The FINANCIAL -- OnStar has fielded more than 1 billion requests from customers, who interact by phone, mobile app or embedded cellular service in their cars and trucks.
Launched nearly 19 years ago as an industry-first service that would place a call from the vehicle when an air bag deployed, OnStar today remotely unlocks doors, loads driving directions directly to the vehicle, compiles and sends emails on vehicle health and can aid law enforcement by slowing down a vehicle being pursued, according to General Motors.
A customer contacts OnStar every two seconds. That adds up to about 5 million calls a month from its subscriber base of more than 7 million. Add 8.8 million interactions a month from the RemoteLink mobile app and you can see how indispensable OnStar has become since launching on three Cadillac models in 1996.
“OnStar created the original connected car in 1996 and today remains at the forefront of innovation through the services offered in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and soon, Opel vehicles around the globe,” said Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president, General Motors Global Connected Customer Experience.
“The pace at which the brand has reached 1 billion interactions shows the vast customer demand for vehicle connectivity and there’s no doubt our second billion interactions will come even quicker.”
By the numbers, here is what 1 billion interactions looks like:
5.5 million Emergency Services delivered, including when Bernadette Holzer was driving her Chevrolet Equinox in Tionesta, Penn., triggering an Automatic Crash Response and OnStar’s Crisis Assist service helping Jacqueline Teeters avoid a tornado while driving from Houston to Dallas.
156 million RemoteLink Mobile App requests, including Tysha Gill unlocking her car from her smartphone when her keys were locked inside.
More than 270 million Turn-by-Turn Navigation requests, including helping Diana Richard find a gas station late at night when she was traveling from Virginia to Ohio.
Delivered Roadside Assistance more than 3.9 million times, including bringing gas to Lixi Cacho who was stranded in a remote area
More than 800,000 Good Samaritan calls, including Tyler Andrews from Dallas being named OnStar’s “Good Samaritan of the Year” for helping an unresponsive motorist.
More than 390 million Vehicle Diagnostic reports delivered, including helping Debbie Yaeger and her 9-year-old daughter on a drive from Florida to Ohio.
More than 350 stolen vehicles slowed down. Mississippi State Senator Terry Burton used Stolen Vehicle Assistance to recover his stolen Chevrolet Impala.
OnStar has even helped deliver babies and works with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to track Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
In honor of the milestone, OnStar has provided loyal subscribers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and China with a year of premium OnStar service. Top performing OnStar advisors in each market were honored as well.
Before becoming known as OnStar, the original name for the service was Project Beacon. Its goal was integrating wireless communication into vehicles, years before mass adoption of smartphones.
In the fall of 1996, OnStar debuted in the Cadillac DeVille, Seville and Eldorado. The service initially offered Airbag Deployment Notifications, the core of OnStar’s safety and security premise, which progressed into Automatic Crash Response that uses sensors capable of determining the severity of a crash impact and alerting an OnStar emergency advisor to assist. OnStar today responds to more than 100,000 emergency calls every month.
OnStar features have expanded to convenience services such as Turn-by-Turn Navigation, which is used 3.8 million times every month to download driver-requested directions to the vehicle. OnStar also sends more than 4 million vehicle diagnostic emails each month, providing up-to-date checks on a vehicle’s key operating systems.
RemoteLink enables its 1.5 million active users to lock and unlock their vehicle, start the engine and access vehicle diagnostics such as tire pressure and oil life from their mobile devices.
“We need to provide an overall customer experience that will keep customers coming back for life,” said Boler-Davis. “To do that, we need to meet customers on their terms and offer them a variety of choices. We realize every customer is different.”
OnStar services include OnStar 4G LTE, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot inside properly equipped 2015 and newer model year vehicles. More than 1 million Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles on the road in the U.S. and Canada have OnStar 4G LTE. The service will be available in China and Europe later this year.
New OnStar services include Smart Driver Assessment, through which consenting drivers can get feedback on their driving habits for potential insurance discounts, and Advanced Diagnostics, which includes real-time and proactive vehicle health alerts.