Maven Will Let GM Owners Rent Out Their Cars

But the option will only be available in three Midwestern cities.

General Motors’ Maven division is launching a “peer-to-peer” car-sharing service, meaning GM owners and lessees will be able to rent out their cars when they aren’t driving them. The service is launching in “beta” form in Chicago, Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In those cities, the peer-to-peer option will be offered alongside the existing Maven car-sharing service, which uses vehicles owned by GM. A relatively new wrinkle in the car-sharing game, peer-to-peer services allow people who already own cars to rent them out, Airbnb style. Rather than simply add more cars to its own Maven fleet, GM believes it can rely on owners to help meet what the automaker believes is growing demand for car sharing.

“We want to give GM owners an opportunity to capitalize on this demand,” Julia Steyn, Vice President, General Motors Urban Mobility and Maven, told The Drive. Steyn will rent out her own newly-purchased Chevrolet Equinox through Maven.

“When I put this Equinox on the Maven platform, if it’s rented seven days a week, I could make $500 a month,” she said. 

In addition to the amount of time a vehicle is rented, income will depend on how much owners charge for rentals. Owners will set their own rates within a range set by Maven, Steyn said. Maven will also list recommended rates based on how much comparable models rent for in its own fleet. Owners can rent out any vehicles from GM’s four brands, as long as it’s a 2015 or newer model. GM will back rentals with a $1 million insurance policy, and will vet all drivers before approving them to use the service.

Maven chose Chicago, Detroit, and Ann Arbor as the launch cities because they are “probably the most established Maven markets,” Steyn said, and also have a “robust” core of GM owners. Detroit is GM’s hometown, after all, and Chicago and Ann Arbor are two of the largest nearby cities. Peer-to-peer car sharing will remain in beta mode in these three cities for the time being, but a Maven statement said it will “collect insights and learnings from the beta for additional U.S. launches this fall.”

Steyn said Maven did not encounter any regulator issues in setting up its beta test, but existing peer-to-peer car-sharing company Turo has already gotten into spats with the City of San Francisco and rental companies in Utah over its operations. It’s possible that Maven will also encounter some resistance from regulators or incumbent competitors in certain markets.