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