GM ending car-sharing service Maven

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — General Motors Co. will shut down Maven, the car-sharing service it debuted in 2016 as the wave of the future.

The automaker had already suspended the service about a month ago due to market conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic — after all, nobody wanted to share a vehicle with a stranger in this time of social-distancing. GM said that during the suspension, it reviewed the business and the challenges that exist in the industry that has been shaken by the closing of factories and dealerships, and decided to shift its resources to areas with greater potential for profit and growth. 

GM will shut down Maven, the car-sharing service it debuted in 2016.

Maven customers were notified Tuesday. Services will wind down gradually and vary by market, with all operations concluding later this summer. Maven's assets and resources will be transferred to GM’s Global Innovation organization, which will review them for potentially new products and services GM could offer.

Even when the economy was firing on all eight cylinders, the business model was struggling. Maven last year exited eight cities that didn't have the demand needed to sustain the service. Ford Motor Credit Co. last fall announced it was selling its vehicle subscription service Canvas to a California-based car-rental app, Fair. Ford Motor Co. ended its shuttle service, Chariot, last year.

"Car-sharing has never taken off the way that ride-sharing has," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Cox Automotive. And, she said, the business "is a disaster right now because nobody wants to be getting into vehicles used by other people or ridden in by other people for fear of the virus."

GM launched Maven in 2016. The service connected communities to cars through on-demand technology. Maven members — about 230,000 — were able to rent Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles without the cost of ownership. Maven has a fleet of 1,400 GM vehicles available where it was offered. 

Last year, Maven pulled out of eight of its 17 markets, including Chicago and New York. It is still present in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Toronto.

Maven also offered members who are car owners the opportunity to rent out their vehicles, and it allowed ride-share and delivery drivers to rent Maven cars by the week.

Maven's end comes as GM is continuing to lose money daily with its auto plants shut down for more than a month because of the coronavirus. GM has not said when it plans to restart production.

"GM's is going to be looking for where it can cut stuff," Krebs said. "The goal is to conserve cash and cut their losses on things. I think we are going to see more and more cuts."