OnStar now offers services to non-GM, older GM vehicles

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 6, 2011

OnStar has responded to the public clamor to make its safety, security and connectivity services accessible to non-GM and older GM vehicles. Starting this spring, OnStar’s core technology will be available through consumer electronics retailers.

OnStar has made this standalone rearview mirror, which bears all the features, to be compatible with most top-selling vehicles from major manufacturers.

The OnStar retail product offers 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.

In the U.S., this mirror will be available through Best Buy, its first strategic retail partner. The product will be offered as well through other selected consumer electronics retailers.

Consumers have to pay $299 for the mirror plus installation (which costs from $75 to $100). Consumers may opt from a range of service plans, which costs from $18.95 a month or $199 a year.

According to OnStar president Chris Preuss, thousands of drivers over the years have long requested to have OnStar in vehicles where it did not come as standard. With the latest retail product that the company has just introduced, it is now possible for customers to do so.

It was some years back when OnStar became standard in all the products offered by GM and this recent shift to consumer electronic space, Preuss continued, can be considered as the biggest development in the company’s business model yet. It displays a strong leap forward as it relates to the company’s plan to grow its business in order to give GM a stronger revenue base, he added.

This move also hopes that it will give OnStar the opportunity to develop even further its core offerings when it comes to the factory-equipped market. Lisa Farrell shared that the company is more than proud to be the first strategic retail partner of OnStar for this particular product. Ms. Farrell is the current senior vice president and general manager of portable electronics customer solutions group at Best Buy.

Ms. Farrell continued that this is a good way for Best Buy to make sure that their customers continue to be connected wherever and whenever. Best Buy wants to give consumers a one-stop solution. Aside from being able to buy this product at Best Buy, Ms. Farrell added, the company will also be offering to install it through its Geek Squad Auto Techs at the same location. All of the services will also be made available using the OnStar mirror.

This means that the driver can get the services without ever having to use a mobile phone or own one. Let us suppose for example that an accident occurs and the phone is either damaged or the driver is not able to use one. This feature makes sure that the emergency services are still alerted. The first-ever OnStar product was manufactured back in 1996. It had 38 different components and needed at least four days in order to be installed.

The current OnStar being sold is the ninth-generation of this technology. This same product can now fit in the rearview mirror, weighs around 23 ounces, and can be installed by a professional in barely an hour. All that needs to be done is to take off the rearview mirror and then replace it with this OnStar product that runs on an electric power source on its new mirror.

Press Release

OnStar Expands Beyond GM Cars

OnStar today announced that it is responding to repeated consumer requests by offering its industry leading safety, security and connectivity services for non-GM and older GM vehicles already on the road. A standalone rearview mirror packing all of OnStar’s core technology will be available this spring through consumer electronics retailers, and is compatible with most top-selling vehicles from major manufacturers.

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.

“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. It represents a quantum leap forward in our plans to grow our business and provide a strong new revenue base for GM and OnStar from which we can further develop our core offerings in the factory-equipped market.”

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.

“We’re proud to be OnStar’s first strategic retail partner for this innovative offering, which is one more way Best Buy can help our customers stay connected whenever and wherever they want,” said Lisa Farrell, senior vice president and general manager portable electronics customer solutions group at Best Buy. “We provide a one-stop solution for consumers. In addition to purchasing the device at Best Buy, we offer our customers the convenience of having it installed by our Geek Squad Auto Techs – all at one location.”

Ingram Micro will serve as the key distributor of this product and is the main contact for interested retail outlets.

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.

Key features of the OnStar mirror include:

· Automatic Crash Response. An accelerometer built into OnStar the mirror detects the sudden shock of an impact from the front, side, or rear of the vehicle and automatically calls an OnStar advisor. If the driver doesn’t respond, or responds to say there has been a crash, an OnStar advisor will direct emergency responders to the exact GPS location of the vehicle.

· Link to Emergency Services. By pressing OnStar’s red emergency button, drivers are immediately connected to a specially trained emergency advisor for assistance in situations occurring inside or outside of their vehicle.

· Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. If the vehicle is reported stolen to local law enforcement, OnStar subscribers can call 1-888-4-OnStar (1-888-466-7827) from any phone. OnStar advisors, available 24/7, can attempt to locate the vehicle through the mirror’s internal GPS and provide the location to law enforcement.

· Turn-by-Turn Navigation. With OnStar’s most popular service, drivers can press OnStar’s blue button and ask OnStar advisors for directions to a specific location or ask the advisor to find a point of interest such as a gas station or nearby restaurant. The directions are then downloaded to the OnStar system, which provides spoken turn-by-turn directions for reaching the destination.

· Roadside Assistance. In non-emergency situations, drivers can push the blue button or call 1-888-4-ONSTAR for help with problems such as keys locked in the vehicle, a flat tire, or running out of gas.

· Hands-Free Calling. OnStar allows drivers to make hands-free, voice-activated calls either through a Bluetooth connection to the driver’s mobile phone or through prepaid packages of minutes purchased through OnStar.

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 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. This 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 on OnStar’s innovation, the new OnStar mirror and a list of the compatible vehicles at launch, visit www.onstar.com.

Topics: onstar, gm, united states

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