Four score years ago, General Motors helped transform Los Angeles into the nation’s car culture capital. Now it’s working to reshape that culture for the 21st century by launching Maven City Car sharing, its new app-based rideshare service, here this week to let people rent cars from GM’s fleet by the hour.
GM and its rivals are racing to capitalize on the shift Uber and Lyft helped create toward on-demand ride hailing and vehicle sharing. In addition buying a 9% stake in Lyft, GM has created a mobility startup arm, similar in scope to Ford’s Ford Smart Mobility or Daimler’s Moovel, that’s designed to help GM take a cut of the rideshare market while getting potential customers into its cars.
“Maybe sometime in the future you’ll remember that car and buy one,” said Maven Chief Operating Officer Dan Grossman. “In LA, I’m thinking we’ll have higher-end cars. I mean, our first reservation here was an Escalade.”
Since debuting as in January, Maven’s services are available in nine other markets: Ann Arbor, Mich., Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and GM’s headquarters in Brazil. Maven plans to expand to other U.S. cities, as well as Europe and China, in the coming years. “Maven will be everywhere,” said Grossman, who served as a vice president at Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing company, prior to joining Maven.
Maven will start with 60 cars in Los Angeles that can be picked up from 24 spots around the city, mostly downtown, in Little Tokyo and South Park, and near the University of Southern California. Hourly rates begin at $8 for the Chevrolet Cruze compact car, Malibu sedan, or Volt plug-in hybrid and top out at $24 for a Cadillac Escalade SUV. Gas and insurance are included, and all cars are outfitted with leather seats and Wi-Fi connectivity.
In addition to the City Car sharing program, Maven includes two other services: Express Drive, which rents vehicles to Lyft drivers by the week, and a program for residents of certain apartment buildings in New York and Chicago. Altogether, Maven has helped 11,000 drivers log more than 23 million miles through more than 12,000 reservations.