During the first day of 2011 CES OnStar announced that they will be extending their services to “most top-selling vehicles from major manufacturers.” We aren’t sure exactly what that means yet or how far back the compatibility list will go but chances are if you bought a car within the last year or two your ride will probably be eligible. Just like on GM vehicles the actual OnStar unit will be totally contained in a rear view mirror. The OnStar add-on unit will run $299 and Best Buy will have their “Geek Squad” install it for you for $75-$100. From there you just need to pick a service plan (the cheapest of which is $18.99 a month or $199 a year) and you’re all set to get all the same OnStar perks that GM owners have been getting for years. If you’re interested in picking one up then just check out Best Buy this spring.
Las Vegas, Jan. 4, 2011– 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.