DETROIT — General Motors on Monday will expand its OnStar Guardian safety app to non-GM owners to help anyone with a smartphone connect with family and friends and quickly access emergency services.
“Up until now, [OnStar] has been aboard GM vehicles enabled by the OnStar module,” Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of global connected services, told Automotive News. OnStar Guardian connects customers through Apple and Android smartphones in the U.S. and Canada, GM said in a statement Monday.
“If you’re simply walking with your dog around the corner from your house, we want to be with you,” he said. “We want to be providing the services so that you feel safe and secure and you always have somebody to reach out to in case you experience an emergency or you witness an emergency and you want to help somebody else.”
The OnStar Guardian mobile app launched for GM’s OnStar subscribers in June 2020, but subscribers told the automaker they wanted to connect with loved ones who drive non-GM vehicles. Guardian is the first non-vehicle OnStar application GM has launched in OnStar’s 25-year history, said Chamorro. There are about 16 million connected GM vehicles in the U.S. and a “meaningful number” of paying OnStar subscribers, said Chamorro.
GM last year also launched OnStar Insurance, which provides insurance services to GM and non-GM vehicle owners. The services are part of the automaker’s mission to become a technology and subscription services company. The services could turn the vehicle purchase, typically a one-time transaction, into a wider profit net over the lifetime of the vehicle.
As many pandemic restrictions are lifted, “in the case of families that are perhaps getting ready to go back to some level of normality, we believe this is great timing for us to launch these products,” said Chamorro.
Through the app, which costs $15 per month for non-GM owners, customers can access OnStar safety and security and connect with an OnStar adviser when necessary. Customers can add up to seven family and friends to the Guardian app.
OnStar Guardian can be added to existing safety and security plans at no additional cost, a spokeswoman said. The existing embedded vehicle service is $29.99 per month, she said.
The app includes 24/7 roadside assistance, no matter the vehicle, and mobile crash response, which uses smartphone sensors to detect crashes and alert an OnStar adviser. Guardian will also launch a location status feature this month, allowing users to save and share favorite locations and receive notifications for departures and arrivals of family and friends.
Guardian was designed with families in mind, said Chamorro, including adult children and their parents. One of the Guardian ads, which debuted Monday, shows a woman locating her aging father through the app.
This month, OnStar will donate $1 to the Alzheimer’s Association for every download of OnStar Guardian.
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