• Apr 10, 2006
Consumer Reports (CR) took a sampling of 204 OnStar subscribers to see how they used General Motors' telematics service, and then examined whether it is worth the monthly fee. CR discovered that only 63 percent of subscribers had ever pressed GM's vaunted blue button. Of those who did, 44 percent used OnStar's hands-free phone system, while 22 percent triggerd OnStar because they locked their keys in their vehicles or needed assistance for issues like flat tires.
OnStar costs between $17 to $70 a month. Adding navigation (called "turn-by-turn") to the basic service costs over $34 a month. CR, though, discovered that over 50 percent who used the service during the free trial period planned to subscribe to it, while over 70 percent who paid said that they plan to continue their subscriptions.

A breakdown of the sampling and more details can be found at the link.

[Source: Consumer Reports]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good on you CR, hee hee love when people mess up. lol
      • 8 Years Ago
      On Star is one of the best things that has ever happened for the traveler. I use mine all the time, and for personal safty on the road nothing is better. However, Consumer Report is a waste of ink and paper, you must take everything they print with a grain of salt.

      Reading or subscribing to CR is not worth the time or money. There is very little truth or fact between the covers of CR.
      • 8 Years Ago
      it can also do a running check of the different sensors in your car and send a report to your computer.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Onstar is great, but at $24 a month in Canada, that works out to the price the monthly price of a home security system. Suddenly, one has to think twice about renewing with Onstar when the free year is out. Cut the price to around $10, and I wouldn't think twice. Figure that you own the car 6 to 8 years, there's an extra $1,000 for GM.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Paul...
      "The wider the confidence interval you are willing to accept, the more certain you can be that the whole population answers would be within that range. For example, if you asked a sample of 1000 people in a city which brand of cola they preferred, and 60% said Brand A, you can be very certain that between 40 and 80% of all the people in the city actually do prefer that brand, but you cannot be so sure that between 59 and 61% of the people in the city prefer the brand."
      (source: http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm)
      So with 1000 people in a city (probably less than the # of owners of OnStar) then you can be sure that 40%-80% actually do prefer. See my point. They (CR) has millions of subscribers. OnStar has millions of subscribers. Why only 204? If you can get a larger sample, wouldn't you?



      PG...
      I did take a look at my link. Did you see post #3? I did end up noticing the concierge plan. I saw the error and corrected it before anyone else even posted. There used to be a third column (where there are two in my link) that listed that plan. Again, GM must not be pushing it for some reason because they make you look for it at the bottom instead of having a third column in the link.

      But I guess OUR expectations should be changed, PG? I mean, the title is Should You Pay for OnStar. Not Here are Our OnStar Subsriber findings. If you are going to let people know if they should pay for something shouldn't you give lots of detail? They approached it like a toaster test and like "you know what it is all about" so we'll just tell you things like, (paraphrasing) "some of the features can be had with cell phones and other things".

      I've found that no one I talk to knows what OnStar is all about (all it offers). Maybe CR could see the safety and other advantages in it and do a little better in describing it. They sure took the 750 wors or less to mention how it is close to just having a cell phone or other things you can buy out there. Was that part of the survey? They describe what they want which is nothing to make it look like a glorified cell phone.



      Marcello Mastroianni...
      Please read on with the last paragraph you only gave a sentence of...
      "A cell phone, navigation system, or even a map will duplicate some of the service's features. But buyers should be aware that like any cell phone, there are places OnStar will not work. If your sole reason for considering OnStar is for emergency help, keep in mind you might still be on your own."

      I could say that of any Japanese car CR just loves over: If your only purpose in buying the Civic is 100% bullet proof reliability keep in mind you might still find your self broken down over the years of ownership. But, you'll never see that piece of reality in CR. No, just reality when it can help not sell a GM product.

      Anyway, the article sucked CR style. Period.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Man, what's up with you CR haters?

      #2, take another look at your own link and click on "Luxury and Leisure Plan" The price is right there.

      The article is a survey of users, how average people use the system. You don't do an in-depth technical review in 750 words or less. Time to modify expectations around here.

      At least the CR reviewers aren't worried about GM pulling its advert $$.

      Sorry to hear about your dishwasher #8...that was a joke right?
      patricia sullivan
      • 8 Years Ago
      First off I'll never again relay on CR comments again...I bought a dishwasher they said was ultra quiet and it's no better than my old one!
      Regarding "On Star", we have used it many times and been grateful for it, but our philosophy is "if we never need it it is worth the price of having" just for the security. A cel phone is worhtless if you are in an unfamiliar area and have no phone book for that place to look up a GM dealer. When this happened to us we were especially grateful to have "On Star" to contact and lead us to a dealer. For women who spend a lot of time on the road alone, especially at night, it is a "must"....just having someone to stay on the line with you and get help as fast as possible is worth every penny. Cel phones simply cannot compare with "On Star".
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another useless CR report.

      Want to talk expense, a yearly subscription to CR.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Looks like a lot of people have jumped to conclusions and posted comments without actually reading the CR article!

      CR did *not* give OnStar a bad review. They simply noted it's pros and cons, weighed it against the price, and concluded that the value of OnStar should be decided by the consumer. Quote: "OnStar is not inexpensive, but the added peace of mind it provides might make it worth the cost".

      Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
      Donald Berds
      • 8 Years Ago
      WOW!!! On-Star is the greatest thing I ever experienced on an automobile...hands free phone with voice comands " Buy American " as my Cadillac which took me a long time to afford is a dream machine and I am a Vet and think that true American's should be buying American cars as when Toyota or Honda take the lead in Cars it will be a sad day so GM or Ford are the Blue & White in the American Flag and the Red is the Bad blood trying to be #1 so everybody love your neighbor's black or white and know the middle class are the guts of America and We must not look down on anyone who works hard to feed there family like the Mexicans do and it's time we prayed together for peace as we are so blessed to be Born in America...Don Berds
      • 8 Years Ago
      I recently bought a new car equipped with OnStar and sure OnStar is pretty nice. BUT, I really needed it this past week and since the car was having problems which for a new car is another story....... the OnStar had no power in other words ........the darn thing was useless.....it couldn't work! So I was helpless. I ended up having to call my husband who was working to come to my aid! Just a consumer FYI to consider. Thanks for "listening".
      • 8 Years Ago
      For an average motorist "idiot star" will protect them from locking their keys out, or directions if they get lost. I have a cell phone, and a map in the glove box. Since the communications and GPS service relys on signal strength and availability for the system to work, how much better off will I be than if I simply remember where the "hide-a-key" box is, and how to read the map? Oh, sorry, we are, after all, trying to be "idiot proof".
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