Uber partners with GM's maven in car-sharing business

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【Summary】Uber announced on November 1st that it will partner with Maven on a 90-day pilot program in San Francisco to rent GM cars to its Uber drivers.

Original Claire    Dec 18, 2016 7:35 PM PT
Uber partners with GM's maven in car-sharing business

Not long before General Motors funded the Chinese car-sharing company Yi Wei Xing, its US subsidiary Maven began expanding to 10 cities since it was launched in January of 2016. This is quite a remarkable pace. And now, more businesses are coming: ride-hailing giant Uber is cooperating with the hot car-sharing service provider to rent GM cars to its drivers.

Uber recently accounced that it will partner with Maven on a 90-day pilot program to start the trials in San Francisco and see how it goes. With a weekly subscription fee of $197 (taxes included), a driver whose car couldn't meet Uber's standards could rent a General Motors car from Maven to continue their business. And besides ferrying passengers, Uber drivers could also use the car for their personal trips.

Such a win-win model came as a surprise to the public. Not long ago, General Motors teamed up with Uber's rival Lyft for an Express Drive Program, allowing Lyft drivers to rent its cars. GM further noted in a press release that the expansion went quite well – 30 percent of new Lyft driver applicants actually request an Express Drive vehicle in their sign-up, and it has already driven almost $2 million in earnings for participating drivers through last July of 2016.

Now both rivals are in the same boat of car-sharing services. That means the market can be very promising for them. Getting money from two competing parties makes General Motors the biggest beneficiary.  

Regarding the rental ees, GM vice-president of Maven and Urban Mobility Julia Steyn told the Automotive News that the subscription pricing between Lyft and Uber drivers is "at parity."

Early in January of 2016, General Motors bought bankrupt Sidecar and set up Maven as a car-sharing service company. Meanwhile it funded $500 million to Lyft. Both companies are expanding significantly in scale within a short period of time. As an automaker giant and long-time automobile veteran, Ford in recent years is spending on broader efforts within the car-sharing business. They are aiming to provide alternatives for traditional car ownership, and explore some profits in the emerging market under a new technological push.

For people who can drive but couldn't afford a car, such a rental service could enable them a way of making money. For increasingly congested public roads in metropolitan cities, sharing a car instead of owning a car can significantly decrease the number of cars on the roads and might ease traffic jams. Just like green cars and driverless technology, car-sharing could be another future trend. That's why General Motors is now making investments around the world in an effort to capture some of this new market.

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