By on May 21, 2019

GM Launches Personal Mobility Brand: Maven, Image: General Motors

Anyone following the saga of Uber and Lyft know that mobility services are not — not yet, anyway — a money tree that bears unlimited financial fruit. The same can be said of mobility services offered by automakers.

General Motors’ car-sharing service, Maven, like those more well-known companies, is still a fledgling operation experiencing growing pains. Its latest growth move involves shrinking, with the mobility brand dropping out of eight U.S. markets.

On Monday, a Wall Street Journal report called attention to GM’s plan to remove the service in nearly half of its 17 markets. Among markets that can continue to expect Maven vehicles close at hand are Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, though Boston, Chicago, and New York City can expect a wind-down of available services or an outright desertion.

Maven launched in 2016 as a car-sharing service employing GM-owned vehicles. Like rival Zipcar, travellers or carless residents gain access to the vehicles via a phone app that tells them of their location, dropping them off after a short period of use. Hourly fees apply. Maven Gig soon cropped up, with GM offering vehicles for those who drive for ride-hailing companies or services like Uber Eats.

Looking to make money off vehicles not owned by the company, GM launched a peer-to-peer car-sharing service (Maven Peer) in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Chicago last summer, allowing residents to rent out their own cars for extra income.

“We’re shifting Maven’s offerings to concentrate on markets in which we have the strongest current demand and growth potential,” a GM spokesperson told the WSJ.

It seems GM wishes to have fewer Maven cars in its possession, though the exact nature of the service reduction isn’t yet clear. Not all of the eight markets stand to lose all Maven services; some will retain Maven Gig (like Washington, D.C., which also loses its car-sharing and peer-to-peer service, TechCrunch reports), while others will add ride-sharing and peer-to-peer.

Everywhere, mobility is in the process of finding its feet. GM plans to offer autonomous ride-hailing services in the near future via vehicles poised to roll out of its Cruise self-driving division, though right now Cruise’s expertise involves losing the company money. Maven’s income-earning status remains a mystery.

In February, 19-year GM veteran Sigal Cordeiro stepped into the shoes of recently departed Maven head Julia Steyn, who led the brand since its inception.

[Image: General Motors]

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8 Comments on “GM’s Maven Packs Up, Leaves Town(s)...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “We’re shifting Maven’s offerings to concentrate on markets in which we have the strongest current demand and growth potential”

    If Boston, Chicago, and New York City don’t have growth potential, this is a dead app walking. Sounds like Maven is in full retreat, trying to save face for the stockholders.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “Everywhere, mobility is in the process of finding its feet.”

    There are no feet to be found. The whole concept is a loser, despite all the bright lights in Detroit, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale thinking otherwise. Nobody has a path to profitability, or any idea when one might develop, if ever.

  • avatar

    The concept is clearly flawed, nobody wants to “borrow” a random car from some random location. Those that due already have a perfectly viable solution, its called Hertz, Enterprise, Dollar, etc.

    As for Uber and Lyft their business model is also not going to fly long term. Its a great idea on a small scale but once ramped up it begins to look just like something else that is already firmly established called a cab or taxi. I took my first Uber ride last weekend… the nice guy got lost going to DFW airport at 4AM. Noting like having the app and me telling him over and over again which exit to take while he misses turn after turn. I honestly thought they guy just couldn’t read the signs, its pretty clearly marked which lane is for departures! The taxi, while more expensive, did the airport to hotel run as if it was on auto-pilot.

    Some food and package gig type service might survive because non-human cargo doesn’t care about the condition of your ride, your bad navigation skills (unless it delays the item), or choice in music.

  • avatar

    So what eight markets are they dropping? The article is confusing.

  • avatar

    I will be amazed if this exists in any form by January 1. Can GM get anything done except cancel product lines and close factories?

    Here in Brooklyn, I tried to find a convenient, reasonably-priced car a few times but never succeeded. The few I did see were either a long trip away or priced over $20/hour. For a GM car, not necessarily receiving fleet maintenance? I don’t think so!

  • avatar

    We live in central Toronto, have an Enterprise Car Share membership. I see their cars, Zip Cars and a couple of similar services around the city.

    But for this article, I would not have know that Maven exists here.

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