The latest engine of growth in GM's efforts to reclaim its lost crown: OnStar. The 12th floor of the Renaissance Center is the OnStar Command Center where minions gather, mission-control style, to make sure that all is running smoothly for the 4.8 million subscribers to the OnStar empire. Eleven years into its life, OnStar's services now include keeping track of traffic jams, news, missing persons alerts, weather emergencies, giving turn-by-turn directions, and providing monthly diagnostic reports. On a busy day, the center gets 100,000 calls.

GM wants people to start buying its cars specifically because they come with the service. By the end of this year, 95-percent of GM cars sold in the US and Canada will have OnStar standard. The first year of service is free, and the hope is that by the end of 12 months the customer will find it indispensable. In case that isn't enough, in addition to the word-of-mouth advertising by 80 million people who have already been assisted by OnStar, GM is providing dealers with more training and increase its marketing of the service, noted primarily by moving Tiger Woods from the Buick campaign to OnStar.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]