’t take it out on me

  • avatar

    *shilling – not Schilling. I’m not sure how spell check works sometimes.

  • avatar

    Sharing my D.D., or my fun car with a stranger ??? Ewwww !!!..No way !!! A vehicle, in my view is a personal item. Lets face it. Not all people place a huge value on personal hygiene. Do I want my car to smell like 2 day old pepperoni ..or worse like a cigarette smoker ???

    I’m sure a whole lot of you guys, have some serious money invested in suits, and other business attire. Such items do go out of style..Would any of you consider renting one of your expensive suits out ?? Hey you might make a couple of bucks. No eh ?

  • avatar

    …rolling motel for smokers who can’t get smoke free room for a few hours…

    What happens when your car is trashed? When some one runs over a curb? Flat tire? Your door gets dented or scratched? Oil paws on the controls and steering wheel…

    Perhaps some digestive issues….

    I’m sure the renter will drive it very gently, because…it’s YOUR car, a fellow human being.

    Or how about an honest coincidence, as in, something doesn’t work now. But it worked before.

    Bah, just noise. Great idea! Let’s monetize everything!

  • avatar

    Eh. In cities, the best vehicles to share aren’t big bulky traffic-prone expensive-to-park cars, but electric bikes. Seriously, getting around a congested downtown on an e-bike is such a breath of fresh air. And with electric assist you don’t get sweaty and you don’t have to be young or in great shape.

  • avatar

    I find this type of stuff only makes sense economically if you either have another vehicle or don’t need it as a daily driver. Second, maximum payoff is by providing a model that no one else will. I’m sure a Cruz is a dime a dozen so lowest bids on those will likely win. But you provide something that’s less main stream, say a suburban ltz or corvette/camaro ss, you can increase your charge price because no one else is providing (making you the market). I’m sure in a metro area this really doesn’t do much unless you got constant business with airport stuff, or your the one person who provides that silverado long box for moving out of an apartment for a day locally because given the population density, more vehicles would be available, thus the price charged would be less because of market saturation than somewhere in suburbia where saturation hasn’t ocurred yet. In particular, if you have a vehicle that tends to accumulate few miles and go unused, it can start to make sense. Only though if theirs mileage caps on distant traveled for a trip, or some sort of cost per mile once a certain distance has been traveled, otherwise I wound avoid this service like the plague since you could no longer make a profit doing it at that point. However, gm take of 40% is going to result in itself being priced out long term as competition like turo does the same thing but with a lower price.

  • avatar

    What’s next? Renting out your wife, while you’re on a business trip or in a meeting, because you can’t “use” her? /s

  • avatar

    I only wear one set of underpants each day but I own like 30. Such a waste when all those other underpants could be rented out for big bucks.

    Anyway, I know where my hands have been. I wouldn’t be keen on letting strangers feel up my machines.

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