From: Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published March 27, 2012 06:40 AM

GM Investing in Car-Sharing

Corporate America is joining the access economy. You can already see signs of this trend with companies like Hertz, BMW, Ford and GM partnering with collaborative consumption companies, or even start a sharing service of their own. BMW, as we learned at SXSW has partnered ParkAtMyHouse.com, Ford partners with Zipcar, Hertz started its own car sharing service — Hertz on Demand, and GM has invested in RelayRides. It’s interesting to see the growing level of interest of large corporations in the sharing space, which sometimes seems to be at odds with the economic model their sales are based on. Take for example the case of GM.

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Unlike BMW, Ford or Hertz, GM invested in a company that connects people who need a car with vehicle owners. In other words, RelayRides creates a peer-to-peer market that maximizes the utilization of existing cars, hence reducing the need in adding more cars. Now, not only that GM invested last year an undisclosed amount in RelayRides, but its OnStar division is also working with RelayRides to make the matching between owners and lenders easier. The concept, according to RelayRides, is that any GM car owner who lists his car on the RelayRides marketplace can link his OnStar and RelayRides accounts. This allows a borrower to reserve and unlock a GM car with nothing more than a mobile phone.

In all, it looks like GM is playing an important role in the growth of RelayRides, which announced earlier this month that it is expanding its service nationwide. And the question that comes in mind is why GM is doing it? Did the company forget it makes money from selling more cars, not less?

Relay rides graphic from GM.

Article continues at TriplePundit.

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