||OnStar, a provider of in-vehicle safety, security, and information services called “telematics,” was founded in 1995 as a collaborative venture among General Motors (GM), EDS, and Hughes Electronics Corp. Safety and security services, including roadside assistance, emergency help after a crash, remote diagnostics, and stolen vehicle tracking, were the cornerstones of OnStar’s offering. In addition, OnStar provided its customers with a 24-hour connection to convenience services such as navigation and route guidance, vehicle location assistance, and personal concierge services. To generate more revenues, OnStar expanded its offering with time to luxury vehicles of other auto manufacturers.
Looking back, Chet Huber, OnStar president, was quite satisfied with the company’s achievements since it was founded – OnStar’s subscriber base had grown to more than 2 million and the company was routinely recognized as the leading telematics provider in the world. OnStar was also delivering benefits to its parent company, GM. By maintaining one-to-one relationships with customers, OnStar helped GM sell more cars and trucks, strengthen customer loyalty, and improve operational efficiency.
While revenues for the world market of in-car telematics terminals were expected to reach some $20 billion by 2010, competition in the market was intensifying. Richard Wagoner, GM’s CEO, and Chet Huber needed to explore a number of strategic and operational questions around the future of OnStar: How would OnStar create ongoing value to GM? How should OnStar position itself to gain high acceptance and subscription renewal rates? What further strategic partnerships should OnStar form to maintain its leadership? How should GM leverage the continuous stream of vehicle and customer data it received from OnStar?
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