General Motors’ “Maven” car-sharing service, launched in January of 2016, is no threat to the automaker’s core business of building and selling passenger vehicles to private owners, says GM Vice President of Urban Mobility Julia Steyn.
Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street Monday, Ms. Steyn said that General Motors sees Maven as “very complementary to our core business. Our consumers are changing their preferences. They consume transportation as a service, especially in the big metropolitan areas like New York.”
Monday marked a major NYC expansion of GM’s Maven car-sharing service, which has already amassed some 35,000 customers between 17 major US cities. The service allows individuals to locate and utilize fleet vehicles throughout metropolitan areas for less than $100 a day. Operating costs like fuel and insurance are paid by General Motors, and available cars are located and accessed using a smartphone app.
“You seamlessly open your door with a phone and you just get in and go,” said Steyn.
Beside the fact that preferences are changing – especially among Millennials, who make up a majority of Maven’s users – General Motors sees Maven as complimentary to its core business in another way: exposing customers to GM’s product portfolio. With a range of different GM vehicles available at a given time, Maven users can try out specific car and SUV models from the automaker, meaning that each short-term car rental can serve as a test drive of sorts.
“To get customers excited about the cars that GM produces in an innovative way, this is huge,” Ms. Steyn told CNBC.