Zipcar is making changes to take on a big new competitor entering the car-sharing space.
General Motors’ newly launched service Maven offers customers the ability to rent a car for as little as an hour, just like Zipcar has for years. The initiative began as a pilot program at the University of Michigan campus and is now available across Ann Arbor, Mich.
To combat GM’s efforts, Zipcar is introducing a new “flexible service” option that will let customers rent cars indefinitely without having to set a return location in advance. The program will roll out across select North American cities throughout the year.
Maven’s service is more limited for now, but GM is investing aggressively to adapt to the ways that car usage is changing. In addition to Maven, the company is investing $500 million into Lyft in a bid to develop driverless car technology.
Still, Zipcar says GM isn’t a big concern at the moment. “We feel that GM is late to the game, but again, we find it validating that more companies are recognizing the value of car sharing,” the company told The Detroit News.
Zipcar was acquired by vehicle rental company Avis Budget Group in 2013 for about $500 million.