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Old 01-31-2005, 09:30 AM   #1
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Thumbs Up GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Woo Hoo!

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GM making OnStar, stability control standard


By Dale Jewett
Automotive News / January 30, 2005

DETROIT -- General Motors will make two safety-oriented technologies -- OnStar and stability control -- standard on vehicles sold in the United States and Canada by 2010.

GM North America President Gary Cowger shared the news with dealers Sunday at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans.

Plans call for the OnStar telecommunication service to be standard on all GM vehicles by 2007. One year of OnStar's Safe and Sound service plan will be included in the vehicle's price.

OnStar becomes standard on GM's mid-sized and full-sized SUVs ordered after Tuesday, Feb. 1. For the 2005 model year, GM says OnStar is standard on 32 models and available as an option on 25 others.

Engineering for StabiliTrak

Adding stability control, which GM brands as StabiliTrak, to the entire lineup will take longer. The technology, which uses steering wheel and yaw sensors to measure vehicle direction, must be calibrated for each vehicle line.

All of GM's trucks and SUVs will be fitted with StabiliTrak by 2007.

The StabiliTrak and OnStar effort covers all of GM's traditional brands in North America as well as the Saab brand.

Some commercial vehicles will be excluded from the plan.

Making stability control standard means that all GM vehicles will also be equipped with antilock brakes and traction control.

GM made antilock brakes standard on many vehicles in the early 1990s. But GM switched to making the technology an extra-cost option on most entry-level vehicles in the latter part of the decade as a way to lower base prices.

Swayed by safety data

GM was motivated to make the move with stability control by data from the government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says Mark LaNeve, North America vice president of marketing and advertising. The data show that vehicles equipped with the technology are involved in fewer crashes.

Safety advocates have been pushing automakers to increase the use of stability control, particularly for trucks and SUVs. Because those vehicles have a higher center of gravity, they are more likely to roll over in a crash.

StabiliTrak now is offered on about 20 percent of GM's vehicle line, notes Terry Connolly, director of GM's safety engineering center. That includes all the automaker's full-sized SUVs. StabiliTrak was introduced on the 1997 Cadillac Seville.

One factor in the time it will take to spread stability control throughout GM's lineup is the ability of suppliers to provide enough components, Connolly says. Some pieces, such as the brake hydraulic modulator, need to be assembled in "clean room" conditions.

"I think the supply base for stability enhancement has probably seen a lot of this coming for a long time," Connolly says. "We'll be seeing how fast they can ramp up."

Growth for OnStar

Despite the increase in the user base related to the strategy, OnStar won't have to immediately increase the number of its call service centers, says Tony DiSalle, OnStar's executive director of sales, service and marketing.

OnStar handles an average of 11,000 emergency calls and 800 airbag notifications per month, DiSalle says.

While new generations of the OnStar and stability control hardware are cheaper, lower cost is not the driving factor behind the rollout, LaNeve says.

"With each new model we introduce we'll price to the market," he says. "The cost won't drive pricing decisions."

LaNeve says GM plans an advertising campaign to tout the availability of OnStar and stability control.

He says, "We'll explain the benefits and why we think it is important for customers. In the case of StabiliTrack, some of our competition may try to match us. That's OK."
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

While they're at it, they should include side impact air-bags as standard as well. Whether they are actually effective as people think they are is not so much an issue. Costs would come down as an economy of scale.
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Stability control? Great!

OnStar? Boo Hiss.. Our government is not interested in following the law concerning proper procedure for search and seziure. By making that standard in all GM cars, you just made it that much easier for them to abuse their power.

Too bad they don't have a smiley wearing a tinfoil hat.
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

If the stability control comes from the same type of crap supplier as the now cancelled VTI transmission, I'd avoid all GM products like the plague.

Who knows what crazy actions this system would take. GM can't even get the turn signals & DRL's right in the ION.

Can't GM skip the gadgets and improve basic quality?
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Old 01-31-2005, 02:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL
If the stability control comes from the same type of crap supplier as the now cancelled VTI transmission, I'd avoid all GM products like the plague.

Who knows what crazy actions this system would take. GM can't even get the turn signals & DRL's right in the ION.

Can't GM skip the gadgets and improve basic quality?
Really. I don't need the car turning the lights on for me when I need them. I have been doing without it for over 30 years of driving. In the meantime, the gadget (BCM)that runs that show, crapped out on me, and left me with an electrical nightmare. Who needs another $400 computer who's half life is about that of a loaf of bread?
Get basics done right before you sell it.
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

I've read (various sources, don't ask for citations though ) that side airbags, stability control, and anti-whiplash seats all drastically improve the safety of whatever cars they're put on, unlike say anti-lock brakes which haven't proven to do much. Side airbags clearly make a huge difference in the crash tests. Stability control apparently reduces the incidence of single-vehicle accidents. The whiplash seats in Saabs and Volvos have proven in real-world insurance claims to reduce neck and back injuries by ~50%. I'm all for having these as standard features.

As for OnStar, my only gripe with it is the subscription cost. My Saab came with it, and we had the basic service for the first year. We never used it, so we didn't bother re-upping. I think the retention rate is ~60%. Lots of cars out there with unused OnStar systems. What they ought to do is provide a bare bones level of service, perhaps just the crash-notification and emergency calling feature, and not charge anything for it. That would be an excellent selling point, and probably wouldn't cost GM much at all.

jeff
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff P
I've read (various sources, don't ask for citations though ) that side airbags, stability control, and anti-whiplash seats all drastically improve the safety of whatever cars they're put on, unlike say anti-lock brakes which haven't proven to do much. Side airbags clearly make a huge difference in the crash tests. Stability control apparently reduces the incidence of single-vehicle accidents.

jeff
I'll agree with you, jeff, regarding the importance of air bags and stability control. These two items really require no input from the driver itself to make them worthwhile and to work properly.

ABS, on the other hand, requires the driver have a working knowledge of how it works & what to do in an emergency situation.
It's probably a safe bet that most drivers:
1. Don't even know if their car has ABS.
2. Beleive in "pumping the brakes" with ABS.
3.Complain that their car "could have stopped quicker without ABS."

Most drivers are clueless on how most of their cars work.

BTW, GM took out (2) full page ads in the Akron paper,today, touting the safety benefits of OnStar & StabilTrak.
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Old 01-31-2005, 05:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

I don't want On-Star. If GM makes it standard on all their models, including Saturns, then my Ion Redline will be my last GM product - yes, it matters to me that much.
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Do you think GM would put On-Star in the Ion Redline?
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Will it be included in saturns?They had an AD in my local newspaper today talking about it.They showed ALL the GM trade mark emblems,Chevy,Buick,Pontiac,GMC,but the Saturn logo was not among them.I thought the GM distancing itself from Saturn thing was over?
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicer69
Do you think GM would put On-Star in the Ion Redline?
Did you read the thread from the start?
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

ONSTAR = "BIG BROTHER" is watching you!!

Let's see what kind of a "deal" they give you when the "free" 1 year BASIC
contract expires. The pretty row of buttons will look nice on your rearview mirror, but that's all they will be if you don't "renew" (at a major cost) after
that initial year!!!

I remember back in '93 when Saturn made a driver side airbag STANDARD, but
anti-lock brakes were OPTIONAL. I much rather have a feature that will help
AVOID accidents rather than one for when you get IN AN ACCIDENT!!

Now, 12 years later.......
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Old 01-31-2005, 11:11 PM   #13
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

I'd spring for OnStar if the monthly service fee was $5 - $17 is a bit expensive. If the OnStar system was standard equipment on all GM vehicles, I'd think GM could seriously drop its cost through cost optimized design and by the sheer volumes.

If you are worried about "big brother", I'm sure there will be people that will figure out how to disable OnStar and will post it on sites like this one.

I agree about the making the side impact air bags standard, but I suspect it will only be a matter of time before the Feds will require them.
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Old 01-31-2005, 11:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

I like the idea of stability control being standard but I can do without the Onstar. Making something standard does not make it free. The customer pays for the equipment in the price of the car and after a year will pay a monthly service fee. Onstar is the type of feature best left as an option IMO. Those who want it can buy it, and those who don't, can spend their money on something else.
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Old 02-01-2005, 12:49 AM   #15
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Information Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

I read this article on one of the Detroit newspaper web sites this morning and wondered if it would surface here (silly me, of course it did! ). I've never had On*Star and for at least one reason Digger cited above, I'm not sure I would spring for it, beyond the basic one year price that will be rolled into vehicles after 2007. Someone else earlier mentioned that basic services like crash notification and 911 summons should be free or provided for at a minimal fee -- ideal, but not likely these days.

Those safety devices I have had, I rate thusly:

ABS - I will never have another car without it. This Saturn lacks it and Traction Control (sacrificed to get a lower car payment). The anti-locks on my '96 SL2 saved my derriere more times than I can count and not just in the snow. After seven years of having them at my disposal, I feel rather naked without them now. I've locked the brakes on my Ion twice so far in situations I know the SL2 would have taken in stride were it the car I drove.

Traction Control - Something else my next car should have and if it's offered, will have. While I didn't use it all the time in the snow as in some situations it's a detriment, not an asset, it worked very well in the rain with my Firestone Affinitys. If it's rolled into Stabilitrak, so much the better.

Air Bags - I have two of 'em and so far I've not needed their services and I wanna keep it that way. It is a comfort to know they're in there however. Saturn #3 had 'em too.

Head Curtain Air Bags -- I wanted them on this car (if a lower car payment hadn't been a hurdle, I'd have bought an Ion sedan 3 (coupe has a higher insurance cost for me)) but they were erased from the wish list as well. I hear they work well so if offered, they will make their debut on my next ride...whatever that ends up being.
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Old 02-01-2005, 08:54 AM   #16
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by John9
Onstar is the type of feature best left as an option IMO. Those who want it can buy it, and those who don't, can spend their money on something else.
Same here.
Get rid of the 20 or so lbs. that make up OnStar, and give me at least 10 more hp, and I would be much happier. Money well spent.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

I have beef with these people that are all "big brother is watching you" and such with OnStar. What are you trying to hide?
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:18 AM   #18
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Thumbs Up Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioVueBoy
I have beef with these people that are all "big brother is watching you" and such with OnStar. What are you trying to hide?
~D.J.~
I'm with you, OhioVueBoy. Why all this irrational fear about Big Brother hauling us off in the middle of the night because we have OnStar? Hell, if the Government wants to keep track of us, they can do it already. They don't need GMs help.

I like the idea of standard stability control, and I like the idea of standard OnStar, too, but I'm in agreement with those who'd like to see lower subscription costs and/or simpler plans. I know a couple people who have OnStar and they love it, especially the hands free phone thing.

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Old 02-01-2005, 10:22 AM   #19
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioVueBoy
I have beef with these people that are all "big brother is watching you" and such with OnStar. What are you trying to hide?
~D.J.~
You being a gay, I think would be sensitive to issues of privacy.

I don't have a damn thing to hide. Other than the fact I dislike Bush greatly which is probably enough to put me on somebodies "purge" list.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:23 AM   #20
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Default Re: GM making OnStar, stability control standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioVueBoy
I have beef with these people that are all "big brother is watching you" and such with OnStar. What are you trying to hide?
~D.J.~
And they can track you with E-Z pass. Big Brother is watching. Recorded Cameras in stores, work. Whenever you use your charge card, ATM or store discount cards. I don't really care as I have nothing to hide. I went to Target the other day to return something that I didn't have the reciept. They just asked for the charge card and it showed them all my purchases made at Target with the card. This stuff is amazing. Aren't they getting technonlgy that can pinpoint a cell phone user?
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