The aftermarket version of General Motors’ in-car connectivity system, OnStar, is starting to pay off for drivers of non-GM vehicles.
At least that was the case Dec. 18 when a Gresham, Ore., owner of a Chrysler 300 was able to recover her stolen car with the aid of the OnStar system, which police used to track it down.
OnStar is that one-button system that allows you to talk to a live operator. It was initially introduced as a built-in in all GM vehicles so owners could reach an operator in case of an emergency. GM has steadily added more features to it, such as turn-by-turn navigation.
In the latest twist, GM has introduced an OnStar system that can be retrofitted to cars from rival brands. It’s as easy as replacing the rear-view mirror. GM says OnStar plays a role in recovering 500 stolen cars a month. Now, it even allowed for a recovery of a competitive brand’s car.
OnStar subscriber Jean Franklin, of Gresham, bought the OnStar system two days before her 2006 Chrysler was stolen. It came with a stolen vehicle recovery feature.
“The stolen vehicle feature is the reason I purchased [OnStar FMV],” Franklin told GM. “My car had been stolen before, so the police recommended I get it. I am much more comfortable now that the car has OnStar.”
GM says Franklin called OnStar to report her stolen vehicle around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. After OnStar provided the Gresham Police Department with the vehicle’s location, officers were able to pull over the car and had the suspect in custody within 64 minutes of the original call.
“OnStar was crucial to recovering the vehicle,” said Aaron Turnage, a Gresham Police Department officer who worked the case tells GM. “Without OnStar, we probably would have recovered it, but who knows what condition it may have been in? OnStar helped get the vehicle recovered almost immediately, and it was completely unharmed.”