General Motors’ Maven mobility brand isn’t limiting itself to being just a provider of cars and trucks.
“If there will be a UFO that is going to be able to be shared, I would expect at some point to be able to put it on the Maven platform,” Julia Steyn, vice president of GM Urban Mobility and Maven, told Automotive News.
Maven’s current car-sharing marketplace, which includes a recently expanded peer-to-peer program alongside short-term rental services, is just the first stage in what could be a diverse line of sharing services, Steyn said.
Cars and trucks are the main growth focus for now, she said, but future endeavors could include anything that sits idle — from lawnmowers to more expensive offerings such as RVs and boats.
“We want to bring Maven to a diversified and large marketplace that fits people’s personal needs and professional needs,” she said.
Such opportunities and Maven’s transition from rental agency to sharing platform are expected to be talking points for Steyn as she addresses investors this week at conferences in San Francisco and New York City.
Wall Street has been bullish on many of GM’s tech plays, including Maven and Cruise — GM’s autonomous vehicle unit — as ways to offset potential declines in vehicle sales.
But the long-term plan for Maven, its place within GM and how to expand it into a profitable business haven’t always been clear.
Maven started in January 2016 with its own fleet of cars available for short-term rentals through a mobile app. Even then, the company voiced its ambition to be a "personal mobility brand," not simply another ZipCar. What followed was a rapid, at times confusing, series of initiatives and partnerships that have since been simplified into two core businesses: Maven Gig and Maven City.
Gig, which rents vehicles to delivery services and drivers for ride-hailing services for a week or more at a time, has grown to account for roughly two-thirds of Maven’s roughly 6,000 vehicles in North America.
City — the short-term rental service for consumers — operates in the U.S. and Canada. GM has used it to help establish the brand and gauge demand for vehicles, which Steyn said was imperative before launching its peer-to-peer initiative.