Features
23 May 19

GM pulls back car sharing service

GM pulls its carsharing service, Maven, out of eight cities. What does that say about OEMs and shared mobility?

The carsharing service of Maven, owned by GM, will soon stop operating in 8 out of 17 cities it is currently serving. While the carsharing service will be continued in Toronto, Washington DC, Detroit and Los Angeles, it will stop in various other North American cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York City. 

Focus on strengths

According to GM the service isn’t pulling back as a failure, but rather enforcing its strongest market with the biggest current demand and the strongest future growth potential. In addition, in some cities Maven will end its carsharing service but continue its Maven Gig service. Maven Gig is specifically aimed at drivers for Uber and Lyft, allowing people to drive for the ridehailing companies without owning their own car. 

Interestingly, the same story has been seen with Ford stopping its shared shuttle service Chariot earlier this year. Yet, Chariot’s withdrawal does not mean the end of Ford’s focus on shared and other new mobility modes, such as the Ford Go bikes. 

From OEM to carsharing?

Although the cases of Maven and of Chariot raise the question if OEMs could successfully operate carsharing services, there are other examples where their move continues to grow. The service of Volkswagen, Moia, looks to be very successful in Hamburg, however that might be influenced by the free rates at the moment. 

In addition, BMW and Daimler have recently joined forces in the carsharing service Share Now, and in other (shared) mobility services. And in the two years Maven functioned (from 2016 to October 2018), it has had provided 186,000 rides totalling 338 million miles driven, which is quite considerable. 

New market, New challenges?

What the cases of Maven and of Chariot do learn us, together with the recent struggle of Uber and Lyft filing their IPO and getting out of negative numbers, is how new mobility modes are being explored, in various degrees of success. 

However, while they might struggle with working out the economic model behind the new services and not succeed in making their product profitable, they all succeed in opening the debate about mobility modes and adding some changes to the current mobility landscape, in which shared mobility modes – from carsharing to ridehailing – are taking their position. 

Authored by: Fien Van den steen