GM is launching ‘Maven’ car-sharing service

GM Maven

General Motors on Thursday announced that it is launching a new car-sharing service called Maven in the United States and Germany.

The car-sharing service will launch with small fleets in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in Chicago, New York, Frankfurt and Berlin. The company plans to focus on big cities and college campuses to start.

Maven will expand to other cities later this year, but GM would not say how quickly or by how much. The company will determine expansion plans based on how much the service is utilized by residents.

GM President Dan Ammann made clear that this is not ride-sharing which is offered by Lyft Inc, in which GM invested $500 million.

Unlike ride-sharing, which delivers a driver and car to your location, car-sharing customers use a smart phone app or other device to access cars and drive themselves.

GM has not revealed how much it is investing in the new program.

Use of a small car starts at as little as $6 per hour or $12 per hour for a large car, according to the company’s new website MavenDrive.com.

Amman says 5 to 6 million people around the world already use ride-sharing and car-sharing and he expected that number to increase by four or five fold by 2020.

GM isn’t alone in the space, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz luxury brand offers ride sharing and ride hailing under the “Mercedesme” brand, which features a smartphone app for access to short and longer-term rentals as well as access to taxis and mass transit.

Ford Motor just last week put its “mobility” offering under the FordPass brand, which also features a smartphone app that allows customers to hail rides, share cars and even pay for goods and services at partner companies such as McDonald’s.

General Motors has also invested $500 million in ride-sharing app Lyft, an investment that will include “loaning” some vehicles to Lyft drivers.