OnStar Jumps Into Retail Aftermarket

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LAS VEGAS —

GM’s OnStar subsidiary will begin selling its service through the retail aftermarket in the spring when it begins offering a rearview mirror with embedded OnStar technology.

OnStar demonstrated during International CES, here, prototype applications of entertainment, communications and safety features that would be enabled by Verizon’s 4G network, including video-streaming services that would be available only to backseat occupants or to all occupants when the car is not moving.

In a bid to expand its market beyond owners of newer GM vehicles, OnStar said a rearview mirror with embedded GPS, cellular, Bluetooth and accelerometer will be priced at a suggested $299, excluding installation costs estimated at $75 to $100.

The mirror offers OnStar’s key services, including automatic crash response, emergency assistance, turnby- turn navigation, stolen-vehicle location assistance, one-button access to emergency and roadside services, and hands-free calling. Service to the rearview mirror costs the same as service to OEM OnStar systems, with subscription tiers starting at $18.95/month or $199/year.

Ingram Micro’s consumer electronics division will be the master distributor for the new in-vehicle, retail OnStar line for cars already on the road.

The mirror, like OEM OnStar systems, connects to the OnStar service via the Verizon Wireless cellular network.

The rearview mirror will launch through Best Buy as On- Star’s preferred national retailer as well as through independent and regional mobile electronics specialists and consumer electronics retailers that offer installation.

The rearview mirror should fit just about every vehicle from 1999 on, OnStar said.

The company so far has validated that the mirror works properly in 99 percent of the top 20 selling non-GM vehicles made over the past 10 years, or about 55 million cars and trucks. OnStar expects to certify additional models in the months ahead.

OnStar, introduced in 1996, is now in its ninth generation; has more than 6 million subscribers in the U.S., Canada and China; and plans to expand to more countries. It’s available in more than 40 model-year 2011 GM models.

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