GM launches new OnStar service that can deliver promotions to connected cars

LAS VEGAS--General Motors unveiled a new part of its OnStar service that will let retailers and other merchants advertise and send deals directly to drivers in their cars. The feature, dubbed AtYourService, is one of several connected car initiatives GM and its Chevrolet brand unveiled here at the start of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.

GM claims the new service will enable drivers to receive "information, convenience and money-saving values tied to their specific destinations." For example, if a customer is navigating to a Dunkin' Donuts location, OnStar will be able to send a coffee and bagel deal directly to the car (Dunkin is an early partner). OnStar uses AT&T Mobility's (NYSE: T) LTE network.

As The Verge notes, the service is opt-in and customers would need to request directions from an OnStar Advisor, who would then send promotions to the car. GM said the service will "continue to grow over time with new capabilities and more partnerships."

Starting early this year, active OnStar subscribers with the full-service plan will be able to book a hotel through an OnStar adviser. GM, via a partnership with Priceline.com, will let OnStar advisors provide information on availability, cost, amenities, and ratings, and then book a hotel reservation and send directions to the vehicle. Subscribers can give advisors the general location where they would like to stay and advisors can select from Priceline's participating hotels in that area. After booking a hotel, customers receive an email confirmation of their reservation.

"We've had a connected car now for 15 years through our OnStar service, so it's only logical that we extend its offerings based on what our customers have shown they want most," John McFarland, director of global marketing and innovation at GM, told USA Today. "One of the most requested things is a hotel during a road trip. So now in addition to providing that and directions to it, we can also offer the reservation with extra value."

GM has also struck deals for AtYourService with RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book for retail coupon delivery, Parkopedia for parking information, and Audiobooks.com for audiobooks.

In other connected car news, GM said that via OnStar, Chevrolet later this year will offer its customers access to vehicle diagnostic tools that will notify drivers when certain components need attention, in many cases before the part becomes faulty. The predictive technology will be initially focused on the battery, starter motor and fuel pump, and additional vehicle parts and components are expected to be added in future model years.

The service is expected to be available on select 2016 Chevrolet Equinox, Tahoe, Suburban, Corvette, Silverado and Silverado HD models equipped with certain powertrains, followed by more Chevrolet vehicles throughout the 2016 model year.

Finally, starting this summer, OnStar will offer customers the opportunity to sign up for a new service that can track how they are driving over a 90-day period and potentially offer them discounted car insurance rates through a partnership with Progressive Insurance.

Taken together, the new initiatives underscore how much the connected car market is in flux, and how car makers and carriers are partnering with each other and third parties like retailers to launch new business models and add-on services.  

For more:
- see this OnStar release
- see this separate OnStar release
- see this Chevrolet release
- see these two separate The Verge articles
- see this USA Today article

Related Articles:
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Verizon Telematics' Link discusses autonomous cars, embedded connectivity and more
AT&T, General Motors extending OnStar into Europe
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