Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

GM will test an Airbnb-like service for cars

GM will test an Airbnb-like service for cars

Vehicle sales that seem to be peaking and technological advances have led the company to think outside the box, and that's inspired thoughts that the auto giant is transitioning from manufacturer to mobility provider. Originally brought to light via Bloomberg, the program will fall under the Maven umbrella, the auto rental service GM introduced back in early 2016.

In just a few months, GM will reportedly launch a new pilot program that will enable GM owners to rent out their vehicles to interested drivers.

The tests will begin in early summer through GM's Maven car-sharing unit, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't public. Under the pilot program, owners of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles who sign up will be able to rent their cars to other drivers. This not only benefits vehicle owners looking to make some extra cash, but also GM as the auto giant will be able to generate revenue without having to "carry more hard assets on its balance sheet".

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A spokesman for Detroit, Michigan-based GM declined to comment.

GM's Maven unit rents vehicles to drivers, including customers looking for short-term wheels.

This program would only be open to GM owners, and GM would take a slice of the revenue. By launching a peer-to-peer service, Maven would get access to more vehicles without its parent having to carry more hard assets on its balance sheet. The company will be entering a market catered to by smaller players, with Turo and Getaround being the most successful so far. Tesla has hinted at a future peer-to-peer sharing network, though the vision CEO Elon Musk laid out in July 2016 alludes to a service using fully self-driving cars.

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