Theo Thimou, Clark.com
The future of cars is coming and the idea of access to a ride when you need it — but not necessarily traditional vehicle ownership — is likely to take the driver’s seat going forward.
Pilot program with GM’s Maven service preps launch
Cultural pundits have noted that we’re undergoing a shift in which access is becoming more important than ownership.
Every year, you “own” less and less stuff. Think about media: You don’t necessarily need physical copies of books, movies and music these days because you have immediate paid subscription access to them through providers like Netflix, Apple, Google and others.
In the auto world, that idea is likely to bring about a sea change in ownership patterns, particularly among younger people.
Millennials seem less interested in owning and paying to maintain a vehicle than they are in hopping into an Uber of Lyft when they need transportation.
So the automakers all want to get ahead of this trend. They’ve been talking for several years about wanting to position themselves as mobility companies, not just manufacturers.
Now it seems the first step in that process is ready for rollout from one of the biggest auto makers, General Motors.
Using its existing Maven car-rental service, GM will reportedly launch a pilot program this summer that will let car owners rent out their vehicles when they aren’t in use.
Bloomberg reports that GM will try to grow the pilot into a full-fledged business if it’s successful. No word yet on which cities or parts of the country are being lined up for this test.
The idea promises to give GM access to a new revenue model in a changing auto industry. The cars currently available on Maven are owned by GM. But with this pilot program, the vehicles would be owned by individuals.
Full details of the plan have not yet been announced, but each ride that’s booked is expected to involve a revenue-sharing arrangement between the automaker and the individual car owner.
Other players in the market
Now, we should note that this idea is not entirely new.
Aside from the obvious parallels to sites like VRBO, HomeAway and Airbnb — which let you rent out a room or your entire property to earn extra money — this idea is already up and running in the auto space, too.
There’s also a second tier of competition that includes JustShareIt and Car2Go. As a general rule, these smaller companies offer some insurance coverage, but much less than the amounts you get with Turo and Getaround.
How much can you earn by renting out your vehicle?
While the exact financial arrangement with Maven has yet to be announced, we do have a sense of what other companies say you can make renting out your ride.
Getaround boasts on its website that you can earn up to $800 a month from your wheels when they’re not in use!
Turo, meanwhile, says average monthly owner earnings are $720.
Money expert Clark Howard has been following the progress of this industry for several years now. His take? There’s a possibility this could play a role in your overall financial strategy by essentially subsidizing a vehicle in your life if you want to own one.
“The reality is most of the time our cars sit idle. This is especially true in the case of frequent travelers and even daily commuters who leave their cars sitting unloved during the business day,” Clark says. “This is not going to make you rich, but it could defray the costs of auto ownership.”