General Motors swoops in to harvest Sidecar’s carcass

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It’s not just the taxicab industry that ride-sharing services like Uber are disrupting — they are also forcing traditional automakers to enter the foray in order to stay relevant and competitive. And General Motors is the latest example.

Following its recent $500 million investment in Lyft, GM has acquired the assets and remains of the first peer-to-peer car-sharing service, Sidecar, according to Bloomberg. Sidecar shut down just last month, and GM is also bringing 20 of Sidecar’s employees, including one of the co-founders, Jahan Khanna, to help with its own efforts as well as with its partnership with Lyft. The deal is estimated to cost under $39 million.

Bloomberg reports that GM is looking to introduce its own suite of transportation services, called “Maven,” which would potentially allow owners of GM vehicles to give rides to other people commuting in the same direction. The trademark filing for the name Maven described the service as “application software for connecting vehicle drivers and passengers and for coordinating transportation services; software for use in planning, monitoring, and controlling urban transportation.”

GM is one of many automakers trying to take on Uber, a company worth around $40 billion that is also toying with autonomous vehicles for its ride-sharing service. At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Ford announced that it is expanding its fleet of autonomous cars, and at CES 2016, Ford’s CEO Mark Fields contended mobility services are worth an estimated $5.4 trillion, while the car industry itself is worth $2.3 trillion. Ford is also working on its own ride-sharing service, and Daimler AG acquired German ridesharing apps RideScout and mytaxi.

Last fall, General Motors launched a pilot program called Lets Drive NYC, a service available only to residents of the Ritz Plaza, that allows them to use an app to reserve a vehicle they can access at any of 200 garages in Manhattan.

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