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OnStar Available Soon for Nearly Everyone

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author photo by Autotrader March 2011

It's been a selling point unique to General Motors' vehicles for years – but pretty soon, you won't have to buy a Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, or GMC to get the benefits of OnStar. Beginning this summer, the system will be marketed a stand-alone retail product, available to millions of car owners nationwide.

Dubbed OnStar FMV – short for "For My Vehicle" – the system will be available for just $299, plus an installation fee the company promises will be less than $100. Also required is a monthly subscription, ranging from $19.95 a month to an all-inclusive $199 a year. But that gets you many of OnStar's well-known benefits, including Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, turn-by-turn navigation, and even Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity.

"OnStar FMV meets the same rigorous standards for safety, reliability, and performance we've developed in 15 years of producing and perfecting OnStar for GM vehicles," said Greg Ross, OnStar's vice president of business extensions. "Drivers of Fords, Toyotas, and other vehicles now have the unique 'blue button' OnStar experience that brings together the best of technology with the best of person-to-person customer service."

According to OnStar, the system is compatible with more than 90 million cars manufactured in the last ten years, an increase from the 55 million estimated at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Signing up involves replacing a vehicle's original rearview mirror with one containing the familiar "blue button," as well as some additional wiring in the roofline above the center console to add a microphone. The General Motors subsidiary says the whole process takes less than an hour.

So is the system worth it? OnStar's current subscriber rate numbers some 6 million, and it's likely most of them would answer with a resounding "yes." But by getting the system standard in their GM vehicle, current users do have one benefit OnStar FMV customers won't have access to: remote door unlocking. Unfortunately, the feature – one of OnStar's best-known assets – won't be available on the retail product.

But if you can manage to keep yourself from locking your keys in your car, you might find OnStar FMV provides some neat new technology to make your life easier on the road.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
OnStar Available Soon for Nearly Everyone - Autotrader