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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gms maven packs up leaves town s

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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  • 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.

  • Arthur Dailey Is most of your driving in stop and go urban traffic?Do you have kids, who you have to drive to and from their activities? Sometimes with their friends/teammates.Do you have pets? Do you have some mobility issues?Can you perform maintenance yourself?Do you have a discretionary fund for unforeseen repairs?Do you have another car, so that you only need to use this on weekends or rural/highway trips?Check your answers to the above. They may tell you that as nice as this car is, you might be better off with a new, boring but more practical SUV.
  • DungBeetle62 Before everyone dumps on California and their tax structure and Gavin's hairstyle, my recent road trip (which didn't get to California) was as follows when tanking up Super Unleaded.Texas - Fort Worth area Costco : $3.36Texas - Amarillo Sam's - $3.46New Mexico - Albuquerque Costco - $3.75Arizona - Flagstaff Sam's - $4.25Nevada - Henderson Costco- $4.72Oil is oil is oil is oil. State taxes vary, transporting the refined product varies, but a friggin BUCK AND A HALF more a gallon (and we're talking Costco to Costco here) ain't passing the smell test as you get out west. No, count me in with thinking someone out west is going for a bigger bite of the apple and figuring people will blame Newsom.
  • Tassos Whoever pays $23,000 for this 15 year old unreliable car will regret it. I would not pay half that.Go get an excellent E55 AMG, also 2008, and pretty close HP-wise, with far higher Torque, and a proper luxury interior..
  • VoGhost Why would anyone want to save a car dealer? No really - what actual value do they provide?
  • FreedMike Really nice example, but these are LEGENDARY for being money pits.