GM CEO Akerson seeks to expand OnStar’s communications service

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 12, 2011

General Motors Co.’s CEO Daniel Akerson said that he aims to expand OnStar’s communications service by both raising the number of GM car owners who continue to subscribe after their six months of free service ends, and by selling the system to owners of rival auto brands. In 1996, GM launched its OnStar telecommunications business.

Management aimed to put the safety, navigation, and communication service in all GM cars, giving motorists the ability to plan travel, make phone calls, or even track stocks from behind the wheel.

GM had thought that subscription and fee revenue from electronic services would get so high that OnStar's profits might exceed those of its car business. This proved true as OnStar has modest profits while GM's car business lost $101 billion from 2005 until the bankruptcy in 2009.

Last January, Akerson has tasked former Revol Wireless executive Linda Marshall to head the unit. This year, GM will come out with a separate in-car entertainment system called Chevrolet MyLink.

Micky Bly, GM's executive director of global electrical systems, said that the technologies between consumer electronics and the automobile are now coming together. Bly said that according to the company’s research, infotainment is one of the top five reasons to buy a car. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: gm, ceo

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