CEO of GM's Cruise driverless vehicle unit hints at offering low-cost shared rides

(Reuters) - The chief executive of autonomous vehicle company Cruise signaled on Wednesday the General Motors Co GM.N subsidiary intends to offer shared rides "at a radically lower cost" as part of a bid to move eventually "beyond the car."

FILE PHOTO: A Cruise self-driving car, which is owned by General Motors Corp, is seen outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco where it does most of its testing, in California, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Heather Somerville/File Photo

Dan Ammann, former president of the largest Detroit automaker and now the CEO of Cruise, wrote in a blog post that to “make order-of-magnitude — rather than incremental — improvements in transportation, we need to build alternatives that are superior to the status quo in every way.” The post was headlined “We Need to Move Beyond the Car.”

Cruise’s mission, he said, is to “reduce congestion through making shared rides more compelling by providing an awesome experience at a radically lower cost.” Only then, “will we truly move beyond the car to the transportation system that we deserve.”

Ammann did not elaborate on Cruise’s plans in his post.

Cruise on Wednesday said it would offer more details at an event in San Francisco on Jan. 21.

Cruise previously announced a partnership with Honda Motor Co 7267.T to develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for use in ride-sharing. Honda is a minority investor in Cruise.

Cruise was valued at $19 billion in May after a $1.15 billion round of investment. GM’s market capitalization stood at $50 billion on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Ammann scrapped a goal of launching a Cruise robotaxi service by the end of 2019.

GM rival Ford Motor Co F.N and its development partner Argo AI are planning to launch self-driving vehicles in commercial ride-sharing and delivery services in the United States in late 2021.

Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O Waymo is already providing ride-sharing services in Arizona in partnership with Lyft LYFT.O.

Reporting by Joseph White in Detroit; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown