GENEVA: OnStar to be 'revolutionary' in Europe - Opel chief
GM thinks OnStar, well established in US and China, will be revolutionary in Europe
General Motors' European chief, Karl-Thomas Neumann, believes that the rollout of the company's OnStar telematics system to Europe will have a revolutionary impact on the auto industry.
GM is planning to roll the 4G-based system out across all model lines starting with selected models from October of this year. The full suite of Opel/Vauxhall OnStar services will be provided free for a 12-month trial period and thereafter for an annual subscription fee.
The OnStar package in Europe will differ in a number of respects with the OnStar offering in the US, but Europe's will include a high-speed 4G-based Wi-Fi hotspot capability, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle tracker. A concierge style service will enable subscribers to talk to advisers about accident and breakdown emergencies, as well as more routine matters like vehicle diagnostics and sat-nav set-up (which can be handled remotely).
Around fifty OnStar advisers will initially be recruited to work at a dedicated call centre in Luton and they will be available for 24 hours every day of the year. At a push of an SOS button, OnStar users can request assistance whenever they deem it necessary, for example, if they witness an accident. The OnStar buttons will be located in the overhead centre console or the rear-view mirror on some cars.
Opel/Vauxhall executives were guarded on the question of how much the subscription fee will eventually be after a free first year to users. Brian McCreavy, who is heading the Luton call centre operation, told just-auto that the intention is to keep the fee low. "We want high take-up of this service," he said. "It will be significantly cheaper than the fee charged for OnStar in the US, which offers different services. Think of it as likely to be in the region of the cost of two cups of coffee per month."
Opel/Vauxhall chief Karl-Thomas Neumann said the new system will be a "gateway to the future". He heralded the Europe offering as revolutionary in its impact.
"This will eventually put a 4G pipeline into all of our cars and will change the rules of the business," he said.
Neumann also stressed that data privacy will be addressed by the OnStar system's European version. "We want to be transparent," he said. "So the European version comes with a privacy button. It will be possible to be invisible to the OnStar operator and we see this as a core competency for our system. Our customers will know what happens with the data."
ONSTAR MAKES EUROPEAN DEBUT AT GENEVA
- Vauxhall OnStar to launch in the UK this year
- Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven devices
- Emergency response notification if airbags deploy
- Stolen vehicle tracker technology to assist Police
- 24/7 European service centre based in Luton, Beds
- Free trial period: no charge for OnStar and WiFi for 12 months
Luton/Geneva - Vauxhall will preview OnStar at today's Geneva Motor Show, showcasing its comprehensive package, which includes a high-speed 4G LTE mobile network, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle tracker. Vauxhall OnStar will be offered on selected Vauxhall passenger cars from October 2015. The full suite of Vauxhall OnStar services will be provided free for a 12month trial period and thereafter for an annual subscription fee.
Globally, OnStar is the leading provider of connected safety and security solutions, value-added mobility services and advanced information technology in the automobile industry. It connects around seven million customers in the United States, Canada, China and Mexico with features including 4G LTE connection, emergency services and smartphone remote control.
Vauxhall/Opel OnStar will be available in the UK from launch, as well as 13 other markets across Europe, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The European service centre will be in Luton, Bedfordshire.
"With OnStar, Vauxhall is bringing the latest connectivity technology to a wider audience," said Tim Tozer, Vauxhall's Chairman and Managing Director. "OnStar will make driving safer as well as offering new innovations in infotainment and telematics. And best of all, the system will be free to customers for the first year of ownership."
Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven devices
With OnStar, each Vauxhall becomes a powerful, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot giving access to apps and services that require a high-speed mobile or data connection. Up to seven mobile devices can be connected simultaneously. Passengers will be able to stay in touch with family and friends via social media, play games, stream movies or watch TV via their favourite app or to work while away from the office.
Emergency response and roadside assistance
If an airbag deploys, OnStar will be alerted automatically and an advisor will then contact the vehicle to determine whether help is required. If there is no response, emergency services are immediately sent to the vehicle.
Available 24/7 and 365 days a year, OnStar Advisors are located at the OnStar service centre in Luton. At a push of an SOS button, OnStar users can request assistance whenever they deem it necessary, for example, if they witness an accident. The OnStar buttons will be located in the overhead centre console or the rear-view mirror on some cars.
The new system also includes roadside assistance services making being stranded with a flat tyre or an empty fuel tank a thing of the past. A call to the OnStar team will ensure that users will receive help as quickly as possible.
Remote connection with OnStar smartphone app
Smartphone users will be able to connect to their vehicle remotely with the OnStar smartphone app enabling them to:
- Contact OnStar from anywhere
- Call up important vehicle data such as oil life or tyre pressure
- Remotely lock or unlock the car
- Locate the car online
- Honk the horn and flash the lights
- Quickly download destinations to the in-car navigation system
- Easily manage the vehicle's built-in Wi-Fi hotspot settings
Rapid vehicle recovery
OnStar will be able to assist vehicle owners and police if a vehicle with the system is stolen. The stolen vehicle assistance will enable OnStar to work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure that the car is recovered quickly and safely and returned to its rightful owner. Remote ignition block will allow OnStar to send a remote signal to the vehicle that blocks the engine from starting once it has been reported stolen.
Up-to-date with monthly diagnostics
OnStar can also provide subscribers with a monthly vehicle diagnostics email with the most important vehicle data and information. A diagnostics check can be requested at any time at the push of a button, providing peace of mind before setting off on a longer journey.
European customers in complete control
Subscribers will be in complete control of their data and the services they receive. Before the services are activated they will have to agree to the terms and conditions. They will be able to choose whether they want to reveal their current location - at a push of the Privacy Button their position will be masked. However, no matter whether the location is masked/unmasked, OnStar will not be used to monitor its user but will solely offer services. In case of an airbag deployment, OnStar will by default override the mask functionality so that emergency services can be dispatched to the exact location as quickly as possible.
Original source: Opel/Vauxhall