GM’s car-sharing service Maven to exit eight cities

GM is scaling back its Maven car-sharing company and will stop service in nearly half of the 17 North American cities in which it operates.

A spokesperson who confirmed Maven was shutting down in some cities, without identifying the locations or number that will remain, said the company plans to focus on markets that have the strongest demand and growth potential.

The WSJ, which was the first to report the impending shutdown, said Maven will continue to operate in Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Toronto. However, TechCrunch has received information from Maven customers that the car-sharing and peer-to-peer service in Washington, D.C. was also shutting down. The Maven Gig service will remain in Washington D.C.

TechCrunch will update the article with more details about which markets Maven plans to exit.

Maven’s car-sharing service is available in Ann Arbor, Mich., Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as well as Toronto, according to its website. Maven Gig, a service it launched in 2017 that rents out vehicles to rideshare and delivery drivers who use apps like Uber, Lyft and UberEATS, operates in Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, NYC and Washington, D.C. 

GM conducted a market-by-market analysis to determine which cities it would exit, according to the spokesperson.

When Maven first launched in 2016 it helped bring (and expand) several of GM’s existing test programs under one brand. The mobility division initially launched as a car-sharing service akin to Zipcar.

At the time of its launch, Maven was essentially three car-sharing services in one that included a city-based service that rented GM vehicles by the hour through an app and another for urban apartment dwellers in Chicago and New York.

A smartphone app, which is central to Maven’s business, is used by customers to search for and reserve a vehicle, unlock the door and remotely start, cool or heat the car.

But Maven has had its share of challenges. Demand was lackluster in some markets and the team tweaked, added or removed programs altogether in an effort to figure out what would work.

Maven CEO Julia Steyn left GM in January. TechCrunch has also received tips from users complaining about the service and the platform — even being locked out of the vehicles in areas with limited cellular service.

The company launched in 2017 Maven Reserve in Los Angeles and San Francisco to allow customers to rent its GM-branded vehicles for a month at a time. It also started Maven Gig in hopes of tapping into a growing demand from rideshare and delivery app drivers.

In July, the automaker launched a service in Chicago, Detroit and Ann Arbor that let owners rent out their personal GM-branded vehicles through its Maven car-sharing platform. The peer-to-peer car rental service was designed to operate in a similar fashion to how Turo and Getaround work.

The creation of Maven was an important milestone for the automaker. GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra used a study commissioned in the wake of the ignition switch engineering scandal to accelerate her plans to transform the culture and operations at the automaker. Dozens of executives participated in transformational leaders programs; Maven was one of the fruits that spun out of that.

Maven was part of a wave of initiatives and investments announced by GM in early 2016 that illustrated its new interest in unconventional transportation that moved past the traditional core business of producing, selling and financing cars, trucks and SUVs to consumers.

That year, GM invested $500 million into ride-hailing startup Lyft, bought the remaining assets and tech of ride-hailing company Sidecar and, most famously, acquired self-driving car startup Cruise.

Maven was notable because, unlike the other pursuits, this was its own commercial business.