Maven, a car-sharing company owned by General Motors, has announced expansion of its service to San Francisco as it work to roll out in more cities across the U.S.
The announcement was made by the company late Thursday evening. San Francisco becomes the ninth city in the country where the car-sharing service is now available.
The cities where Maven, which launched at the beginning of the year, already maintains a presence include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
But the car-sharing company may find things a bit tough in San Francisco where rivals such as Getaround and Zipcar have already gained some ground, having been around for several years. But it appears to have its plan well set out on how to claw market shares from these popular programs.
Maven thinks its service would appeal particularly to tech professionals in one of the major technology hubs in the country.
“Maven’s blend of new cars with seamless technology provides a fully connected car sharing experience that brings our members closer to the experiences, places and people they love,” Julia Steyn, the company’s VP of urban mobility, said.
In September, Maven introduced a one-way rental service which allows drivers to pick up a vehicle at location and leave it at another without any need to bother about returning it. The company will hope this can help make it an instant hit in the Bay area, even though Zipcar already offers similar service.
The car-sharing program represents General Motors’ interest in taking advantage of alternative transportation services. The leading American automaker appears to be so much interested cashing in on the millennials and inner-city professionals who wouldn’t want to be encumbered by car ownership.
“Either GM spends money to convince someone who doesn’t want a car to buy a car, or spends it getting into another business,” Maven Chief Operating Officer Dan Grossman said.
GM will benefit from profits made by Maven. This will be in addition to the revenue it gets from sales made to the car-sharing business, which will also pay for gas, maintenance and repair.
The use of cars made by GM may give Maven an upper hand in the San Francisco market. These vehicles offer high-tech features such as SiriusXM radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless connectivity. Vehicles from some of its rivals, including Getaround, do not offer them.
Maven says customers can reserve any of its 60 highly-sophisticated cars placed in different areas across the city using an app. The vehicles can be unlocked through the use of a smartphone. Hourly rate for renting a car is pegged at $8, which somehow takes its high-tech integrations into consideration.
To date, more than 12,000 reservations have been made with the car-sharing program, according to Grossman.
GM reportedly hopes to use Maven to convince drivers who are reluctant about owning a car to buy one. The electric car Bolt is one of the models that the auto giant is expected to introduce to customers through the car-sharing program.
The American automaker also holds a 9 percent stake in ride-sharing service Lyft. In January, it invested $500 million in the startup.