OnStar Readies July 24 Aftermarket Rollout

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Detroit - The aftermarket version of OnStar will go on sale nationwide July 24 through Best Buy stores and other retailers, GM subsidiary OnStar announced.

Other retailers include Car Toys, Crutchfield, Fry's Electronics, Al & Ed's Autosound .and P.C. Richard & Son.


The company's aftermarket rearview mirror with embedded OnStar technology was unveiled at January's International CES for spring delivery, but shipments were later delayed until sometime during the summer to include an external microphone to improve hands-free cellular voice quality.

The aftermarket version of OnStar, called OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle), is built into a rearview mirror and provides the same core features as the OnStar service built into new GM vehicles, the subsidiary said. The hardware sells for $299.99, plus $75 for installation. Service plans start at $18.95 a month, or $199 a year, the company said.

The core features include automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, security services such as stolen-vehicle location and stolen-vehicle slowdown, and hands-free calling.

The rearview mirror delivers hands-free voice calling through prepaid packages of minutes purchased through OnStar, but users can also use their current cellphone for hands-free calling via the rearview mirror's Bluetooth, OnStar noted.

Automatic crash response uses a built-in accelerometer that detects the sudden shock of front, side, or rear impacts and triggers an automatic call to an OnStar advisor. If the driver doesn't respond, or responds to confirm a crash, an OnStar advisor directs emergency responders to the vehicle's GPS location.

Through the mirror's emergency assistance feature, consumers who press a red emergency button are immediately connected to a specially trained emergency advisor for assistance.  With the stolen vehicle location assistance feature, OnStar subscribers call 1-888-4-OnStar (1-888-466-7827) from any phone to tell OnStar advisors that they reported to police that their vehicle was stolen. OnStar advisors will then try to locate the vehicle through the mirror's internal GPS and provide the vehicle's location to police, the company noted.

With the turn-by-turn navigation feature, drivers 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.

In non-emergency situations, drivers can push the OnStar blue button or call 1-888-4-ONSTAR for help with problems such as a flat tire or running out of gas.


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