OnStar, which was a $199 option when they [customers] bought their vehicles, will become largely obsolete in 15 months in some 2002-4 models, as well as all models before 2002, because the OnStar electronics cannot be upgraded. Some Acura, Audi, Subaru and Volkswagen owners will also be affected.How in the world can a service that was sold through 2004 already be on its way out? Didn't GM (and others) know this was coming?
Critics, Mr. Farris included, say OnStar was negligent in continuing to install analog-only equipment before and after 2002 when it was clear that the phaseout of their supporting networks might be coming.Right! Look, we're all for upgrading technologies, but when you know something is on the way out and you continue to sell it knowing that it's going to leave customers in a bad way… that's just lamer than hell. Our advice to customers is to petition GM for some sort of help other than "that's the way it goes."
Two-thirds of those cars will be sold or traded by their original purchasers by early 2008, leaving 500,000 to 700,000 OnStar buyers out of luck, Mr. [Frank] Viquez [an industry analyst at ABI Research] said. G.M. plans to make OnStar standard in all its cars by the end of 2007. That will be too late for Mr. Farris, though, who feels OnStar and G.M. should have done more, switching to upgradeable technology far sooner.The only way we'd consider buying a GM again (if we were one of these customers) is if GM upgraded the electronics for free on our GM product. Come on, GM. Do the right thing.
"Those were $5 business decisions that are going to come back and haunt them," he said. "It's going to disillusion a bunch of G.M.'s best customers."