General Motors, one of the Detroit’s Big Three, is on the road to reinventing itself and the car industry. A huge company that produces vehicles in 37 countries under various brands, GM like the rest of the auto industry is in the doldrums. To get back out of the rut, it is planning a pilot program where they will allow car owners to rent out vehicles that are not in use. If successful, the program can transform into a full-fledged business and further GM’s transition to a mobility provider.
The premise for their test will be similar to AirBnB’s approach to real estate. Car owners who aren’t using their cars can rent them out to other people. The pilot program will be carried out through GM’s existing Maven car-sharing unit, where both owner and the automaker get a share from the revenue.
All Eyes on the Future
This move isn’t surprising as GM’s stocks have been stagnant for years. A lot of investors are actually worried about car sales with the onslaught of new tech that is poised to disrupt the auto industry. The company’s share prices rose dramatically when it unveiled services like Maven, which rents out vehicles to individual drivers as well as testing out plans for self-driving cars. As stocks and expectations rose, it isn’t surprising that the company will follow suit and try something to compete with the ever increasing ride-sharing apps and services.
While modern services such as ride-sharing and peer-to-peer car sharing are still new and niche, they are steadily growing and are poised to disrupt the industry even further. It has proven to be an effective means of transportation and in 2017, it has officially crushed the traditional taxi service. As taxi operators and drivers continuously file lawsuits against ridesharing companies, the volume of users and operators just keep on increasing, according to numbers published by ride-sharing company, Uber.
Whipster is another transport related application that is looking to shake up the current ride-sharing industry. More options mean more decisions to choose from. Whipster aggregates and collects the different prices from various ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft to help out the consumers.
Other Companies are Following GM’s Lead
Aside from the transportation industry, ride-sharing apps are predicted to have a big impact on the automotive industry. There are a lot of fears and speculations that if transportation becomes easier, cheaper, and more accessible, people will have even fewer reasons to purchase their own vehicles. With the increasing prices of gasoline and worsening traffic situations, car makers are now worried that consumers may no longer purchase new cars.
GM isn’t the only one with the same idea, as both Toyota and Volkswagen have come to the same conclusion. In 2016, Toyota announced that it made a strategic investment in Uber while Volkswagen planned to invest in Tel Aviv-based Gett. Lyft is another market disruptor as it is another steadily growing ride-sharing app and service that is also getting more partners to work with. There is now a huge market for ride-sharing apps and it is changing how both consumers and manufacturers think about the future of vehicles in general.
This comes at the heels of AirBnb’s highly successful peer-to-peer service where people can rent out their homes to complete strangers. With this as proof, peer-to-peer services such as ride-sharing services will become the new norm in the future. Aside from the big name car manufacturers, there are also startup companies that are planning to emulate AirBnb’s success in the mobile industry such as Turo and Getaround. Even Tesla is hinting at a future peer-to-peer sharing service. CEO Elon Musk has alluded to a similar service that will make use of their self-driving cars in the future.
Alexandre Marian is a director at AlixPartners LLP and has said that carmakers are now preparing for disruption which is why they are now experimenting with different business models to keep up.