The automaker gives up on its car-sharing and long-term rental program, done in by the coronavirus pandemic.
- General Motors announced that it’s closing its Maven ride-sharing program after three years, a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic that has kept people sheltering at home.
- It was a pilot program that offered car sharing in 17 cities but last year cut its service from several major cities and suspended operations entirely in March.
- Uber and Lyft drivers with Maven vehicles as part of the Maven Gig program will be able to keep using them temporarily while other arrangements are made.
Maven, the General Motors ride-sharing and long-term rental service that showed early promise four years ago but had cut back more recently, has shut down operations. GM said the COVID-19 pandemic was the deciding issue, but 11 months ago the automaker had cut the service in half, closing it down in eight cities, including New York City and Chicago.
Tough Times for Ride Sharing
The car-sharing platform was launched in 2016. It was originally intended to compete against services such as ZipCar in which people rent vehicles—such as the Chevy Bolt EV and Spark— for hourly or daily use. GM said that year that it had more than 11,000 members whose average loan was for about 12 hours and 100 miles.
In 2017, Maven added a pilot program for 28-day or longer rentals of the Chevrolet Volt and Tahoe at a flat subscription rate. It also added Maven Gig, a program that lets Uber or Lyft drivers and delivery-service workers lease GM vehicles to drive. Those customers will be allowed to continue using the vehicles temporarily while they make other arrangements, GM said.
Automakers have been trying out subscription and ride-sharing models for several years, with mixed success. Cadillac’s Book by Cadillac service, which let customers swap out vehicles multiple times per year on a subscription basis, is currently on a break with plans to relaunch, and Ford’s Chariot shuttle service was closed down in 2018 after a brief pilot program. In late 2019, BMW and Mercedes closed down their ShareNow app-based car-sharing program in the U.S. Now, as the industry responds to the financial and logistical challenges of the pandemic, it would not be surprising to see them place renewed focus on their core business rather than making additional forays into mobility experiments, at least in the short term.
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