| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Oct 13 General Motors'
car-sharing program Maven, the auto giant's latest foray into
alternative transportation services, has expanded into San
Francisco, marking its ninth market since launching in January,
the company announced Thursday.
Maven's entry into one of the nation's leading technology
hubs puts it squarely in competition a number of car-sharing
programs such as Zipcar and Getaround that are already popular
in the city.
Maven's markets now include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles,
New York and Washington, D.C., among other cities. The quick
growth signals General Motors' aggressive push to cater
to millennials and urban professionals who do not want the
burden of car ownership.
"Either GM spends money to convince someone who doesn't want
a car to buy a car, or spends it getting into another business,"
said Dan Grossman, Maven's chief operating officer.
Maven buys cars from GM and pays for the maintenance, repair
and gas. In addition to the revenue from the sale of cars to
Maven, GM will reap the profits from Maven's car-sharing
business. The cost of renting a car starts at $8 per hour.
The company touts its technological sophistication as an
advantage over competitors such as Zipcar. Customers can reserve
a car via an app and use their smartphone to unlock and start
their vehicle. Grossman said more than 12,000 car reservations
have been made to date.
While GM aims to appeal to drivers who do not want to own
cars, the company also hopes Maven will introduce new car models
- such as the all-electric Bolt - to customers who could be
convinced to make a purchase.
GM earlier this year also launched a car loan program with
ride-sharing service Lyft, allowing Lyft drivers to lease cars
for a week at a time. GM invested $500 million in Lyft in
January; it owns 9 percent of the startup.
Maven acquired patents from Sidecar, a San Francisco
ride-hailing service that shut down last year.
(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Leslie Adler)