GM Tests Car-Sharing in Manhattan, Taking Aim at Zipcar and Uber

GM to Roll Out Car-Sharing Service in NYC
  • Let's Drive NYC starts pilot program at Ritz Plaza apartments
  • Automaker plans to expand service in another U.S. city as well

General Motors Co. can’t sell cars to many apartment-dwelling New Yorkers, so it’s testing a plan to rent them one.

GM will try a pilot program with residents of the Ritz Plaza apartments in Times Square, offering them a crack at renting GM cars by the hour or the day to get around New York. For many New Yorkers, especially those in Manhattan, owning a car is onerous because parking is limited and very expensive. They rely instead on cabs, the subway or ride-hailing services such as Uber.

If the program works, GM may expand it; there already are plans to try the service in another U.S. city that the company didn’t identify. GM also has a pilot program with its Opel brand in Germany.

“We view evolving consumer preferences, such as car-sharing, as real business opportunities,” President Dan Ammann said.

Let’s Drive NYC, as the program is called, starts today and serves only the 479-unit Ritz Plaza, which is on West 48th Street. GM’s rates are undercutting what Avis Budget Group Inc.’s Zipcar unit charges. Zipcar charges $12.75 an hour during the week and $94 for a day and more on weekends, according to its website; GM will charge $10 an hour and $75 for the day. As residents make lease payments, they’ll get credits for three hours of rental a month.

Ritz Plaza residents can rent a Chevrolet Trax compact sport utility vehicle or Chevy Equinox small SUV.

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