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GM to use OnStar to notify owners of recalls

General Motors Corp., moving beyond the U.S. mail, said it will begin this month to notify car and truck owners of recall notices through its OnStar in-vehicle communications service.
/ Source: The Associated Press

General Motors Corp., moving beyond the U.S. mail, said it will begin this month to notify car and truck owners of recall notices through its OnStar in-vehicle communications service.

The world’s largest automaker said Wednesday it will contact owners through the onboard system if they fail to bring their vehicles to a dealer for recall repairs within 60 days of receiving an initial notice.

“We want to remind owners that complying with a recall notice is very important,” said Gay Kent, GM’s director of product investigations. “Recall notices are not junk mail that should be set aside or thrown away.”

Currently, 3.5 million owners of GM vehicles subscribe to OnStar, which alerts emergency rescue officials when an air bag deploys or the vehicle is struck in a moderate to severe crash.   Subscribers who press the blue OnStar button during non-emergency service calls will be told of the recall and given the opportunity to connect with a dealer to schedule repairs.

Kent said the reminders are aimed at increasing recall completion rates, which in recent years have ranged from more than 50 percent to about 98 percent.

Automakers typically notify owners of a recall by mail and then follow up with postcards every two months.

As an option, OnStar service costs $695 — roughly $500 for the hardware and $200 for the first year’s subscription fee, said OnStar spokesman Terry Sullivan. After the first year, the subscription price is $16.95 a month, Sullivan said. He noted the retention rate for service is more than 60 percent.