A GM spokeswoman confirmed the OEM plans to shut down the service in major markets like Chicago and Boston “within the next few months,” the Wall Street Journal reported. However, Maven will continue to operate in Los Angeles, Detroit, Toronto and Washington, D.C., the spokeswoman said.
Maven’s pullback is not the first time that GM closed the doors on a new transportation service that allows consumers to opt out of vehicle ownership. In November, the OEM reported that it was hitting the pause button on its vehicle-subscription service, Book by Cadillac.
“GM and other automakers are trying to think of new ways to get people on board transportation as a service, but they aren’t seeing a massive buy-in,” Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis at Edmunds, told Auto Finance News. “OEMs in this age of mobility are experiencing so many hits and misses. It makes sense for automakers to throw everything and see what sticks. With Maven, it’s a mobility trend in some markets. GM gave it its best go and fell short of expectations.”
Several OEMs — including BMW USA, Ford Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co., and Volvo Cars — are exploring alternative transportation services like car-sharing and subscription services. However, these services have come into question by analysts as being too costly for affordability-focused consumers.
“We have seen many pilots — subscriptions, ownership sharing, full-service lease — contract, expand, modify and fold,” Jim Houston, J.D. Power‘s senior director of auto finance, told AFN. “Still feels like many consumers are not there yet, or they don’t see the value of not owning or leasing their own vehicle.”
Another area that has analysts questioning alternative transportation services is scale and competition. “OEMs need to flesh out costs, [as these services] are not scaleable,” Acevedo said. Additionally, rental companies like Enterprise are keeping up with consumers’ affordability needs, he noted.
“These rental companies are giants in their own capacity, and they will undercut [the OEMs] and adjust their pricing models to ensure they are the best choice for rental vehicles,” Acevedo said. “It’s tough to be disruptive when you have a competitive giant in that short-term car rental space.”
Samuel Ellis, the principal consultant for Auto Experience, concurred, noting that Maven struggled because the car-sharing service didn’t “transform anything like Uber, Lyft or Carvana. [Maven] is just a variation on rental, going down to hourly. Simple economics show it wouldn’t work with scale.”
Prior to the announcement, Maven’s car-sharing service was available in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Ann Arbor, Mich., according to its website. Maven initially launched as an app-based short-term rental service for GM in 2016.
GM’s captive finance arm, GM Financial, declined a request for comment.