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GM Holden launches monthly rental model

Jump in: GM Holden’s Maven long-term car rental scheme could provide an alternative to traditional financing or leasing, with up-front costs limited to a $400 refundable bond plus a pro-rata payment for the first 28-day rental period.

Holden, Maven first in Oz to offer subscription-style monthly car rentals to public

13 Nov 2019

GM HOLDEN has beaten Volvo to become the first car brand in Australia to offer a subscription-style monthly rental service direct to the public, launching the service via its in-house Maven car-sharing brand with entry pricing of $225 per week for a Trax LTZ small SUV.


The scheme might help Holden shift unsold stock amid the sales decline it has endured since 2011 and subsequently accelerated into a bloodbath after it pulled out of Australian manufacturing in 2017.


Described as being “designed to feel like vehicle ownership but without the hassles”, the new Maven offering includes unlimited kilometres, comprehensive insurance, roadside assistance, registration and scheduled servicing.


Customers only pay for fuel, road toll usage, fines and any wear and tear deemed ‘unfair’. Insurance excess is capped at $1000 for drivers aged 25 and older, or $1500 for drivers between the minimum eligible age of 21 and 24.


The service – available through selected dealerships in Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Sunshine Coast and Sydney – has no membership fee and a minimum 28-day initial period. Maven also offers app-based on-demand car rental from $8 per hour in these areas.


Essentially the new long-term rental scheme is an extension of Maven Gig, launched in early 2017 and aimed at drive-to-earn customers who work for rideshare and food delivery platforms. Holden says it has become the number-one vehicle service provider to rideshare drivers in Australia.


After the initial period, Maven’s new retail rentals are booked in seven-day blocks and to hand back or switch vehicles also requires seven days’ notice. Customers can go without a car for as long as they like or swap into a different vehicle category if their requirements or lifestyle change.


Other available Holden models include the Equinox LTZ mid-size SUV from $250 per week, Commodore Calais mid-size liftback ($265), Captiva LTZ large SUV ($275), Trailblazer LTZ 4x4 wagon ($300) and Acadia large SUV ($330).


For comparison, third-party subscription provider Carly – which is in the process of setting up a subscription service with Hyundai – currently offers a lower-spec Commodore RS from $259 per week, with $3000 insurance excess and usage limited to 1200 kilometres per month.


Maven is pitching the Colorado LTZ dual-cab ute as the “hero” of its fleet, from $300 per week including a towing pack.


A quick calculation reveals that renting a vehicle for a whole year using Mavan costs roughly a third of its list price before on-road costs, registration, insurance and maintenance.


Though Holdens are notoriously prone to deep discounts at the dealership as a result of rapidly diminishing sales, the Maven system does work in favour of the cashflow-constrained due to up-front costs being limited to a $400 refundable bond and a pro-rata rental payment for the first 28-day period, after which a weekly billing cycle kicks in.


On this subject, Holden says Maven is “seeing strong demand for new mobility solutions from businesses, whether it is a start-up or SME looking for access to vehicles as they grow their business”.


“Maven helps businesses reduce their capital outlays or allows them to reward employees with an upgraded work vehicle without committing to a long-term lease.”


Other use cases identified by Maven include people on short-term work secondments, longer business trips or extended holidays.


With almost 80 per cent of its 6000 existing customers being millennials, Maven expects this cohort to help Holden develop a new customer base as “more than three in four would choose to spend money on a desirable experience instead of buying goods”.


Maven Australia general manager Joanne Stogiannis said the company was “excited to re-launch long term rentals in Australia with a greater focus on the amazing Holden Colorado ute”.


“Since launching in October 2018 we have continued to grow our suite of flexible products and model range allowing our members to access premium Holden vehicles loaded with the latest connectivity, safety features and technology for a set weekly fee.”


Maven estimates that nine million ridesharing passenger trips have been completed in Maven vehicles, equating to 200 million kilometres travelled in its fleet of more than 2300 Holdens.


In addition to Carly and Maven, car subscription service Blinker is establishing itself in Australia to offer rentals through dealerships.


Volvo was expected to be the first manufacturer-backed subscription scheme in Australia with its ‘Care by Volvo’ program that is planned to launch in 2020.


Last year Ford started offering a ‘2nd Car’ membership facility that would give Ranger ute and Escape SUV owners short-term usage of a Mustang sportscar in return for an upfront $500 enrolment fee paid at the time of vehicle purchase, with a week or fortnight in the pony car available costing $250 and $375 for Ranger and Escape owners respectively.

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