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WSJ Article - GM's Onstar Division Forecasts


Full Member
Jul 12, 2002
New Jersey
Excerpts per a Wall Street Journal Article posted today- GM's Onstar Division Forecasts
Continuing, but Slower, Growth

?Earlier this year, GM officials said about 56% of subscribers renew the service after the first year, just short of the company's target of 60%.

In August, Onstar said it responded to 650 automatic notifications that airbags had deployed, as well as another 4,000 emergencies. Mr. Butler said "the vast majority" of subscribers to the basic service have no contact with Onstar after registration for their first year trial period.

To help increase the contact, Onstar is pushing its voice-operated-phone service, but Mr. Butler said only about 20% of subscribers buy airtime beyond the 30 minutes included with the subscription.?

So, it?s not just me who is wondering what to do with this service? Is anybody making good use of the non-emergency services? ???
I won't subscribe until they let folks in DFW buy minutes... AT&T is doing away with true Nationwide service, and if I go to a GSM phone like I want, it won't work outside the metro area... having analog service on the road via OnStar would fill the gap...
I use traffic every afternoon and some mornings. I check my horoscope in the morning and if I'm really tied up I'll get my stock quotes. I no longer use the news because I have XM. Talk about being wired!
I have it as an insurance policy kinda....

it lowers insurance rates.....

when the check engine light comes on I will have ONSTAR check it out and get info to dealer.

Accidents...theft.....Lock keys......Basic stuff.....there price is a bit expensive...but I woder since GM now owns a part of xmradio if in the future they do not combine the services or make XMRADIO ONSTAR compatible....

For their phone...it is too dayum expensive....my cellular and hands free is a better deal...

These statistics do not surprise me at all. As a matter of fact I am surprised they get that many follow-on subscriptions. My OnStar service has been an absolute nightmare. It took me four months to get my service working right after the purchase of my 2001 Suburban. I was supposed to have 30 minutes of cellular service within the first 30 days but since it took me four months to get my service connected correctly they refused to honor the 30 minutes based on the fact that the 30 days were up. So I subscribed to the 100 minutes that are good for 1 year. Some months later when I went to use the phone I had no service. OnStar canceled my service on the anniversary date of the truck purchase, not the date I subscribed to the phone some five months later. I only subscribed to the service for use in case of emergency or the occasional time when I did not have the cell phone or the battery was dead. I figured that just prior to the end of my year I would use the remaining minutes and then re-subscribe. When they canceled my subscription five months early I estimate that I had about 50 to 60 hours left, and when they canceled my service they deleted my remaining hours. I was told there was no way of knowing how many hours of service were left and that it was impossible to restore the hours. So I reluctantly (ok stupidly) re-subscribed. I wish it would had ended here, two months later I traded in my Suburban for the AV and I figured it would be simple, I had 80 hours of service left and should get 30 free minutes with the new AV right. Wrong, the first thing I found out was that since I was a prior subscriber to OnStar I was not eligible to receive the 30 free minutes. This made no sense because that would mean that if I bought a GM OnStar equipped vehicle and subscribed to the service and then bought a second GM OnStar equipped vehicle the second vehicle would not get the 30 days free service, even if it was my wife?s. I was not happy but was not in the mood to fight them on the issue. Then I found out that I could not transfer the existing phone contract, its minutes or phone number from my OnStar equipped Suburban to my OnStar equipped AV. So I lost another 80 minutes of service. With this type of service you can see why I am not surprised at the low OnStar re-subscription rates.
I will probably re-up my OnStar when it expires. A visit by the locksmith for a lock-out would just about pay for a year of basic service.
Im in for a new subscription when the time comes. I have already had to use it 2 times. Once to find my ride and once to unlock the truck due to my Idi.....due to the keys getting locked in by my significant other....#$!!@#%!!!%!

I've yet to use my Onstar system but like ygmn said it does save me a couple bucks here and there with the auto insurance guru's here in NJ....not to mention I always seem to have the unfortunate luck...of ending a service agreement and 1 month later wishing I hadn't...go figure... :B:
When I talked to my dealer about Onstar, they said that from their personal sales, they only have about 15% renew the service.
Personally I don't see much value in it, that's why I didn't order it.
It's funny we were just discussing the ON-star feature just last night and one of my buddies looks at me and says "Hey man, you have a cell phone don't you?..in the event you get stuck." I said yeah,"But I couldn't call my truck to unlock the doors when I forget the keys!"... ;)
In a world with never ending changes and improvements in technology the Onstar can I suppose could be considered a additional practical tool. To a larger degree consumers like shopping choices. Mine are a cell phone with a plan that allows plenty of air time at very reasonable cost, roll over minutes and usable coverage areas, a $14 annual premium for a comprehensive roadside assistance rider through my automobile insurance company, and a $72 fifteen month renewable membership with AAA which replicates again all that the insurance rider does including the towing, no cost emergency fuel delievery, tire changes, jumpstarts, locksmithing and the additional associated AAA vendor discounts one might need. It's applicable whether or not I'm driving my AV.? Its effective coverage also applies to me and my spouse as either the operator or passenger of any other vehicle as well any time those services are required. In the event of an accident and I'm rendered unconscious I'll just have to rely on someone
else dialing 911. In the event that the Av is stolen and unrecoverable I'll rely on my insurance replacing it.
I kept my OnStar after the free 12 months, I don't plan to keep it long. I added 100 minutes too, I don't have a cell phone and don't want or need one. I think I'll cancel in June after a long drive to Alabama.

I've only used the phone and I could have used a phone anywhere or bought a cell phone, I really don't like to use a phone to start with so why should I have one ?
Theres no absolute need for phone ownership of any kind I suppose other than convenience. Heck in reality my AV isn't a necessity. But in today's world of consumer gadgets and in the the case of eithers the cell phone is truly mobile, the Onstar isn't. In the event of a major catastrophe like an accident I'd much rather stand at a safe distance from the scene if at all possible and make my calls via the cell phone. In addition anyone can use it to call for help if required. The Onstar phone would not recognize a second parties voice comands. I like the cell phone camera features too and the ability to transfer information stored on it to and from the home PC. Onstar can't do that either. The cell phone is a multimedia devise as well, internet is available, and transferring it's location to and from a non-Onstar equipted vehicle is a simple matter.