Car ownership ain’t what it used to be. Despite more people buying cars than ever before, the big auto companies are experimenting with alternate ownership models under the assumption that their sales will drop in the future. The most recent example is General Motors, which announced Tuesday a new peer-to-peer car-sharing service, in which owners of GM-branded vehicles would rent their cars to other people.
The service, which will be operated under the automaker’s two-year-old Maven car-sharing company, has been in works for months. But it will be limited at first: car owners who live in Chicago, Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, can list and rent out their own personal cars when they aren’t using them, much like Airbnb users do with their homes and apartments.
It is likely GM is intrigued by the commercial prospects. Turo, which claims about 4 million users in more than 5,000 cities in North America and Europe, says it appeals to travelers because they can find short-term car rentals that are cheaper than those of its corporate peers. The company has raised money from Daimler AG and is currently valued at $700 million. Getaround raised $45 million last April, with Toyota among the companies buying in.