GM offers peer-to-peer car sharing service — WTF?

Rent Michael’s Chevy Avalanche in Colorado Springs

The around 6 million subscribers to GM’s OnStar connected car service can now rent out their cars to other drivers via a deal between the auto giant and peer-to-peer car sharing startup RelayRides…

RelayRides — which raised money from GM’s venture arm — says it is the first third party to use OnStar’s API, and later this Summer GM plans to open up the API to other third party developers, too. OnStar uses satellite-connected on-board units to offer connected services, but the primary application to date has been to summon help in the case of an accident or other emergency…

Using the OnStar system, RelayRides members can use a mobile app to reserve a car and unlock and lock the door. Owners of the vehicles can earn money from renting out their cars, and set the price for how much they want their cars to be rented. Depending on the location of where the car is parked, car owners can earn hundred of dollars per month, says RelayRides…

Auto makers have an interesting relationship with car sharing. Car sharing has been proven to lead to fewer cars being purchased, so in a small part, car sharing is cannibalizing the auto maker’s business. But a variety of automakers are realizing they can benefit from car sharing in various ways, including getting their cars in front of the young and urban who normally wouldn’t be test driving their cars. Other companies, like Daimler, and Volkswagen, are trialling their own car sharing pilots.

Per usual, Katie Fehrenbacher tweaks my brain with possibilities previously outside my ken. She describes the good, the bad – and the possibilities just beginning to happen in this shiny new business. Worth reading. Maybe worth trying?

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