Holden's car-sharing service aimed at gig-economy drivers, Maven, is celebrating its first anniversary on Australian roads.
At the moment, the service – which has a number of different forms overseas – is limited to 'gig-economy' drivers looking for flexible leasing terms with insurance, scheduled servicing, roadside assistance and no kilometre limits.
In other words, it's aimed at UberX or delivery drivers trying to make a bit of money on the side, who don't have the money to buy a car for the job. Holden uses the term "side hustle" in its official materials, for those playing along at home.
Having first tested the service with an in-house 'Campus' setup for employees, Holden then launched Maven Gig to the public on April 10, 2017. There are now 1000 cars on the roads, and Holden says more than 1000 people have signed up.
Holden isn't alone in offering its vehicles to Uber drivers and the like: Subaru does something similar through DriveMyCar, and Ford partnered with CarHood a few years ago.
"With 1000 active members across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, Australians are embracing this service and we are looking at new ways that we can expand our offering,” said Matt Rattray-Wood, general manager for Maven Australia.
"This first year has shown us that there is a strong appetite for our service in Australia, as we look to the future we are diving deeper into the sharing side of the business, exploring apps and what other opportunities there are to provide new mobility solutions for businesses and individuals."
It's worth wondering, 12 months into the Maven project, why Holden is pushing forth with this idea when, locally at least, its competitors aren't.
"Freelance work and side hustles are becoming the norm as the public embrace new ways to work, and it’s incredibly exciting that as a car company we have the opportunity to be able to expand into this space," Rattray-Wood said.
"Maven Gig allows members to earn money and enjoy all the benefits of car ownership, all on their own terms."
Gig economy aside, the way people think about car ownership is changing as well. Although Warwick Stirling, head of innovation for General Motors, rejected the notion of 'millennials' shying away from car ownership, he admitted they're getting to major life milestones later.
"Consumers are changing, we have sort of alluded to that, people say millennials don’t buy cars? Or don’t want to buy a car? I am not sure that’s 100 per cent true," he told CarAdvice last year.
“We certainly see that there is a life stage difference, millennials are having kids older, getting married older, but once they have kids and dogs, they tend to pivot from ride sharing and show more propensity to buy a car.”
Along with the push towards different stages of life, research suggests car ownership rates are slowing in heavily urbanised parts of Melbourne, where parking and traffic make cars more a headache than a help.
It's worth bearing in mind, the rest of the country is still seeing steady growth in ownership per-household.
Coupled with the fact General Motors wants to be building fully-autonomous vehicles without pedals or a steering wheel by 2019, having the fleet and software for car sharing ready to roll shapes as a major advantage over Holden's competitors.