2005 marks watershed year for OnStar: subscriber base approaches 4 million
DETROIT, Mi, Dec. 26, 2005 -- Without much fanfare, OnStar by GM has answered the call of millions of drivers with the simple push of the "Blue Button." In the process, OnStar has become not only a key differentiator for GM cars and trucks, but a highly innovative company with far-reaching influence within the technology sector.
With increased usage and strong acceptance, OnStar grew to nearly four million customers in 2005, capping a watershed year in the company's ten-year history. By leveraging the experience, technology and resources of GM and a host of technology companies, OnStar has been able to harness the capabilities and creativity of the still-emerging telematics industry, to offer customers the most comprehensive in-vehicle safety, communications, directional assistance and personal services in the industry.
Since its beginning in 1995, OnStar has evolved from a "nice-to-have" safety feature to a comprehensive suite of communication and security services that customers increasingly rely on for peace of mind. According to an OnStar survey, over 75 percent of OnStar subscribers say they prefer to have OnStar in their next vehicle, and almost 90 percent of subscribers say they would recommend the service to others.
"OnStar is a great example of the innovative thinking and world-class technology that only GM can offer," said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO. "OnStar's unique features and services complement our great cars and trucks and enhance our customers' overall vehicle experience. The decision to make OnStar standard on all models over the next couple of years highlights our promise to offer the best cars and trucks with the best value," Wagoner added.
Highlighting a remarkable year, OnStar:
* Announced that it would become standard on all GM retail vehicles in the U.S. and Canada by the end of 2007.
* Increased the subscriber base by 30 percent over 2004, approaching 4 million customers.
* Saw its unaided brand awareness grow significantly, comparable to tech industry giants Sony(R) and Microsoft(R).
* Introduced OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics (OVD), a GM-exclusive service that conducts remote diagnostics and sends a personalized monthly report to the subscriber. Initial receptivity of the new service has been strong, with over 430,000 subscriber activations since it was introduced in September.
* Played a key role in growing the subscriber base of XM, America's No. 1 satellite radio, which surpassed five million subscribers in September, more than double the number of a year ago. Factory-installed XM Satellite Radio is currently available on more than 90 percent of the GM vehicle lineup, making it among the fastest technology rollouts in GM history.
* Leveraged its sophisticated communications infrastructure and network to aid people in need during the evacuations leading to, and the relief efforts in the wake of, several hurricanes this year. OnStar opened its entire suite of services free-of-charge to provide telecommunications, route support and emergency assistance for thousands of subscribers.
"The growth of OnStar is due in large part to our ability to bring to market relevant technologies that meet customers' evolving needs," said Chet Huber, OnStar president. "We've established a strong technology foundation, which serve as the building blocks for future offerings. What began with core safety features such as roadside assistance, emergency services and route support, continues to expand with new offerings and features like Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN), hands-free calling, and OnStar vehicle diagnostics.
"While the range and depth of OnStar's technology and services has grown tremendously, the beauty of the system and real customer value lies in the surprisingly simple, easy-to-use interface. Staying true to our brand position of powerfully simple technology has really been important to our growth," Huber added.
"The dot-com era businesses that survived and became successful did so in an environment of high-profile IPOs, rampant equity speculation and other hoopla that drove many automotive technology offerings into the ditch," said Thilo Koslowski, technology analyst for Gartner, Inc. "All the while OnStar was quietly adding millions of paying customers and expanding service. In legitimizing opportunities to incorporate consumer technology into vehicles, the company has left the door open for continued innovation that offers real value to consumers."
Representing OnStar's commitment to increase value for its subscribers, OnStar has launched six generations of hardware during its short ten-year history. Debuting exclusively on Cadillac models in 1997, OnStar is now available on over 50 GM models today.
In an average month, OnStar advisors respond to more than 340,000 routing calls, 44,000 remote door unlocks, 25,000 roadside assistance calls, 32,000 remote vehicle diagnostic checks, 500 stolen vehicle location assistance requests, 900 air bag deployment notifications, 15,000 emergency service requests and 5,500 good Samaritan calls for assistance. To date, OnStar has had more than 53 million subscriber interactions including more than 12 million routing requests, 1.25 million door unlock requests, 750,000 Roadside Assistance requests and 25,000 air bag deployment notifications.
About OnStar: OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services using wireless technology and the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network. OnStar is available on more than 50 GM models for 2006. OnStar will be a standard feature for GM's retail customers in the United States and Canada, covering all segments and prices except for some commercial vehicles. OnStar safety and security services include automatic notification of air bag deployment, stolen vehicle location assistance, emergency services, roadside assistance, remote door unlock, and GM Goodwrench remote vehicle diagnostics. OnStar Hands-Free Calling allows drivers to make and receive hands-free, voice-activated calls from their vehicle. More information about OnStar can be found at http://www.onstar.com .
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