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GM bets on new service
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-11-30 11:04
General Motors will start to offer a new telematics service for its sedans in China in 2009 via a new joint venture, and it hopes services like navigation and remote door unlocking will attract more buyers and boost sales.

Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co Ltd, the eighth JV that the United States auto giant has formed with its local partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, has a total investment of US$46 million. It is the first time that GM has extended its OnStar business outside North America.

"We believe that it will become a new selling point and make our cars more attractive," said Kevin Wale, GM China president, at the venture inauguration ceremony yesterday in Shanghai.

GM and its subsidiary OnStar each holds a 40-percent stake of the new venture. The rest is controlled by Shanghai GM, a 50-50 joint venture of GM and SAIC.

Shanghai OnStar's services will include advanced automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics and hands-free calling, similar to those available now in the US and Canada, where OnStar has five million active users.

Company officials refused to say how much they will charge Chinese consumers as a feasibility study is still going on. Back in the US, users have to pay US$199 a year for basic service.

Ding Lei, general manager of Shanghai GM, admitted that the additional service will raise their costs, but he believed buyers will find it is worth them paying extra.

The nationwide service will be used in GM's models initially, and it is also "technically possible" for other auto makers' models.

Source:Shanghai Daily 
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