DETROIT — Want to borrow a Cadillac Escalade for your weekend in the Hamptons? Now you can.
General Motors Co. launched its Maven car-sharing service in New York on Monday. The service lets members rent a variety of GM vehicles for whatever they need, from a 30-minute errand to a 28-day road trip.
Maven will park 80 vehicles around Manhattan. Members — who can join Maven for free — can choose an SUVs like the Escalade or the Chevrolet Equinox or smaller cars like the Chevrolet Cruze. Using Maven's smartphone app, members can see where vehicles are parked, reserve a time and unlock and start the car when they arrive.
Prices vary by vehicle, but it will cost about $100 to use a Cruze for a full day. Maven takes care of the insurance and leaves a gas card in the car to pay for fill-ups.
For now, Maven members in New York can't use the cars for gigs like Uber driving or Grubhub food deliveries, since that would require different insurance, said Julia Steyn, GM's vice president of urban mobility and Maven. But that capability will likely come in the future. Maven recently launched a separate service called Maven Gig in San Diego that lets drivers rent cars for side jobs. It also has rental agreements in a handful of cities for Lyft and Uber drivers.
GM isn't the only automaker experimenting with mobility services. Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, founded car2go in 2008. It's now operating in 27 cities in North America, Europe and China. BMW AG's ReachNow car-sharing service is operating in Seattle, New York and Portland, Oregon; it has a larger service, called DriveNow, in Europe. Toyota Motor Corp. announced a partnership with San Francisco car-sharing service Getaround late last year.
Automakers have to keep up with consumers' changing wants and mobility needs, the consulting firm McKinsey and Co. said in a report last year. McKinsey estimates that one out of ten new cars sold in 2030 may likely be a shared vehicle, which could reduce sales of private-use vehicles. By 2050, one out of three new cars sold could potentially be a shared vehicle.
For now, automakers say car-sharing services are helping them learn how people use their cars. For example, Steyn said Maven was surprised when people rented an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt and drove it from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Maven had assumed that people would only use electrics for short trips around town because of concerns about where to charge it.
Maven's launch in New York is a full-circle moment for the upstart service, Steyn says. About 18 months ago, GM started providing rental vehicles to private apartment buildings in New York. That service grew into Maven, which officially launched a year ago with a small fleet of cars in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Maven now has 35,000 members and more than 530 cars on the road in 13 U.S. cities and Kitchener, Ontario. Until now, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. have been Maven's biggest markets, with around 60 vehicles each.Comment on this story
"We are serving the luxury real estate market as well as the gig economy," Steyn told The Associated Press. "In my mind, that underscores the breadth of the potential for mobility services and the importance of the role they play."
Steyn won't say if Maven is making a profit. Steyn also said it's too soon to tell if Maven will persuade users to buy a GM car or truck for themselves. Steyn said 76 percent of Maven drivers are millennials.
"We're not trying to take their names and start monetizing that information," she said.