General Motors’ car-sharing company Maven has been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and other lingering concerns, the company said on Tuesday (April 21).
“After critically looking at our business, the industry and what’s going on with COVID-19, we have made the tough but necessary decision to wind down our business,” the company said in an email to Maven’s 230,000 customers, The Verge reported on Wednesday (April 21).
GM said the decision came down to an evaluation of how the service was doing. Early in 2019, the head of Maven left her post. Halfway through the year, the company began winding down the number of cities in which it operated, shutting down in major markets like Boston, Chicago and New York City.
At its peak, Maven was available in 17 cities across the U.S. as an alternative to companies like Zipcar and Car2go. The company also offered the option for car owners to share their own vehicles as part of the service.
There was also a service called Maven Gig, which allowed Uber and Lyft drivers to rent cars. That service will be shut down as well, although some of the drivers still have the rented vehicles. GM said that to protect people’s safety, the company will not require drivers to return the cars while there is still a risk of infection.
Maven could still be found until recently in other cities, such as Washington, D.C. and Toronto. But then the pandemic began shutting down much of normal life, and renting cars became much less important as everyone began to stay inside.
“We looked at Maven as a business as well as the car-sharing industry. It’s a high-investment business and operational costs are high. We felt it was best to focus our business in other areas where there’s greater potential for profitability and growth,” Katlynn Downey, Maven spokesperson, told the Detroit Free Press. She added that the 1,400 vehicles in Maven’s fleet will be sold at a dealer auction.
Pamela Fletcher, GM’s vice president of global innovation, said the company had gleaned extremely valuable information through the program and would use those lessons in future business dealings.
As the coronavirus has upended American life and shut down many sectors of the economy, GM is among many auto companies offering deferred or working with customers on restructured payment plans.