Thursday AM January 6th, 2011

The world’s largest consumer electronics show begins today in Las Vegas. Companies have already begun showcasing new products, including OnStar, which is making their service available to people who own vehicles not made by general motors. Ed Mayberry reports.


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OnStar rearview mirror The special OnStar rearview mirror will be available at Best Buy and other retailers for non-GM vehicles this spring, providing a new revenue base beyond their core factory-equipped market. Rich Martinek is director of retail marketing and sales for OnStar.

“There’s 230 million vehicles that are on the road today. We’ve already looked at, for example, the top 20-selling vehicles over the last ten years, and that’s about 55 million units that are on the road today that we think are prime candidates for this and that we know that it would work with. We currently have over six million subscribers in the United States, in Canada and China.”

After-market OnStar installations will also have sensors that can detect impacts and automatically notify operators if there’s a crash, allowing for help to be sent based on the mirror’s global positioning system.

“So if you’re ever in a vehicle crash, the system will detect that. It will send a signal to an OnStar adviser and that adviser can send help to your exact location because of the GPS antenna within the unit. And even if you can’t call for help, we can send help. So that’s pretty core to us, but you do get a lot of other services that are in there—crisis assist, stolen vehicle assistance, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation.”

OnStar is working with Verizon Wireless to link car-based video systems to smart phones. Some 2,500 exhibitors are showcasing their latest consumer electronics products through Sunday at the 2011 International CES in Las Vegas, with an expected 120,000 attendees from more than 130 countries.

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