GM's Maven Goes International, Launches in Toronto

Maven says hello to Canada.

General Motors

General Motors' Maven "mobility" division is going international. Maven is launching a car-sharing service in Toronto, its first city outside of the United States. Residents of Canada's largest city can now rent cars using the Maven smartphone app, while GM gains a bigger slice of the mobility-service market.

Maven is GM's answer to car-sharing services such as Zipcar, BMW-owned ReachNow, and Daimler-owned Car2Go. In Toronto, users can reserve a car using Maven's app at rates starting at 9 Canadian dollars ($7.14) per hour. Unlike some competitors, Maven doesn't charge a subscription fee, so customers only pay for actual use of a car.

Maven's Toronto fleet is comprised of 40 cars from Chevrolet (Cruze, Malibu, Tahoe, Trax, and Volt), GMC (Acadia and Yukon), and Cadillac (ATS and XT5). The cars will be spread throughout the city, with a focus on popular neighborhoods. The goal is to position cars where they will be in demand.

Traffic and lack of parking spaces can make owning a car a drag for urban residents, which has helped drive the popularity of car-sharing services over the past few years. General Motors expects Maven to reduce traffic congestion in Toronto, noting that car-sharing users are more likely to try other transportation alternatives, like biking and public transit. Toronto was also the first international city to get Lyft, which launched there last year.

Like many automakers, GM wants to expand from simply making and selling cars into the nebulous world of mobility services. In addition to car sharing, Maven also runs Gig, a service that offers lost-cost car rentals to freelance drivers working for services like Uber and Lyft. General Motors plans to launch a ride-sharing service with self-driving cars in 2019, and it's likely Maven will be a part of that as well.