GM's Maven Packs Up, Leaves Town(s)

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • BklynPete BklynPete on May 22, 2019

    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!

  • Ect Ect on May 22, 2019

    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.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.