Mobile Insight

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OnStar released from the GM cage

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At CES GM announced plans to start making their OnStar in-car navigation system available for non-GM cars. This truly is a bold move by GM. For a long time GM has viewed the OnStar system as a product differentiator and up until now the system has only been available in GM owned models.

According to GM, the OnStar incarnation that they announced today will be compatible with 99% of car and truck models in use in the US today. In a very innovative move this system is packaged as a rear-view mirror. It offers almost all the functionality of the in-dash OnStar systems that come pre-installed in GM vehicles. This is a creative way to get around the aesthetic objections that some consumers have towards after-market products that require special mounts. Also GM is going to leverage Best Buy’s retail channel to get these to customers and to provide assistance with installations.

I bet this business model transition didn’t happen easily or overnight inside GM. It takes a lot of courage to open up what was once perceived as a unique differentiator. Someone fought a good fight to convince GM to try this bold experiment. I hope that GM succeeds with this experiment. They might have to tweak the pricing a bit (varying the options) but they have a good chance of getting certain market segments to adopt this. Young (and inexperienced) drivers and older (and less tech-savvy) drivers are the obvious customer segments to go after first.


Written by Varma Chanderraju

January 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Automotive, Mobility

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