Dead: GM's Maven

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GM’s Maven, which was kind of like Zipcar, Car2Go, and Turo but with more GM, is dead.


The service, which operated in 17 cities at its peak, allowed users to rent cars for short trips—insurance and gas included—park them at designated spots, and walk away. GM had very high hopes for it in the beginning, with a GM VP saying at the time:

With more than 25 million customers around the world projected to use some form of shared mobility by 2020, Maven is a key element of our strategy to changing ownership models in the automotive industry.

Maven even said they might expand into boats, RVs, and lawnmowers (?) at one point, but that’s all not happening now. According to The Verge, Maven sent an email today to its customers announcing that it had “made the tough but necessary decision to wind down our business.”

The writing for Maven might have been on the wall in February 2019, when Julia Steyn, the VP quoted above and GM’s mobility chief and head of Maven, left the company. Steyn is now CEO of Bolt Mobility, an electric scooter company based in Miami co-founded by former Olympic track star Usain Bolt.

GM said Tuesday that it learned a lot operating Maven. (Companies always say things like this when they’re shutting down divisions.)

“We’ve gained extremely valuable insights from operating our own car-sharing business,” Pamela Fletcher, vice president of Global Innovation for GM, said in an emailed statement. “Our learnings and developments from Maven will go on to benefit and accelerate the growth of other areas of GM business.”


Maven service had already been suspended because of coronavirus, but GM said it would wind down slowly in the cities where it is still operating, with everything shuttered by the end of the summer.

According to CNBC, Maven had about 45 employees or contractors in Canada and the U.S., most of whom will stay on with the company.


Derek Smalls' Courgette

If historical GM decision making is any guide, we can assume that shared car rental services like this will be a massive business within the next couple years.

Seriously though, I think these businesses are difficult to run profitably. I was a ZipCar member for years when I lived in NYC, and the last few years barely used them because price, and inconvenience, kept escalating. For trips of more than a 3-4 hours (especially on weekends), traditional rental cars were cheaper, and for shorter trips, cabs/car services were close in price and convenience. ZipCar was mostly useful for “I need a pickup truck for 90 minutes on a weeknight” situations, which don’t come around that often.