General Motors, which cannot afford to lose any customers these days, is alienating a big chunk of them – about half a million – thanks to wireless providers’ government-approved plans to drop analog support from their cellular networks on Jan. 1.
Here’s why: Many of GM subsidiary OnStar’s in-vehicle communications systems run on analog technology. Those who own 2003-or-later GM vehicles with analog OnStar equipment – about 3.5 million of OnStar’s existing 4 million subscribers – will be able to upgrade to the new digital OnStar network for around $200, according to ConsumerAffairs.org. Owners of older OnStar-equipped vehicles, however are, as my Dad used to say, shit out of luck, as GM is not offering any upgrade options for those vehicles. That means the cool little OnStar button in my 2001 Tahoe will be deactivated and completely useless at the end of the year.
But there’s good news! GM is offering an additional year of OnStar service for free – “with the purchase or lease of a 2006 model year or newer OnStar-equipped new or certified used GM vehicle.” With the monthly plan I’m on now, that cool deal will save me $203.40 (minus the price of the new vehicle, of course)! Thanks, GM!
I’m sure GM made a basic business decision based on the cost of rewiring older models (if indeed that’s even possible). But they could certainly do a better job of taking care of loyal customers who, like me, expected a key feature of their car or truck to last longer than five years. Like a Rock.