The transportation industry is undergoing a complete transformation right now as we reevaluate car ownership and how we power our vehicles. One of the largest car manufacturers in the world is spending billions to lead all aspects of this transportation, General Motors (GM). After GM exited their restructuring in 2010, it was clear that the company needed to think completely differently. Just over three years ago, Mary Barra was named the new CEO of GM. Barra, a GM employee for more than 30 years, has been responsible for the company’s product development since the restructuring and has been on a mission to reinvent the brand.
One of Barra’s key strategic moves has been the creation of the mobility-brand “Maven”. Maven, which launch in January 2016, is GM’s new experiment in car-ownership. Maven allows for consumers to rent a GM vehicle on an hourly or daily basis. While this may sound a lot like what ZipCar may offer, Maven’s vehicles all come equipped with advanced technology, include gas and insurance, and no membership fees.
Maven is now in 17 cities, including Denver, and is still rapidly expanding into new markets. With over 22,000 members across North America, Maven is quickly asserting itself as aggressive competitor in the market.
Key Partnership with Lyft:
In January 2016, GM and Lyft announced an investment and strategic partnership. GM invested $500M into Lyft, allowing GM to play larger role in the ever-expanding ridesharing industry.
As part of the strategic partnership, GM uses Maven’s technology and infrastructure to provide the service “Express Drive”, allowing Lyft drivers to rent a vehicle from Maven in exchange for driving for Lyft. This allows Maven to invest heavily into their technology on a larger scale and Lyft’s incentives encourages drivers to stay within the Lyft “network”.
After speaking with Maven’s General Manager of the Denver Market, Lindsey Whiddon, it is very clear that Maven is a brand that GM is investing in heavily. “Maven has grown from 10 employees in January 2016 to now more than 100 people. We continue to attract top talent from the car-sharing, ride-sharing and connected car industries, as well as some of the best minds from within GM.”
Maven operates 60 vehicles in the Denver market, including one on DU’s campus and prides itself as being perfect for the a young professional or college student’s lifestyle. All of Maven’s vehicles come loaded with technology and include Apple Carplay and Android Auto, allowing customers to “bring their digital lives into the vehicles” with simplicity and ease.
Maven’s mobile app on iOS and Android allows for users unlock, heat/cool, and start the vehicle quickly without fumbling with any keys. Maven recently updated their app with new functionality, allowing users to book a car for immediate use (use to only be on the hour and 1/2 hour) and improved connectivity with the vehicle. After driving a Maven vehicle at DU’s Winter Carnival (full review in the DU Clarion), I am convinced that Maven is on track to help reinvent the way we think about car ownership and transportation.