OnStar Expands Beyond GM to Other Car Brands

OnStar now offers its safety, security and connectivity services for non-General Motors and older GM vehicles already on the road. Up until now, the OnStar electronics and user interface were installed only in GM vehicles as they were built in GM’s assembly plants.
That’s all changed. Clever engineering and some modern electronics have made it possible to package the entire system in a stand-alone rearview mirror, packing all of OnStar’s core technology.
“For years, thousands of drivers have asked us to get OnStar in vehicles that didn’t feature it as standard,” said Chris Preuss, OnStar president. “With the retail product that we’ve introduced today they certainly can. This move in to the consumer electronics space represents the biggest development in our business model since introducing OnStar as standard across all GM products several years ago.”
The OnStar retail product offers the key features that have made OnStar’s “blue button” an icon, including Automatic Crash Response, Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, one-button access to emergency and roadside services, and hands-free calling, including Bluetooth connectivity.
All these services are available directly through the OnStar mirror, without requiring the driver to bring along a mobile phone or even own a mobile phone. In the event of an accident, emergency services are alerted even if there is no mobile phone in the vehicle, the phone is damaged in a crash, or the driver is unable to use a phone.
OnStar will offer the mirror in the United States through Best Buy, its first strategic retail partner, beginning in spring 2011. The product will also be available through other selected consumer electronics retailers. The mirror will be priced at $299, plus installation (expected to cost between $75 and $100). A range of service plans will be available, starting at $18.95 a month or $199 a year.
Currently, the OnStar mirror is certified to work on 99 percent of the top 20 selling non-GM vehicles over the last 10 years, or approximately 55 million cars and trucks. OnStar expects to certify additional models in the months ahead.
OnStar is now in its ninth generation of technology. The first-generation OnStar product in 1996 was comprised of 38 individual components and could take up to four days to install. Now all of the technology required to deliver the OnStar experience fits inside a rearview mirror weighing only 23 ounces, and professional installation is expected to take less than an hour. It requires removing the vehicle’s current rearview mirror, replacing it with the OnStar product and running an electric power source to the new mirror.
For more information about the new OnStar mirror and a list of the compatible vehicles at launch, visit www.onstar.com.
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is currently available on more than 40 model-year 2011 GM vehicles. OnStar currently connects its more than 6 million subscribers, in the U.S., Canada and China. OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a recipient of the 2010 Edison Award for Best New Product in the technology category. — Dave Van Sickle, Motor Matters

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