Back in January, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, which allowed the automaker to become a preferred provider of short-term-use vehicles to Lyft drivers and to share expertise between the two firms. Then, this past Tuesday, GM’s personal mobility brand, Maven, said that it is partnering with Uber, a Lyft rival and and the largest ride-sharing service in the U.S, on a pilot program to rent vehicles to Uber drivers in San Francisco.
At first glance, one would think that GM’s new tie-up with Uber wouldn’t go over well with Lyft, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
GM appears to be less concerned with politics, and more interested in making progress in the rapidly-evolving personal mobility space.
“This is a whole new world,” says Maven spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm. “Everybody is trying to be as competitive as possible.”
Hence, GM-Maven doesn’t mind renting out its cars to drivers at both Uber and Lyft. In addition, the automaker also appears to be working on reaching similar agreements with other ride-sharing services around the world.
Lyft doesn’t seem to mind the development, either: “Maven’s supply channels do not impact our programs with GM. We continue to work together to shape the future of mobility.”
The last part of Lyft’s statement is worthy of closer inspection, as GM’s relationship with Lyft goes far beyond providing vehicles to Lyft drivers: as part of its $500 million investment in January, GM will share its knowledge of autonomous vehicles with Lyft, while Lyft in return will share its expertise in ride-sharing services with the objective of creating fleets of autonomous vehicle networks across the U.S. That isn’t a part of GM’s relationship with Uber, not to mention that The General didn’t invest a whopping half billion USD into it.
As such, it’s important to note the distinction: GM seems to be content on selling its vehicles to drivers of any and all ride sharing services. But it only has an ownership stake in Lyft, with which it is aiming to develop a fleet of autonomous vehicle networks. Hence, GM relationship with Lyft runs deeper and appears to have more long-term potential.