The rise of car sharing and autonomous vehicles may be threatening the traditional business model of large manufacturers like General Motors (GM), but the company’s newly launched car-sharing program Maven has created a model where new and old modes of personal mobility can coexist. GM’s head of urban mobility Julia Steyn discusses the company’s efforts to drive innovation while capitalizing on its century-old legacy.
On embracing changes in consumer behavior: “At the end of the day the car is a consumer product. If you travel throughout the globe it is very apparent that consumers stopped consuming transportation in the same way that we were offering it to them…And you can either close your eyes to the fact or you can embrace it.”
On leveraging existing assets to evolve the business model: “It’s always a question of ‘What is your starting point?’ When you have a lot of assets, you come to it with a starting point of a lot of responsibility, [but] how do you change responsibly and how do you really take all the assets you have and move it into a different direction?”
On catering to a new demographic: “[For] the youngest automotive brand, the average age is in the mid-50s and it goes only upward from there. So where [are those] who are 30, 40, 20? [They are] not part of this equation, or it is becoming a smaller part of this equation. So we wanted to launch a brand that is only focused on service with very different habit formation, which means a very different approach to marketing.”