As younger generation continue to shy away from purchasing new vehicles, or forego obtaining their license altogether, large automakers are looking for ways to still get youngsters into their vehicles.
That’s what General Motors’ Maven personal mobility service is all about. Users may rent out vehicles by the hour from a fleet, and do what they must with them. GM covers the insurance, too.
There’s one man in particular who has led the charge behind Maven. A former Google employee, Zafar Razzacki likely never thought Detroit would be his home. But, here he is, leading one of GM’s most disruptive services in some time. Automotive News had the opportunity to speak with Razzacki, and how he’s made the transition from technology company giant, to an automaker.
“We literally view ourselves and are treated by the company as a small startup within GM,” he said. “We’ve got this crazy assortment of engineers and creatives and technologists and business people all working together. We are breaking a lot of rules. We are trying a lot of new things.”
Maven initially launched in Ann Arbor, Michigan and New York City. However, GM most recently stated the service will expand into Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C.
One of Maven’s overarching goals is to court younger drivers into GM vehicles, for when they are older and may look into finally purchasing a vehicle for their own.
“The idea is that Maven wants to grow with you. If you are in that early stage of your life where you are living downtown and are busy and just need a car once and while, then Maven is the right offering for that,” Razzacki stated.
“But certainly as marriage, kids, home, suburbia comes around and you are thinking of actually owning a vehicle, then you can say I drove the Volt so many times and really loved it, and now it’s a car I’d consider purchasing.”
For the future, Razzacki will be tasked with charting the brand’s course. He envisions a day when Maven isn’t only a car sharing service, but also offers a suite of intelligent assistant apps. He said even the logo and branding excludes GM in reference, logos and colors for a reason.
“Maven is a little different from any of our vehicle brands in that it is trying to solve a problem for our customers. The word maven actually means an expert or a connoisseur,” Razzacki said. So “it made sense to be people’s Maven and to help them get from point A to point B as easily as possible.”