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GM Launches New Car-Sharing Service Maven

Move follows big investments in ride-sharing firms Lyft, Sidecar.

by on Jan.21, 2016

A motorist uses a smartphone to line-up a short-term rental from the new Maven service.

General Motors apparently hopes to become an industry maven when it comes to alternative mobility programs. After investing in two ride-sharing services, Lyft and Sidecar, this month, the Detroit automaker says it will start a new car-sharing company called Maven – a Yiddish word for “expert.”

GM is just one of a growing number of automakers who are looking for alternative ways to appeal to potential customers at a time when younger consumers seem less interested in owning a vehicle. Both Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand and Ford Motor Co. are making similar forays, Ford CEO Mark Fields saying his goal is to transform the smaller Detroit maker into a “mobility” company.

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“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 personalized mobility services our customers expect today and in the future,” GM President Dan Ammann said.


Use of Car-Sharing Programs Set for 550% Jump

New study predicts 12 mil will use services by 2020.

by on Sep.19, 2013

When they need a car, a growing number of Millennials are turning to carsharing services.

If you want to get a hint about the potential for car-sharing programs consider that Hertz, Avis and other traditional rent-a-car firms have purchased pioneers in the short-term rental market, such as ZipCar, over the last couple years.

And, apparently, such moves will be well rewarded, a new study predicting that the number of members subscribing to car-sharing services will surge by more than 550% before the end of this decade – from the current 2.3 million to more than 12 million.

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Global revenues are expected to grow even more rapidly, forecasts Navigant Research, jumping from an anticipated $1 billion this year to $6.2 billion in 2020.

Car-sharing services offer an alternative to the traditional vehicle rental approach by targeting those who might have need of a vehicle for as little as an hour, rather than those who want one for a day or more.  In most cases, customers access vehicles at unmanned lots or even at reserved, street-side parking spots.


Avis Buys Zipcar for Nearly $500 Mil

Further evidence of car-sharing boom.

by on Jan.02, 2013

Ford Chairman Bill Ford and Zipcar Chairman Scott Griffith with a Zipcar Ford Focus.

The car-share business has just gotten a big vote of confidence from rent-a-car giant Avis, which is buying Zipcar for $491.2 million.

The move is the biggest deal yet in the nascent market for alternatives to traditional automotive rental systems where users might seek a set of wheels for trip of as little as an hour. Founded in 2000, Zipcar is generally seen as the leader in the car-share market and now claims 760,000 members.

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“By combining with Zipcar, we will significantly increase our growth potential, both in the United States and internationally, and will position our company to better serve a greater variety of consumer and commercial transportation needs,” Avis Chairman and CEO Ronald Nelson said in a statement accompany the Wednesday morning announcement.


New Service Lets Enthusiasts Drive the Vehicles of Their Dreams

Owners can also benefit from carsharing service.

by on Oct.10, 2011

A new carsharing service lets you rent the car of your dreams - such as a Lamborghini Gallardo.

Have caviar tastes but a budget that can barely afford an omelet?  A new carsharing service aims to put the vehicle of your dreams within reach.

Dubbed HiGear, the San Francisco-based service is the latest twist on the carsharing concept, which is designed to let folks who don’t own or have access to a vehicle easily rent one for short periods of time at a relatively reasonable cost.

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While most such services focus on low-end vehicles, such as a Smart fortwo or other basic forms of transportation, HiGear lets its customers rent privately-owned luxury cars.  The fee is then split with the owner of the vehicle, helping subsidize their loan payments or maintenance costs, says the service’s founder.

“A lot of carsharing companies focus on people who need a car to go shopping,” explains Murtaza Hussein, the founder and president of HiGear.  “Our business model is for people who want to be in a car like an Aston Martin for their birthday or some other special occasion.”


GM’s OnStar Partnering with RelayRides to Promote Car Sharing

Want to rent out your car during business hours?

by on Oct.05, 2011

OnStar teams with RelayRides' carsharing service.

Sure, you’ve got a long commute, but the fact is that your car – and most others – sit around most of the day when they could be put to better use.  Or so is the theory behind RelayRides, which takes an offbeat approach to put cars to better use when they’d otherwise be sitting idle.

Teaming up with OnStar, RelayRides – which is backed by money from Google Ventures – provides an alternative to traditional car rental firms.  Someone who might need a car, say, to run a couple errands, could access a vehicle from someone living down the block or working in a nearby office.

The system is designed to make a short-term rental quick and easy — and even to give a user a wide range of vehicle choices.  Owners, meanwhile, could get a chunk of change that could be applied to their monthly car payment — or gas bill.

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As part of an exclusive relationship that will begin in early 2012, the car-sharing service will focus on GM vehicles equipped with OnStar.  That would seem to make sense because unlike many competing telematics systems, a vehicle with OnStar has a built-in data link that doesn’t depend on having the owner’s cellphone nearby.

An OnStar operator thus could unlock the door of a vehicle for an authorized RelayRides user.  Otherwise, someone participating in the car-sharing venture would have to install a special device in the vehicle to allow access.


Mesh Expert Says Auto Industry Needs to Make Cars Share-Ready

by on Jan.10, 2011

Lisa Gansky says automakers can do more to help the fledgling share car industry by making them "share-ready."

An expert in “mesh” companies says the auto industry can help the fledgling share car industry by making share-ready cars.

Lisa Gansky spoke at TED@MotorCity Sunday at the Max Fisher Music Center in Detroit. The talk was sponsored by Lincoln. TED is a series of talks across the country to present new ideas. (Click here to learn more about Lisa Gansky).

Companies such as Zipcar offer sharing services where a person, many of whom don’t own a car, can use the vehicle when they need one. Typically, the cars are kept at urban locations such as in parking structures. Users reserve a vehicle online, then swipe a card on a reader attached to the windshield. (Click here to learn more about Zipcar.)

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Gansky, CEO, co-founder and chairman of Ofoto, said automakers could help the industry by building vehicles that would integrate those card-reading strips into the vehicle.

“Right now, it’s aftermarket,” she said. “It’s very conspicuous.”

Additionally, Gansky said the industry needs to build cars that are durable, repairable and upgradeable, all areas where the auto industry has excelled. (more…)