Sometimes I feel sorry for the PR flaks who work in GM's OnStar division .
While the in-car communications system has more than 5 million subscribers, is profitable, and offers a host of features its subscribers love, it also fails to get the kind of attention that goes to its rival, the Ford Sync .
OnStar is not quite the BetaMax tape to Sync's VHS, but you get the idea.
GM hopes to change that perception (and win over more subscribers) with a new marketing campaign and an enhanced version of OnStar that will offer more entertainment and information options.
And this is just the start.
OnStar is pushing to find more ways for subscribers to stay connected while behind the wheel. For example, GM is working on a feature that will allow drivers to use OnStar to update their social network sites safely while out and about in their car.
In short, GM is trying to out-sync Fords Sync system.
And for good reason.
Sync has been a huge hit for Ford and a reason many buyers are embracing Fords line-up in the last couple of years. In an age where staying connected is more important than ever to young consumers, Sync has allowed Ford to tell buyers, "You can have what you want, where you want it." And as phones have become more advanced in what they can do, so too has the Sync system.
But the biggest advantage Sync has over OnStar is the fact it's a service you pay for one time, not on a monthly basis, as you do with OnStar. While the monthly subscription fee helps OnStar generate a profit, it is the #1 reason people tell me they either don't have OnStar or dropped the service. After all, if you are paying for a service that you may not use much for a month or two, it makes you wonder what you are paying for.
If OnStar can change that equation, it has a shot at catching Sync and differentiates GM vehicles from the competition.
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