You may not need to shop GM any longer to benefit from the security of GM’s OnStar Service. In fact, you may not need to shop for a new car at all – turning instead towards the shelves of your local electronics store. “OnStar today announced that it is responding to repeated consumer requests by offering its industry leading safety, security and connectivity services for non-GM and older GM vehicles already on the road,” says GM. “A standalone rearview mirror packing all of OnStar’s core technology will be available this spring through consumer electronics retailers, and is compatible with most top-selling vehicles from major manufacturers.”
According to GM, the new product will include Automatic Crash Response, Turn-By-Turn Navigation, Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, access to emergency and roadside services and hands-free calling which includes Bluetooth connectivity. It’s big news for consumers looking to add some convenience and safety features to their existing car, but it does come at a price. “The retail product will come packaged as an installable rearview mirror, selling for $299 each, and compatible with 20 top-selling vehicles, including the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford F-Series trucks,” reports The Detroit News. “Service plans start at $18.95 a month or $199 a year — the same rate for OnStar's GM subscribers.”
Swapping out your rearview mirror for an OnStar model definitely adds some capability, but that doesn’t mean that it’s as seamless as it would be if your car came with OnStar from the factory. “The system won’t be quite as well-integrated as it is in the latest GM vehicles, meaning that turn-by-turn navigation will only be played through spoken commands, not through a redundant screen with arrows and road signs,” says Left Lane News. “Also, the system won’t be able to slow down a stolen car, although OnStar will be able to alert local authorities.”
The after-market OnStar units should be available beginning in the spring of this year.