Buick, GMC making OnStar Connected Services standard

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The thing about the future is that so long as you're alive, you're going to get there whether you like it or not. Thanks to over-the-air connections essentially being a compulsory part of EV ownership and an increasingly important — and profitable — component of ICE ownership, it's easiest for automakers to install full-featured Internet connections in every vehicle. GM has taken the first step, a report in GM Authority saying that as of June 2, all Buick and GMC models are sold with the Onstar Connected Services plan good for three years. The OnStar site shows the Connected Vehicle tier that comes with a Wi-Fi hotspot costs $24.99 per month, which would be $900 minus a few pennies for three years. At the top end is OnStar Premium that runs about $1,800 for three years. Both include Connected Services features, yet GMA reports that depending on the vehicles, OnStar Connected Services will cost between $905 and $1,675. Only the GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 is excluded for now.

GM confirmed the change to GM Authority, saying, "This offering provides our owners with a full suite of OnStar and Connected Services for three years, providing them with more time to enjoy services such as remote key fob, Wi-Fi data and OnStar safety services. By including this plan as standard equipment on the vehicle, it provides more customer value and a more seamless onboarding experience."

Three trims of the GMC Sierra 1500 and two trims of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL come in at the low end, OnStar adding $905 to their MSRPs. Almost every other vehicle gets hit with a $1,500 charge. The GMC Sierra HD Pro is the only model to charge $1,675 for it, which GMA breaks out as a "$1,500 3-year subscription and $175 OnStar & GMC Connected Services Capability." This brings up the question of the price differences; we can't tell if there's a difference in feature content between the price tiers, or why the Sierra HD gets the extra $175 fee.

The automaker told GMA the upcharge will be folded into the MSRP. On the configurator for the Sierra 1500 SLE, for instance, the dialog box for three years of OnStar at $1,500 is automatically checked and can't be unchecked. The Buick configurators we tried don't mention OnStar. We noted MSRP increases compared to the the last Buick pricing we had from February, but we suspect that's a matter of inflation; the Buick site still says Alexa functionality "varies by vehicle [and] infotainment system," which isn't the case if on models with Connected Services.

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