GM's Eyeing Your Tool Shed, Not Just Your Garage, for Revenue

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

If you’re a GM owner in one of three American cities, you’re already able to put your vehicle on the short-term rental market. Now, imagine if you could do the same for your lawnmower. And that kid of yours hardly ever uses his skateboard anymore. What about those rollerblades you picked up in 1992 but mothballed due to the stigma? Everything’s a possibility in this age of micro-mobility and peer-to-peer sharing.

General Motors’ Maven mobility arm, which started off renting company-owned vehicles to cash-strapped taxi haters before launching a pilot with privately-owned cars and trucks, now has its eye on your yard care appliances — and who knows what else.

While cars and trucks and all that lie in between remains the main focus for Maven, nothing’s off the table when considering the future. The vehicles needn’t be used for transportation purposes, either.

Speaking to Automotive News, Julia Steyn, GM Urban Mobility and Maven’s vice president, goes as far as suggesting a benevolent takeover of Earth by beings from beyond the stars could prove lucrative for GM’s mobility business. (They won’t be peaceful. We’re cooked.)

“If there will be a UFO that is going to be able to be shared, I would expect at some point to be able to put it on the Maven platform,” Steyn said, adding that Maven has its eye on just about anything that sits unused for long periods of time.

That list includes your boat and RV. The appeal of Maven peer-to-peer business is that owners can recoup some of the expense of buying/owning a 2015-or-newer vehicle without serving as an operator, which is how Maven Gig operates. With the pilot, launched this year, owners can just send their vehicle to a new, temporary user for a fee via a phone-based app. It’s something of a collar-tugging proposition for owners, who’d best do a little math before signing on. Maven already has a rival in this field in the form of Turo.

“We strongly believe that this is the new way how people will interact with cars,” Steyn said of the peer-to-peer car-sharing service. GM plans to roll the service out in seven additional cities in the coming year, ensuring additional revenue from those Equinoxes and Cruzes.

The cash collected from Maven’s service flows to owners and GM in a 60:40 split. While Steyn said she pocketed a cool grand from putting her crossover on the market during the pilot’s first month, your mileage (and income) may vary. Wear and tear, regularly scheduled maintenance, and depreciation are areas of concern that could cause the renter to lose out in the long term. It’s hard to hop on board with this idea, at least as far as this writer is concerned.

Still, GM’s all for it, and if more people want to hand over their ride, all the better. While coy about Maven’s profitability, Steyn said the initiative has already “generated significant revenue.” Hmmm. No doubt, fielding vehicles on which owners have already paid full price would certainly help the balance sheet.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Bimmer Bimmer on Nov 12, 2018

    Next step by GM, who wants to rent their wife/GF, when not in use by a husband/BF?

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 13, 2018

    The Turo stuff I have experienced has been the form of people acting like rental companies, right down to fees. In a way this is comforting as the person is running a business, who I would be more loath to rent from would be the gig jag off who engages in this sort of behavior.

  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
  • VoGhost Matt, I'm curious why you write that inventory levels are low at 74 days. Typically, 60 days is the benchmark for normal inventory.