The two major car makers, General Motors and Audi both have launched new car-rental operations in San Francisco. While traditionally car makers partner up with rental companies such as Enterprise or Hertz, it is a new type of rivalry for manufacturers to directly work with renters. While GM has a program called Maven, a smartphone app which allows renters hourly rates and complete access from parking lots and garages city wide, Audi has Audi on Demand where concierges deliver to renters for a daily rate via an app.
Maven's Chief Operating Officer Dan Grossman - "The auto industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 50." The whole point of Maven is to introduce renters to GM's vehicles and technology. With the rise of car-sharing and ride-sharing apps, Maven will allow them to take a foot hold of that market which may transfer into eventual car sales. Maven prices ranges from $8 an hour for sedans like the Cruise and Malibu and up to $24 for an hour for an Escalade. The price includes fuel and insurance and if a vehicle is low on gas, GM asks renters to fill it up using a gas card included in the car. GM started Maven earlier this year and already operates in eight other US cities which include Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, New York City. The most notable benefit of Maven is GM's unique OnStar infrastructure which allows a more sophisticated and streamlined experience than their competitors. Maven's members can use their smartphones to unlock the vehicles and use OnStar to help find a destination or extend the length of a reservation while driving.
Audi's program has been operating in San Francisco since last year and offers 18 models ranging from its plug-in e-tron for $120 a day to its ultra-luxurious R8 Spyder convertible for $1235 a day - the same model used in the "Iron Man" films. Unlike Maven, insurance and fuel are extra. The higher performance models are less about the function about getting from point A to point B but more about the emotion of driving them. The company found that 15 percent of renters use this program for an extended test drive. Audi decided to offer concierge delivery and pick up to emphasize and enhance the service's premium nature.