General Motors (GM) is launching a pilot program this summer that is an Airbnb-type service for cars.
Sources said the program will begin this summer through the automaker's Maven car-sharing unit, which allows owners to put their vehicles on the platform for rent and share their profits with GM.
The service could become a full-scale business if the pilot proves to be a success. A spokesman for GM declined to comment.
GM is certainly not the first company to offer this kind of service: Turo has almost five million signed up on its website, and its car listings have tripled to 200,000 in the last two years. The company raised $92 million in funding last year led by Germany’s Daimler and South Korea’s SK Holdings, which valued the startup at about $700 million. And Getaround raised $45 million last April, with Toyota Motor among its investors.
In addition, there are reports that Tesla is planning to get into the peer-to-peer lending market, although CEO Elon Musk wrote more about a service that will utilize self-driving cars.
“You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost,” Musk wrote. “This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla.”
Alexandre Marian, a director in the automotive and industrial practice at AlixPartners, believes a peer-to-peer strategy can work better than car-sharing services that require owning and maintaining vehicles – not to mention that automakers also have a vast network of vehicle owners.
“Carmakers are preparing for disruption, so they are experimenting with different models,” Marian said.