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OnStar Readies July 24 Aftermarket Rollout

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 &

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.