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OnStar units to be sold separately from vehicles

Wed, 05 Jan 2011

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