Vauxhall is paving the way to integrate GM's new OnStar into its vehicles; emergency call service offered
25 October 2013

Vauxhall will soon start preparing the groundwork for General Motors’ long-awaited satellite-linked OnStar system.

The company claims OnStar will offer European customers a variety of functions, ranging from the monitoring of their car's vital functions to post-crash emergency service alerts.

Early next year, a team of OnStar experts from the USA, where the system has been operational since 1996, is due to provide guidance to technicians from Vauxhall and their Opel counterparts on setting up the network and infrastructure required to operate one of the most sophisticated vehicle intelligence platforms.

Vauxhall’s head of product planning Stuart Harris believes the subscription-based technology can be operational on all new Vauxhalls incorporating the appropriate electronic architecture by 2016. These include the recently revised Insignia, plus the upcoming next generation Astra and Corsa.

GM vehicle owners in the USA plus Canada and China pay for different OnStar packages on a graduated subscription basis. Services are relayed either via the vehicle’s mulitmedia network or through smartphones and computer tablets.

Harris said the foundations would be laid for multi-lingual European call centres, which require category-five status data-processing security. Vauxhall managers are to decide how wide the suite of services on offer will be. Features include theft alerts, vehicle tracking and the ability to remotely limit a stolen car’s speed or isolate its ignition.

Drivers who lose car keys or lock them inside the vehicle can use a smartphone code to allow an OnStar operator, via satellites, to reopen the car. Equally, airbag deployment is monitored and registered to despatch emergency services to crash locations via high-scale GPS co-ordinates.

Car servicing reminders can be issued via the system and warnings provided for problems such as tyre and brake pad wear, plus headlight or tail-light bulb failures, as well as transmitting reports on engine oil degradation. On a more mundane level, the satellite navigation element provides route guidance to the nearest cinema complex or fast food outlet. 

Hugh Hunston

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

Join the debate


25 October 2013

It uses satellites to find you cheeseburgers.

Why not normal food? A salad, or something.

Another wonderful invention from our American friends.

25 October 2013

Wonder how many takers there'll be. A few demo cars and that's it

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

24 December 2013
I and a number of other American vehicle owners already have OnStar installed and running in their imported vehicles

I for one am ready and eager to try it out when the OnStar satellite and service is set up, so happy to be a volunteer to test it out even before any UK vehicles are fitted with it.

Bring it on!


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Audi A7 front
    First Drive
    14 March 2018
    The new Audi A7 Sportback looks the part, but how does the new Mercedes-Benz CLS rival cope on UK roads? We find out