may be an excellent service for owners of General Motors vehicles, but what about those that just aren't hip on the idea of buying a Chevy? There have been no real alternatives to date, but that is changing this month.
The OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle) is now slated to hit Best Buy store shelves on July 24th, with pre-orders starting on the 18th. It's hailed as the first out-of-the-box application of OnStar's "blue button" automotive safety and security services that can work on 90 million older vehicles, and it basically replaces your existing rear-view mirror with one that can phone home to OnStar.
OnStar FMV sells for $299.99, plus $75 for installation, and service plans start at $18.95 a month, or $199 a year. Best Buy, OnStar's strategic retail partner for OnStar FMV, offers on-site installation through its network of more than 1,000 auto bays nationwide staffed by more than 1,400 Mobile Electronics Certified Professionals including nearly half of the 194 MECP Master installers in the world.
OnStar FMV provides the same core features as the OnStar service built into new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles from General Motors:
* Automatic Crash Response, triggered by an accelerometer in the unit, connects the vehicle to a trained OnStar emergency advisor in the event of a crash. The advisor can provide the exact location of the crash to emergency responders using the mirror's GPS location, even if the vehicle's occupants are unable to respond.
* Turn-by-Turn Navigation, OnStar's most-popular service with 1.9 million requests a month is accessible with a press of the blue button. The driver asks the advisor for directions for a specific address or location, such as a gas station or restaurant. Directions are downloaded to OnStar FMV, which provides spoken turn-by-turn instructions to the destination.
* Hands-Free Calling is available through the OnStar service itself or through a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone. An external microphone, which is tucked neatly into the roofline or above the overhead console, gives the best-possible voice quality while drivers keeps their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
* Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses OnStar FMV's global positioning satellite system to provide a stolen vehicle's location to law enforcement officials.
* Emergency Services, summoned by pushing the red button, bring specially trained emergency advisors on the line immediately to help in a crisis, such as witnessing a collision or a crime in progress.
* Roadside Assistance for non-emergency situations, such as a mechanical breakdown or a flat tire, is a blue-button push away.
Other retailers now offering or soon to offer OnStar FMV include Car Toys, Crutchfield, Fry's Electronics, Al & Ed's Autosound and P.C. Richard & Son.