Profitable, and with 5.5 million subscribers under its belt, GM's OnStar vehicle telematics system is not for sale, according to a top General Motors executive. "At this point, OnStar is firmly a part of the new GM and is an integral part of GM's future strategy," reports Chet Huber, the outgoing president of OnStar. Huber, who has led the unit since its launch in 1995, made the statement yesterday during a media event with his successor, Walt Dorfstatter.

While GM has been ditching brands to cut expenses, OnStar seems to be doing very well. There are plans to expand the technology across the emerging Chinese marketplace, and its engineering team is determined to push development. "Innovation is at the core of OnStar, just not the dancing hologram type of innovation that some companies try to use as eye candy instead of substance," boasted Huber. The subscription-based system is credited with over 500 patents (and it continues to file for new ones at the rate of one every six days). OnStar recently added an engine-block disabling feature, designed to deter vehicle theft, and is working on its own form of text message integration and traffic reporting.

Even though the relationships with Acura, Audi, Isuzu, Lexus, Subaru, and Volkswagen have ended, executives have not ruled out licensing the technology to other automakers either.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]