General Motors (GM), parent of Holden, has this week launched its car-sharing sub-brand Maven in Australia.
Dubbed 'Maven Gig', the service allows drivers to get on the road quickly and join the rising gig economy - which includes various ride-sharing and food delivery services such as UberX and UberEats.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Matthew Rattray-Wood, general manager of Maven Australia, said: "Maven Gig is our service for people who want to drive in the ride-share [industry]".
"What it allows drivers to do is rent a car for an all-inclusive weekly rate. They can drive an unlimited number of kilometres, they have their insurance covered, and all their service and maintenance paid for. There's also 24-hour roadside assistance, and they get access to new or very near-new Holden vehicles."
Although the service is charged at a weekly rate, Maven Gig terms specify a minimum of four weeks use.
The introduction of Maven Gig follows the trial of Maven Campus, which has been running since 2016 at GM Holden's headquarters in Port Melbourne to test car-sharing technology along with member usage and behaviours with the company's employees - and is under consideration for the wider public.
"Campus allows people to book a car by the hour or daily using an app," Rattray-Wood said.
"It's still a relatively niche market. But I do think there are more and more people that will be inclined to look at this service."
"I don't think this will ever replace car ownership, I think it's a really good complimentary service to traditional car ownership," he added.
Campus, meanwhile, has over 500 members who have made 4400 bookings. Over 2 million kilometres have been driven using Maven Gig vehicles, while Campus users have spent 100,000 hours behind the wheel.
Maven is now looking to expand its Gig service to other cities in Australia. The company has already been operating in the US since January 2016.
Pricing of the service varies, depending on the vehicle chosen. Initial costs and features are outlined below.
Price Per Week: From $215
Joining or exit fees: Nil
Lease Term: Minimum 28 days
Hand-back notice: 7 days
Unlimited Weekly KMs included
Comprehensive insurance included
(capped excess for any accidents)
Maintenance and servicing included
24/7 Roadside Assistance included
More players moving into ride-sharing
The launch of Maven Gig follows Ford's partnering with Carhood last year, which allows users to rent their vehicles out when they're travelling.
“It’s a million dollar investment for us, to support and co-promote with Carhood, mobility solution while providing vehicles that people may not have experienced before,” said Ford Australia CEO Graeme Whickman at the partnership’s launch.
“So we can get people into a Ford vehicle, to experience some of the pretty cool technology – MyKey through to Sync 2 – and they’re getting a very interesting technology and connectivity experience along with a very interesting mobility-based, app-based solution as well.
Subaru Australia has taken similar steps, making a fleet of its cars available to the DriveMyCar service for Uber drivers to loan, exposing potential new owners to the latest models in the Subaru line-up.
Speaking with CarAdvice earlier this year, Subaru Australia boss Colin Christie said DriveMyCar has been a useful marketing tool.
"We're utilising the DriveMyCar service, and getting people to experience the car through an Uber ride, and a lot of people who would've perhaps never thought about a Subaru before are getting to see and feel the car through that approach," he said.
"One of the things we've said is, we purposely didn't put any metrics - for a sales rate - on the DriveMyCar program. DriveMyCar was about starting to learn about car sharing, and to help people see and experience the product. We've had a lot of Uber drivers, who have been using it, asking to purchase one."
Catch our interview below with Maven CEO Matthew Rattray-Wood, and get more from the CarAdvice podcast right here.