A major shake-up in the automotive industry is coming. Car-sharing, ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles are poised to cause a major shift in not just how we drive and get around but how we buy cars; or if we buy them at all. You can be sure that automobile makers have already been racking their brains in preparation, trying to figure out the state of the business years in advance. See, where you and I usually can’t even decide on what we are doing the next day (pants or no pants?), companies like GM are planning a decade or more ahead. A company that huge doesn’t turn and pivot on a dime so they need to know where the revenue will be coming from in the future. Seeing the writing on the car door, GM has been very active in entering the business of car-sharing. Just this month alone, they invested $500 milion in Lyft, a main competitor of Uber and purchased the remains of the defunct Sidecar on the cheap. Clearly this was not all for nothing as now we have Maven, a car-sharing service operated by GM.
“GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility. With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.” –GM President Dan Ammann
Maven, which coincidentally means “expert,” will launch initially in Ann Arbor, MI focusing mostly on the area around the University of Michigan, with 21 parking spots and aiming to cover approximately 100,000 people. Later in Q1, the service will expand to residential areas in Chicago and New York. The main competition for Maven is of course the well established and popular Zipcar that has been expanding and offering car-sharing since 2000. GM is also trying to include some personalized touches for Maven. For example, they want to include a connected experience that travels with you from car to car utilizing OnStar, CarPlay, Android Auto, and others. That means you can get into any of the Maven cars and it will know and set your temperature preferences and music playlists. And that’s juts skimming the surface of possibilities.
“Maven customers will experience seamless smartphone and keyless integration with the vehicle. Maven customers use its app to search for and reserve a vehicle by location or car type and unlock the vehicle with their smartphone. The app also enables remote functions such as starting, heating or cooling and more. Customers can bring their digital lives into the vehicle through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, SiriusXM radio and 4GLTE wireless. Each vehicle will provide an ownership-like experience with the convenience of car-sharing.” -GM
Making this a global initiative, GM is partnering with companies to test car-sharing on campuses in China and Germany. In the latter country, partnering up with an existing service CarUnity that is already enjoying almost 10,000 users in Frankfurt and Berlin since mid-2015.
If all goes well, GM will expand the service based on feedback that users can provide directly to the company via WhatsApp.
Are you using or looking forward to more of these car/ride-sharing services in your area? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.
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