New York - GM's OnStar subsidiary plans in mid-April to begin a phased launch of a service that lets vehicle owners track their own cars.
The Family Link service will be available to vehicles equipped with the OEM version of OnStar. The company said it has no plans right now to extend the service to its aftermarket product, called OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle). "We're always considering new services that will bring value to our subscribers, but currently we're focused on selling and expanding the [vehicle] compatibility of OnStar FMV to make it available to more customers," a spokesman said.
The initial OEM launch in mid-April will be open to select OnStar subscribers who will receive an invitation to sign up for Family Link. More subscribers will get an invitation in June, and the service will roll out to all U.S. subscribers throughout the year, the company said.
The $3.99/month service lets users log onto OnStar's Family Link website to view a map with the vehicle's location at any time. Users will also be able to receive email or text message notifications to let them know the location of their vehicle. Subscribers can the day, time and frequency of the alerts.
Family Link is the first "a-la-carte" service offered by OnStar.
More than 4,500 subscribers tested the service in 2011, and subscriber services VP Joanne Finnorn said the users "told us that Family Link provides them peace of mind by staying connected to their family when they're on the road."
To use the Vehicle Locate feature, subscribers log onto the Family Link website, navigate to the Vehicles tab, and click on Locate. Once the vehicle has been located, the vehicle's icon will be shown on the map. Additional location details will appear by hovering the PC's mouse over the vehicle.
To set up a Location Alert, subscribers log on to the Family Link website and navigate to the Alerts tab and click on Add Alert. The subscriber can request the day of week and time to receive an alert and whether they would like to be notified by text, email or both. Location Alerts will include the address the vehicle is near as well as the date and time.