GM Expects to Double OnStar Deployment
Over the next two years, General Motors expects to equip twice as many vehicles than it does today with OnStar, according to a story in Automotive News.The automaker said on September 14 that about 3 million GM vehicles in the 2006-model year will have OnStar. That would be a 57 percent increase over the 1.4 million vehicles equipped with OnStar in the 2004-model year, GM said. For the 2005-model year, GM expects 2.2 million vehicles sold in the United States and Canada to have OnStar, a 36-percent increase from the previous model year. OnStar's growth in GM vehicles will continue to be driven the automaker's program to include the technology and the first year's service fee as standard equipment or part of popular option packages. Capabilities of the OnStar system include automatic notification of airbag deployment, remote unlocking, vehicle location and tracking, remote diagnostics and summoning roadside assistance. For example, OnStar is standard equipment in the 2005 Buick LaCrosse sedan that replaces the Regal, where the technology had been a $695 option. After the first year, consumers need to pay a service fee to keep the system active. Currently, the fee for OnStar's basic Safe & Sound plan starts at $16.95 per month. More than 60 percent of consumers with OnStar in their vehicles have renewed the service, spokesman Terry Sullivan said. That retention rate covers several years, he said. The technology is available in vehicles from all of GM's divisions, including Saab. It is also offered in vehicles from Acura, Audi, Isuzu, Subaru, and Volkswagen.