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Car Companies That Are Looking Beyond Vehicles to Stay Afloat

As anyone with good financial sense knows, it’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re a multibillion-dollar automotive company realizing your industry is changing faster than you can keep up, now probably isn’t a good time to double down and stick with the status quo. As a result, many of the world’s largest automakers are rapidly expanding in ways that haven’t been seen in decades.

In the early to mid-20th century, a well-rounded portfolio was commonplace in the auto industry. Ford’s early vertical consolidation model made it a major player in logging, steelmaking, and rubber. Later, its acquisition of Philco put it in the consumer electronics business. General Motors and American Motors owned Frigidaire and Kelvinator, respectively, both refrigeration and air-conditioning brands. And GM and Chrysler both had huge military and aerospace contracts, with Chrysler even contributing to the design and manufacture of the Saturn V rocket.

Now, with the rise of new tech and connectivity redefining the way we live, automakers are realizing they need to expand their horizons if they want to survive another century. Looking at some of the biggest automakers in the world, we’ve found 10 lucrative examples of companies going outside of their industry to make money.

1. General Motors: Maven

Maven statistics

Maven statistics Maven is a ride-sharing company. | General Motors

In 2016, General Motors launched Maven, its own ride-sharing company. Although that’s not unusual in this day and age (many brands have toyed with the idea of ride-sharing), the program has since expanded to 17 cities across North America. And it announced a new perk that highlights another one of GM’s marquee products: the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt.

For $229 a week, Uber, Lyft, and GrubHub drivers (among others) can lease the new EV and put it to work. Although it’s too early to see any effects from the program, it offers drivers the opportunity to put one of the most advanced cars on the road to work, for little more than the standard lease, fuel costs, and general wear and tear of a traditional car.

Next: A surging luxury brand wants to use ride-sharing to test autonomous driving programs.