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OnStar units to be sold separately from vehicles

Wed, 05 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0800

Not sure what to do with those extra Best Buy gift cards left over from the holidays? Consider picking up OnStar as a stocking stuffer for next year.

General Motors will sell its safety and communications technology in mirror units available at Best Buy starting in the spring. They will cost $299, plus installation which is expected to run $75 to $100. Service plans will be offered for $18.95 a month, or $199 a year. More retailers will be announced later.

OnStar launched in 1996 and offers crash response, navigation, stolen-vehicle assistance and hands-free calling, among other features. It's drawn praise for its ability to connect drivers in emergency situations, and the service has grown to nearly 6 million subscribers.

Previously, OnStar was a standard feature only on GM cars and trucks, as the Detroit giant owns OnStar. Now, the company will look to capitalize on the growth of its technology to carve a place in the growing telematics industry with a broader strategy and potentially greater revenue.

The off-the-shelf OnStar units will be compatible on most older GM cars and models made by other companies.

By Greg Migliore