What just happened? General Motors is scaling back its Maven car-sharing program in a big way, ending service in nearly half of its North American markets including Boston and Chicago. It's further proof that the traditional automotive industry is changing and automakers are just as clueless as the rest of us as to what the future holds for personal transportation.
Founded in 2016 following GM’s acquisition of assets and employees from Sidecar, Maven features multiple tiers of service for those looking to rent vehicles on a short-term basis. The service had found its way to 17 North American markets up to this point.
A spokesperson for GM confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Maven plans to terminate its business in several major markets including Boston and Chicago. Service will persist in other areas like Detroit, Toronto and Los Angeles, we’re told. Maven wants to concentrate its efforts on markets in which it has the strongest current demand and growth potential, the spokesperson added.
A complete list of closures wasn’t provided, nor did the spokesperson give a timeline for shutdowns. One customer in Chicago received an e-mail from Maven referencing an end date of July 26.
GM is one of several traditional automakers exploring different ways of generating revenue in response to the growing trend of ride sharing and those who elect not to take part in vehicle ownership. Not all are successful ventures, however. Cadillac late last year canceled its car subscription service and Ford shut down its Chariot shuttle service earlier this year.