• Jan 4th 2011 at 10:15PM
  • 38
General Motors' OnStar division has been nothing short of a major success story over its 16 years of operation. But if there's one major problem that has historically stood in the way of it becoming an automotive technology juggernaut, it's that OnStar has always been limited to just GM vehicles. Until now.

Coming to a Best Buy near you in the spring of 2011 will be a complete standalone OnStar package housed in one aftermarket mirror. For $299 (plus an estimated $75-$100 for installation and a service plan starting at $18.95 a month or $199 a year), you'll get the whole suite of features offered by OnStar, including:
  • Automatic Crash Response
  • Link to Emergency Services
  • Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance
  • Turn-by-Turn Navigation
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Hands-Free Calling
This standalone system includes everything needed to get your non-GM (or non-OnStar-equipped older GM) car or truck hooked up to the OnStar network. Installation involves removing the old rear-view mirror, installing the new one and running a power line – which supposedly takes less than an hour and will be handled by trained technicians from Best Buy, though other retail locations seem likely in the future. Full details can be found in the press release after the break.

[Source: OnStar]
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OnStar Expands Beyond GM Cars:

OnStar "Blue Button" Safety, Security and Connectivity

Now Available for Most Top-Selling Vehicles on the Road Today

* For the first time, OnStar's industry leading safety, security and connectivity services are available to consumers in a standalone rearview mirror
* Retail product to offer key OnStar features including Automatic Crash Response
* Available in the U.S. in spring 2011 for $299;Best Buy announced as first strategic retail partner, with over 1,100 stores; other selected retailers to follow

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, visitwww.onstar.com.

About OnStar

OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of connected safety and security solutions, value-added mobility services and advanced information technology. Currently available on more than 40 MY 2011 GM models, OnStar soon will be available for installation on most other vehicles already on the road through local electronics retailers, including Best Buy. OnStar safely connects its more than six million subscribers, in the U.S., Canada and China, in ways never thought possible. OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a recipient of the 2010 Edison Award for Best New Product in the technology category. More information about OnStar can be found atwww.onstar.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought GM had trouble getting GM owners just to continue with OnStar after the free trial expires.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have Guidepoint installed in my Honda and I can tell you I have yet to use it in the 2.5 years I've had my car. I now strictly have it on the free package which is strictly theft detection which only activates if the car is driven without the keys.

      Curious to see how many people actually take advantage from Onstar.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Any program such as Onstar works as peace of mind for most people. Where it pays for itself and more is when someone is following or trying to stop you, you end up in an accident in a remote area, or you're lost. My brother paid for his for years, thinking it was worthless but his wife insisted. When they hit a deer in upstate New York and had no idea where they were, it save their lives.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "trained technicians from Best Buy"

        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, regular autoshops never have bad employees.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I used to work as an installer at Best Buy. It's true they will throw pretty much anyone on a car and don't offer the best training. I had to teach this one girl they put in our bay how to use a ratchet... After some training and experience she wasnt as bad as I expected I'll give her that.

        That being said, there are plenty of great and experienced installers at Best Buy, many MECP certified, they just lack the resources to do their job properly at a lot of stores.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's so much fun to be driving down the street and having the keyless entry box I had Best Buy mount and install break free from its double-sided sticky-tape and land on my feet. I shudder to think how they'll install OnStar.

        (That said, when I took it in the second time, there was actually someone competent and they mounted it properly)
        • 4 Years Ago
        My thoughts exactly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have always considered On-Star to be rather ridiculous, but hey, if GM can make money off of people by selling them turn-by-turn navigation to the tune of $200 a year (!!!) and all that other jazz, then go for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There's a lot more to it than just turn-by-turn directions. My MIL has used OnStar on more than one occasion to unlock her doors when she accidentally locked her keys in side. They did it quick, free*, and without damaging the window seals like you can with a slimjim. *the OnStar service of course isn't free.

        For me personally, it provides some piece of mind that if my wife were to get into a car accident, OnStar would/should be notified and they would in turn notify emergency responders, especially since she'd likely have our two small children in the vehicle with her (cue nighttime car wreck OnStar tv commercial).

        If someone steals our vehicle, OnStar can find it and/or remotely disable it (cue video of OnStar remotely disabling that vehicle during the police chase).

        And yes, if the POS GM nav system fails to work and the nav in my wife's phone fails to work, she could get directions from OnStar if need-be.

        All that said, I probably won't be adding OnStar to my Jeep. If our next family ride happens to be a non-GM vehicle though, we probably would add it to that though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would be interesting to see if any GM dealers get into the OnStar aftermarket program. My wife's car had OnStar as an option, but the car had option package 1SA (no options whatsoever). So, one would assume that it would be easy for a GM dealer to install OnStar in a vehicle that was designed to have OnStar.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I live in an area were there is very limited cell signal and i have never once had a salesmen inform me that onstar is useless with no cell signal,granted it has better reception then most phones,but in an area like were i live, if you crash,onstar is useless.
      I also only use gps when i am in the woods hiking,when i am in the car i use a thing called a map.
      • 4 Years Ago
      First chuck the rearview mirror if you're pulling a "Gone in 60 Seconds."
        • 4 Years Ago
        Heh, my thoughts too. If i'm stealing a car, i'm going to rip off the rearview and toss it in the parking lot.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We had a 2004 VW that had Onstar included, so as noted it has been franchised out to other production companies for some time. Actually we had two VW Passats, a 2002 and a 2004, and I don't remember which had it or whether both had that feature....
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would seem more fitting for Walmart or Sears to sell these systems, as most of their stores have an auto service center.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Alot of people don't want OnStar in there car to begin with. So why would people go out and buy it in the aftermarket. The OnStar system should have always been a free delete option in every GM car just like the lighter and ashtray.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Check out VehSmart.com same service as OnStar and much more. Works on any car built after 1996 less than half the price! Installation less than a minute!
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