Although Lyft is looking for money to compete with Uber, the ridesharing company turned down an offer to be purchased by General Motors, according to Tech Insider, citing a report by The Information (subscription required).
General Motors and Lyft are already working together. Earlier this year GM bought 9 percent of Lyft for $500 million. The two companies are currently testing self-driving technology, and are using a fleet of specially equipped Chevy Bolt EVs in San Francisco, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona to further develop the technology. The plan is to introduce a fleet of self-driving Lyft rideshare cars that don’t need drivers.
According to The Information, General Motors initially approached Lyft about buying the company. Lyft checked with other potential buyers but then turned GM down. Apparently, Lyft now plans to seek an additional funding round to further its fight with Uber for U.S. market share.
Uber recently merged with rideshare company Didi in China. According to Tech Insider, this enabled Uber to focus more on market dominance in the U.S. Although Lyft’s market share has been growing in larger cities, Uber still rules the industry.
Strategically, General Motors appears most interested in building a self-driving vehicle rideshare network with Lyft. Like Uber, Lyft has stated that its plan for the future includes fleets of driverless cars, at least within cities.
The two companies have not set a time for their joint autonomous car testing development program to actually put cars on the road. Rumors that the first cars would be launched in January 2019, based on a IEEE report, were squashed when the report was retracted. The first phase would likely still have drivers behind the wheel. Eventually, however, General Motors would be able to leverage its experience and the ongoing network to expand broadly, with GM building the electric, self-driving cars and Lyft overseeing the ride-hail network.
So now it looks as if GM and Lyft will continue their partnership, with General Motors possibly increasing its investment in the company — but Lyft is not selling to the General.