GM will make remote start standard across 36 of its 2014 model year cars - spanning Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC - at no extra cost, the company has announced, as part of a push around its RemoteLink mobile app. The feature, which will be accompanied by remote unlocking and the ability to sound the horn, has previously been part of the paid OnStar package, but soon the company will offer five years of service at no extra cost with new vehicles. It's part of a general push to boost the geek-appeal of GM's line-up, including throwing in 4G LTE service.
GM confirmed it was baking inclusive LTE into its 2014 range back in February, with a 4G radio integrated into the informatics system. Rather than just working as a mobile hotspot, the system will tie cellular connectivity into all aspects of the car, including feeding performance and economy data to the cloud, passing service information to the dealership, and streaming media to the dashboard.
Not all of the OnStar features will be made free, and GM is hoping that drivers will be lured in sufficiently by the remote start functionality to pay up for the remaining services. Those include data about fuel levels, remaining range, oil and tire status, and economy, along with the ability to send directions wirelessly to the sat-nav system.
According to GM, remote unlocking through OnStar is carried out over 60,000 times a month, while remote start is the most popular feature of the smartphone app.
In-car connectivity has become an increasing part of modern vehicles, as drivers begin to expect iPad and iPhone-style features from their infotainment systems. GM's approach has been to open up an app ecosystem, hoping that third-party developers will begin to code software for its dashboards; in a connected-car demo earlier this year, the company showed us how a 4G-linked car could be used to make Skype video calls while driving, or send out emergency alerts - complete with video footage - if the car is in an accident.