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General Motors (GM) will begin testing a car-sharing program that will allow owners of GM vehicles to rent out their cars when not in use. Cars today sit unused 95% of the time according to The Economist. By putting their cars on GM’s Maven platform, car owners will be able to share the rental revenue that GM collects. GM’s Maven unit already rents out its own vehicles through services like Zipcar and also lends cars to Uber and Lyft drivers. Facilitating a peer-to-peer sharing service would allow GM access to more rental vehicles and establish an additional stream of revenue without owning and maintaining more cars. With its move away from its business model as an automobile manufacturer and toward that of mobility provider, GM may do for their vehicle owners what Airbnb has done for homeowners. General Motors may exit the industrial economy and enter the sharing economy.
GM’s self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, has developed driverless Chevrolet Bolts with an application that converts them to robo-taxis in a ride-hailing fleet. Last September, Daimler AG of Germany and SK Holdings of South Korea led a financing round for Turo, another company which allows car owners to list and rent their vehicles. Toyota Motors (TM) bought into car sharer Getaround last year. Elon Musk, writing about Tesla’s intention for self driving cars said, “You will also be able to add your car the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app.” Musk continued, “This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla.”
Owning a car in the 21st century may become as antiquated as owning a horse became in the 20th century. In the next decade, 80% of vehicle sales will be to fleet management companies rather than individual consumers according to
Jaime Moreno, CEO of Mormedi, a strategic design consultancy. “You
don’t need to own cars to live in the city anymore,” Mr. Moreno said in
reference to car subscription programs like Porsche Passport and Book by