As if offering Buicks that people would actually buy isn't enough, the General is upping the ante in the ultra-competitive Chinese market by announcing that Chinese customers will be able to subscribe to its OnStar service beginning in 2009. The safety and telecommunications service will be jointly provided by GM and its Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), each of which will own 40% of a new joint-venture called Shanghai OnStar Telematics Company Limited. The remaining 20% of the new company will be owned by GM and SAIC's other joint-venture company, Shanghai GM. We now sit back and await the day that someone driving an Envoy in Tennessee hits the little blue button on his rearview mirror and is greeted in Mandarin.

[Source: General Motors]


GM, SAIC and OnStar Announce China Telematics JV Will Provide In-Vehicle Safety, Security and Communication Services

Shanghai – General Motors, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group (SAIC) and OnStar announced today the establishment of a telematics joint venture called Shanghai OnStar Telematics Company Limited. This is OnStar's first venture outside of North America in its 11-year history.

The Shanghai-based joint venture will provide a range of OnStar's trademark in-vehicle safety, security and communication services similar to those currently available in the United States and Canada, including advanced automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote door unlock, hands-free calling, vehicle diagnostics and turn-by-turn navigation.

Shanghai OnStar Telematics expects to begin rolling out its services in 2009, initially for vehicles manufactured and distributed in China by Shanghai GM.

"We are pleased to bring OnStar to Asia for the first time through Shanghai OnStar Telematics," said OnStar President Chet Huber. " China represents a huge opportunity to bring the safety, security, and societal benefits of OnStar to a whole new audience – Shanghai GM customers. This new venture builds upon our leading position in North America and the lessons from our more than 83 million customer interactions. In China, w e will provide cutting-edge services specifically developed in accordance with the needs of Shanghai GM and its customers."

OnStar, a subsidiary of General Motors, and Shanghai Automotive Industry Sales Co. Ltd. (SAISC), a subsidiary of SAIC, each own 40 percent of Shanghai OnStar Telematics . Shanghai GM, a 50-50 joint venture of GM and SAIC, owns the remaining 20 percent. The partners signed an official joint venture agreement during the Shanghai visit of GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner on Oct. 27.

"Over the past decade, GM and SAIC have established eight joint ventures that are engaged in vehicle and powertrain manufacturing, sales and service, automotive engineering and design, automotive financing, and now telematics," said GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale. "The launch of our new joint venture represents a significant technological step forward in our partnership."

"Like our other joint ventures, Shanghai OnStar Telematics will contribute to the ongoing development of China's automotive industry," said SAIC Vice Chairman Chen Hong. "Our goal is to work with our partners to make our newest joint venture the preeminent provider throughout China of world-class, innovative telematics services."

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