As people become more and more reliant on the World Wide Web, General Motors Corp. is well on its way achieving its goal of having one million customers for its OnStar satellite communications system by the end of this year, as Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday that the world’s largest automaker already has 300,000 customers.
GM’s OmStar system provides the driver and passengers of a vehicle everything from a homing service to full Internet access, including electronic navigation mapping (Global Positioning System) and vehicle location in case of accidents and emergencies.
Automakers are competing to give customers Internet access inside their vehicles to generate revenue after they sell or lease a car. According to Bloomberg, Analysts say such onboard communication services could generate as much as 25 percent of the auto industry's revenue by the end of the decade.
Mark Hogan, president of e-GM, was quoted by the news agency as saying GM will offer voice-activated Internet access as standard equipment on the 2001 model Cadillac DeVille and Seville. It will be available as an option on 35 models and the monthly service fee will range from $15 to $40.
"They will need to establish a track record. Part of the problem is that the infrastructure to deliver the Internet through wireless networks is not really in place to the degree it needs to be," said Jonathan Lawrence, an analyst with Dain Rauscher Wessels. "It's just too early to tell."
GM expects to have 1 million people paying for OnStar by the end of this year, but Hogan declined to say how much revenue GM will receive from the business. There were about 100,000 OnStar subscribers at the beginning of the year.
GM charges $695 to install OnStar at the dealership. Customers pay a subscription fee that can be as much as $399 annually, depending on the level of service. OnStar uses global-positioning technology and wireless communications to track stolen vehicles, call for roadside help or access navigation and travel information.
Last month Honda Motor Co. said it plans to equip US versions of its Acura sedans with GM's OnStar system starting in 2002. Toyota Motor Corp. has talked with GM about putting OnStar in its Lexus luxury cars -- Albawaba.com
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