OnStar to go mainstream

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Indy Lifestyle Online

General Motors' in-car navigation and communication brand OnStar is to be launched for non-General Motors vehicles for the first time, the brand confirmed January 4.

Consumers will be able to subscribe to the OnStar service and integrate it into their vehicles, packaged as a standalone rear-view mirror which will be available in mainstream retail stores.

Once installed, the mirror will extend the features found in General Motors' cars to other brands, with the Detroit giant estimating that its mirror will work on 99 percent of the top 20-selling non-GM vehicles over the last ten years.

It will offer turn-by-turn navigation services, hands-free calling, automatic crash response services and one button access to emergency and roadside services.

The repackaging of the OnStar system is a significant change in the business model of the brand, until now focused on competition with Ford's SYNC system, which is free and comes as standard with some Ford models.

Now, the $299 mirror (which requires installation, expected to cost between $75 and $100) will compete with standalone navigation systems such as those offered by Garmin and TomTom, considerably widening the user base of the OnStar system.

Like the OnStar features pre-installed in General Motors vehicles, users of the mirror will need to pay a subscription fee, which will vary in cost dependent on services included but will start at $18.95 a month or $199 a year.

http://www.onstar.com

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