Automakers discover what they don’t know about transportation

General Motors Co. usually isn’t the place for direct feedback from drivers. Want to purchase a Chevy Malibu or get your Cadillac Escalade fixed? Deal with the local dealer, not the automaker. That’s what makes Maven, GM’s car-sharing app, a warning about learning to please customers.

Consider this one-star review by a user, identified as Jose Z., who complained that the app timed out when he tried to reserve a car: “Nice try GM,” he wrote on Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store, “but you’re trying to play in the wrong field. Stick to big trucks and dealerships, not tech and user experience.”

Other carmakers rushing to embrace this new business model, in which cars are more of a service than a product, have been met with similar complaints: buggy apps that crash or time out, dirty cars that smell like smoke, vehicles that don’t unlock when the driver arrives. Maven, with an average

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