General Motors will, for the 2006 model year, equip three million vehicles in North America with its OnStar telematics system.

The increase of OnStar-equipped vehicles will grow incrementally, up from 1.4 million in 2004 and 2.2 million in the 2005 model years. OnStar is factory-installed and currently available on about 50 models.

"Our research has shown that safety and security aspects represent one of the most important factors in the consumers' new vehicle buying process and in using wireless applications in the vehicle," Thilo Koslowski, lead automotive analyst at Gartner, Inc., was quoted as saying by a GM statement. "Leveraging vehicle-enabled information and communication services to improve post-crash safety improves the market appeal of an automobile manufacturer's products."

Each month, OnStar receives more than 700 air bag 'notifications' following vehicle crashes. It also receives about 11,000 emergency assistance calls, and responds to about 600 stolen vehicle location requests, 19,000 requests for roadside assistance, 35,000 remote door unlock requests and 18,000 remote diagnostics requests.