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General Motors Has a New Subsidiary: Introducing Maven, Its Car-Sharing Company

Maven will be mixing some new and old GM projects.

David McNew / Getty

General Motors, like every other major carmaker, is doing everything it can to prevent itself from being usurped by tech companies like Apple and Google that are making major automotive plays.

Introducing Maven, a wholly-owned subsidiary that GM says will do for car-sharing what its investment in Lyft is doing for ride-hailing. Car-sharing is a kind of car rental model where people can rent cars online from places like Zipcar, and then pick up the vehicles in parking spots in their community. Maven will comprise a number of different existing GM services, and offer some new stuff as well.

The carmaker is putting its New York City-based residential car-sharing pilot program, “Let’s Drive NYC,” inside the new brand. GM plans to roll out a similar service in Chicago sometime this quarter, collaborating with the real estate firm Magellan Development.

maven gm general motors

GM’s shiny new announcement is another Maven-branded on-demand rental service that will be launching in Ann Arbor, Mich. The city of just over 100,000 is home to the University of Michigan (car-sharing services initially took off on college campuses), and vehicles there will initially be available in 21 parking spots.

The cars available include fully electric models like the Chevrolet Volt and the Spark. Customers will be able to place reservations and unlock cars through their smartphones, and features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and in-car 4G LTE service.

There are three tiers of pricing across 11 Ann Arbor locations listed on the Maven website. The cheapest offering, a Volt or a Spark, comes at $6 an hour or $42 for a day. By comparison, Zipcar says it costs either $7.50 or $8.50 per hour and $69 a day to rent a Honda Civic in Ann Arbor.

Another existing GM service that will now live inside Maven is its Germany-based, peer-to-peer car-sharing program CarUnity. GM says that 10,000 people have signed up to be a part of CarUnity in Frankfurt and Berlin since its mid-2015 launch.

It has been a busy few weeks for General Motors. Right before CES in Las Vegas earlier this month, the company announced a $500 million investment in and autonomous driving partnership with Lyft, and Bloomberg reported this week that it had acquired the assets and talent of the recently expired ride-hailing service Sidecar. At CES, GM’s most significant agenda item was probably unveiling its new Chevrolet Bolt model, its most-affordable all-electric option to date.

The company’s biggest Detroit rival, Ford, announced new partnerships with Amazon and dronemaker DJI around the same time as well.

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