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GM Moving Away From Shared Mobility

General Motors announced that their car-sharing brand Maven will cease to exist by this summer. This decision is partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the main reason is that Maven is not making enough money [1-2].  

Maven has been GM’s personal mobility brand, offering car sharing in the U.S. since 2016. Since mid-2019, GM had already pulled the service from half of its operating sites. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, GM decided to stop Maven entirely since last month and critically examined its business. GM’s spokesman, Stuart Fowle, said that the shutdown of Maven is mainly due to the business not being perceived as profitable. Maven Gig, the exclusive service that reserves vehicles for Uber and Lyft drivers, is also disappearing but the time plan to finalize it appears to be longer [2]. 

GM said that operating the car-sharing business has brought the company a handful of learnings and developments, and these experiences will help to accelerate other GM’s business areas.

 

Personal Comments 

Months have passed, but the fire started by COVID-19 does not seem to cease. As people are staying at home, the need for mobility decreases drastically. The Guardian has created some interesting graphs on how the traffic flows in major cities look like now compared to the same period last year [3], which implies a significant impact on personal mobility services. 

GM’s decision to shut down Maven might be financially rational; however, backing out from the shared mobility arena permanently would mean that GM is strategically changing its position on the mobility/automobile market. To what extent the pandemic is influencing our decisions on mobility modes is still hard to measure, but it seems to give priority to private cars where owners have more control over the hygiene. Will the pandemic slow down the transition towards shared mobility and bring us back to the ownership-oriented lifestyle? What could we do in this case?  

 

Written by Anne Faxér, RISE. 

 

Sources

1. 2020-04-21. GM Shuts down car-sharing service Maven.

2. 2020-04-21. General Motors shutting down Maven car-sharing operation.

3. 2020-04-27. The traffic data that shows the road into- and out of COVID-19 lockdown