says it plans to make application software for smartphones to remotely perform functions such as starting the vehicle, activating the horn and lights and unlocking doors standard for five years on all ’14 cars and light trucks sold in the U.S.
The new RemoteLink Key Fob Services program covers OnStar-equipped Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models. If vehicle owners decline OnStar service, which comes as an added cost after a free 1-year trial, they can still use standard remote services.
GM considers the offer the broadest deployment of remote services offered through a mobile app by any auto maker. It covers all of GM’s 36 models for ’14.
Mary Chan, president-global connected consumer at GM, says 60,000 monthly requests for remote door unlocks through OnStar by GM owners underscores the value its customers place on remote services.
“So it makes sense for us to offer RemoteLink Key Fob Services to enable customers to lock, unlock or start their vehicle from anywhere they have a wireless or cellular connection,” Chan says in statement.
GM says remote start ranks as the most popular task performed by current users of the RemoteLink Mobile App service.
GM owners can receive additional remote services with their trial or paid OnStar subscription, including monitoring the status of the vehicle’s operating systems, such as remaining oil life, fuel-range in miles, tire pressure, and miles per gallon.
The service also includes a 1-touch connection to OnStar for concierge requests or emergency help. Users with OnStar’s Directions and Connections plan can send turn-by-turn directions directly from their smartphone to their vehicle.
Customers can download the free app to a compatible smartphone after they take delivery of an eligible ’14 GM vehicle and agree to the terms. The 5-year period runs from the vehicle delivery date.
RemoteLink Key Fob Services works beyond the range of a traditional key fob, GM notes, which can be particularly helpful to owners in situations such as starting their car on a cold day as they leave the office or double-checking that they safely locked their vehicle in an airport parking from the terminal.
GM broke ground for the industry in mobile apps when the auto maker launched RemoteLink for the ’10 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. Since broadening its availability to nearly all GM brands, RemoteLink has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times with more than 320,000 regular users, the auto maker says.
Like many of its competitors, GM is focused on making its vehicle more connected as consumers demand more interaction between their smartphones and their cars and trucks and opportunities to generate revenue from the link become available.
For example, GM next year will bring the industry’s first 4G LTE wireless connectivity to many ’14 vehicles, giving the auto maker the ability to charge wireless providers for access to its vehicles.
RemoteLink Key Fob Services also gives GM the opportunity to further leverage its OnStar telematics platform, which for years was seen as an under-developed revenue stream.