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GM’s Maven Expands to Ninth Market, San Francisco

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GM launches Maven car-sharing program

General Motors’ own car-sharing service, Maven, has expanded once more into a new market, the company announced on the 13th. This time, it will open for business in San Francisco, its ninth market since its launch at the beginning of the year.

San Francisco provides unique challenges for competition, since as a technology hub the city already has a number of car-sharing programs like Zipcar, Getaround and the omnipresent Uber. However, Maven seems confident in its abilities to differentiate itself thanks to its technological superiority over rivals like Zipcar—customers reserve a car via app, then use their phone to unlock and start the vehicle.

This expansion shows how serious GM is about expanding its business into areas outside of just car sales.

Dan Grossman, Maven CEO, put the situation succinctly, telling Reuters, “Either GM spends money to convince someone who doesn’t want a car to buy a car, or spends it getting into another business.”

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Of course, GM doesn’t exactly lose money on Maven’s expansion—Maven buys cars from GM, then pays for their maintenance and gasoline, meaning GM receives profits both from car sales to Maven and rental fees (which start at $8 per hour). In addition, driving in new vehicles, such as the new Chevy Bolt EV, may convince some customers which are on the fence about buying a vehicle to make the purchase.

This is the same sort of strategy that GM has taken with its investment in and car loan program with ride-sharing service Lyft.

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News Source: Reuters