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GM hits reverse with Maven carsharing as it closes service in eight cities

General Motors (GM) is set to shutter its Maven carsharing service in almost half of the cities in which it operates.

“We’re shifting Maven’s offerings to concentrate on markets in which we have the strongest current demand and growth potential,” the company said in a statement delivered to the Wall Street Journal on Monday, May 20.

Maven will end its service in “the next few months” in 8 of the 17 North American cities where it currently operates, including Chicago and Boston.

Although a full breakdown is yet to be revealed, GM was able to confirm that Maven’s app-based carsharing service will continue to be offered in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Toronto.

Maven competes with the likes of Zipcar and Car2Go, offering city folks a variety of GM cars at hourly and daily rates. Digital Trends recently tried it out.

As of June 2018, Maven said it had just over 145,000 people signed up to its service, with more than 290 million miles driven.

Automakers are increasingly keen to explore a multitude of new mobility platforms in the hunt for additional revenue streams. But the highly competitive environment is evidently proving too much for some players.

As part of its own expansion efforts, GM and Maven launched a peer-to-peer service in October 2018 that let car owners rent out their vehicles to others in a transaction that gave the company a 40-percent cut of the fees, with the rest going to the owner. It also offers short-term vehicle rentals to Uber and Lyft drivers for their ridesharing work via a service called Maven Gig. It’s not yet clear to what extent — if at all — these services will be affected by the ending of Maven’s carsharing service in the listed cities.

While GM is continuing to back Maven, the American car giant is also investing heavily in the development of self-driving cars in partnership with Cruise Automation, and has an eye on launching a robo-taxi service by the end of 2019. Waymo has been operating a limited robo-taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona, since the end of last year.

A recent study named GM Cruise, Waymo, and Ford as the three companies most likely to launch large-scale commercial services using autonomous vehicles. The study examined 10 criteria — including technical capability and business-plan viability — to reach its findings.

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Trevor Mogg
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