By on January 22, 2020

Cruise

Did General Motors’ self-driving arm reveal the future on Tuesday night? The automaker and its Cruise LLC subsidiary sure hope so, as both see big, big dollars coming from future autonomous ridesharing fleets.

The Cruise Origin unveiled in San Francisco last night is supposedly the vehicle (don’t call it a car) that will make that revenue stream possible. It certainly doesn’t look like a car, and the difference grows even greater when those side doors part. (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2019

Back in 2016, General Motors invested half a billion bucks in Lyft, the rideshare company bent on taking Uber to school. When the deal was made, the companies portrayed it as a long-term strategic alliance. Since then, investments have been made in Lyft by GM’s competitors (namely Ford), and GM has made investments in potential Lyft competitors like Cruise Automation. Pro tip: don’t try to draw this particular family tree.

Today, Lyft went public on the stock market, seeing an astounding open of $87.24 a share. As a gearhead, why should you care about this? Well, remember that investment GM made in the company? The General now owns 18.6 million shares, which now translates into a net value of over $1.5 billion.

In a company besieged by idling plants and layoffs, suddenly finding an extra billion-and-a-half bucks on the books is surely a big deal.

(Read More…)

By on January 31, 2018

True story: when my pal “Creighton” decided to start using his Charger Hellcat for Uber, he called his insurance company and had them upgrade his policy to commercial status. Doing so pretty much wiped out any profit that he was going to make as an Uber driver, but he still made the call because he’s the kind of person who doesn’t like to take unnecessary risks.

Getting rideshare-specific insurance isn’t always prohibitive, but during my conversations with various Uber and Lyft drivers I’ve yet to hear of anybody besides Creighton actually ponying-up for real additional coverage. Most of these people are living pretty close to the bone and they don’t really think they have that much to lose in the first place. Plus, there’s the fact that both Uber and Lyft offer some additional coverage as part of their driver agreement.

That’s the theory of it, anyway. What happens when two Lyft drivers collide? Yesterday, someone found out.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2018

New York City and San Francisco, besides having the most tailored beards and bike activists on both coasts (Note: Portland might have something to say about this) might not like some of the data emerging from the University of Michigan.

While some Millennials, especially ones working at startups and paying the equivalent of a Cadillac for a shoebox apartment in a trendy, upcoming part of their building, might think personal car ownership is as dated a concept as VCR tapes and telephone banking, there’s a vast gulf between that lifestyle and that of the average American. It’s clear to see in the U-M Transportation Research Institute’s latest findings.

The data also pours a cold glass of asparagus water over an earlier poll that suggests we’re poised to kick car ownership to the curb. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

Uber (freestocks.org/Flickr)

Don’t look now, but the ride-sharing company everybody loves to hate is in trouble yet again. The Justice Department is reportedly opening an investigation into Uber’s not-so-secret “Greyball” tools, which can be used to circumvent law enforcement attempts to interfere with Uber’s business operations.

According to sources inside Uber, “Greyball” was originally developed to help protect Uber drivers from potential threats to their safety, such as unionized taxi drivers and other people who expressed their displeasure with Uber’s service in violent terms. The company soon realized Greyball could also be enhanced to help prevent “sting” operations in areas where ride-sharing services are illegal and/or heavily regulated.

I have no idea whether or not Uber will survive this unwanted federal attention; I’m reminded of the phrase used in the book Dune regarding “fools who put themselves in the way of the Harkonnen fist.” More interesting to me than that is the comment in the NYT article that some Uber employees had concerns about whether “Greyball” was “ethical.” That, I think, is the fascinating question.

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2014

01-saleen-4sixteen-monterey-1

Part of the automobile’s future may be linked to concerns of safety, fuel efficiency and the environment, but connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies, among other disruptors, look to flip the table on the century-old game as the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems gets underway this week in Detroit.

(Read More…)

By on July 29, 2014

hipster lyft millennials

Though companies such as Lyft, Car2Go and Uber aim to help the young and the carless get around town without the need for owning a car — Uber wanting to go as far as to replace car ownership, period — the millennials eventually decide to go all in on individual car ownership.

(Read More…)

By on July 16, 2014

Uber iPhone

Uber wants to do more than disrupt the traditional taxi service, seeking to bring its pricing low enough to replace your own vehicle, period.

(Read More…)

By on July 10, 2014

Toyota Sales Lot

The good news? Automakers are enjoying a sales boom in the United States the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Recession brought the hammer down, with June 2014 sales alone surpassing those in July of 2006. Should the boom continue, 2014 will close as the industry’s best year in a long time, with over 16 million vehicles sold when the calendar ticks over to 2015.

The bad news? This year may be the last year U.S. sales ever climb this high.

(Read More…)

By on July 9, 2014

Bill Ford in Turkey

Sharing the pages of The Wall Street Journal’s 125th Anniversary issue with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Summers and Taylor Swift, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Jr. sees a future for the automotive industry so bright, he’ll need to wear shades.

(Read More…)

By on June 27, 2014

UberSUV

Ride-sharing service Uber has hit a few rough patches as of late, mainly from taxi operators and city and state officials who believe Uber and others like it are too disruptive for its own good. However, the Teamsters — who supported European taxi drivers in their protest of the service earlier this month — are throwing their support to Uber drivers wishing to organize.

(Read More…)

By on April 23, 2014

Majda

TTAC reader Majda shares his tale of becoming a driver for ridesharing app Lyft.

Few car enthusiasts get paid to drive soused, singing young women around town. I do. The price was zip-tying a pink moustache onto the grille of my Mazda3.

(Read More…)

By on February 27, 2014

Ferrari 550 Pininfarina Barchetta

After a century of motoring, and with several factors rapidly changing the landscape, analysts are forecasting the peak of global automotive growth to come sometime in the 2020s.

(Read More…)

By on February 16, 2014

UberSUV

Ridesharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have gained traction among those who prefer using their smartphones to hail a ride to the airport over traditional black car or taxi service. However, in locales such as Detroit, Atlanta and Seattle, such services are rolling up upon a regulatory traffic jam over how best to handle the disruption in the livery industry.

(Read More…)

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