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Well that was fast. General Motors has announced the launch of its ride-sharing brand Maven less than a month after making a US$500-million in Lyft and just a few days after buying failed Uber competitor Sidecar.
It’s an interesting move from one of the world’s largest car makers, but it’s clear that it’s seen the rapid rise of Uber as a portent of things to come. According to a release from GM, the new brand will launch with a global team including more than 40 dedicated employees from the connected car technology industry as well as ride- and car-sharing professionals from Google, Zipcar and Sidecar.
“GM is at the forefront of redefining the future of personal mobility,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With the launch of our car-sharing service through Maven, the strategic alliance with ride-sharing company Lyft, and building on our decades of leadership in vehicle connectivity through OnStar, we are uniquely positioned to provide the high level of personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future.”
Maven offerings kick off in the US this week and while the play may seem like a bid to take on Uber, there are differences. Rather than having a personal driver, for instance, people will be able to access and drive cars based on their needs.
According to the GM press release:
Maven customers use its app to search for and reserve a vehicle by location or car type and unlock the vehicle with their smartphone. The app also enables remote functions such as starting, heating or cooling and more. Customers can bring their digital lives into the vehicle through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, SiriusXM radio and 4GLTE wireless. Each vehicle will provide an ownership-like experience with the convenience of car-sharing.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan — the first city to get Maven — users will reportedly also have direct access to Maven leadership and core team members via the messaging application WhatsApp to share their experiences, ideas and thoughts with the team as they help shape the Maven service.
“Maven provides on-demand access, choice and ease of use. The right vehicle and right mobility service for the right trip at the right time,” said Julia Steyn, GM vice president, Urban Mobility Programs. “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.”