General Motors jumps into peer-to-peer car sharing

Looking to make money renting out your car or truck?

General Motors thinks a lot of people are interested in making cash off their car, which is why the automaker announced Tuesday it is launching a peer-to-peer car-share business.

The business will operate under the company’s Maven brand, which already has a more traditional car-share business in several cities and more than 150,000 users.

For GM, expanding into peer-to-peer car sharing is the latest move to develop new revenue streams and business lines to complement the company’s core business, which is selling new vehicles.

Those who own or lease a 2015 or newer GM vehicle can list their vehicle on the Maven sharing app. Pre-approved car-share users will then be able to rent cars on the app. Owners or lessees renting out their vehicles will keep 60 percent of the revenue, while GM will collect the rest. GM will provide insurance for vehicles being rented out.

“If you want to have access to a car, you have access to a car. So I believe this is just expanding our opportunity to provide consumers what they want,” said Julia Steyn, vice president, General Motors urban mobility and Maven.

Steyn said she expects some customers will opt to buy more expensive models since they can offset the higher payments with the money they make from renting out their vehicles.

“What it allows you to do is truly afford maybe a more expensive vehicle because … this vehicle is going to make money for you,” said Steyn.

Not everyone believes that will happen.

“I would not expect a buyer would upgrade their car because they think they can make money renting it out through car sharing,” said Alexandre Marian, a director in the automotive practice at AlixPartners.

Marian estimates that 2 million to 3 million people in the U.S. pay to rent a vehicle through peer-to peer car sharing, though that number includes many nonactive users.

The two largest car-sharing firms in the U.S. are Turo and Getaround. GM is the first automaker to enter peer-to-peer car sharing, though some companies like BMW and Daimler have also launched car-sharing operations where the vehicles are owned by the company.

General Motors shares were trading up more than 1 percent Tuesday morning.


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