VW to Offer OnStar Next Year
Volkswagen of America Inc. on April 24 said it will offer OnStar as an option on its new Passat W8 sedan and wagon in 2003. The automaker did not reveal a schedule for the introduction on other vehicles but said it eventually plans to offer OnStar either as an option or standard equipment on all of its models in the United States and Canada. OnStar, General Motors' telematics subsidiary, provides route guidance, emergency notification and concierge services through a phone embedded in the vehicle. In addition to GM, Audi, Acura, and Lexus offer the OnStar system. Isuzu and Subaru plan to introduce it in the 2003 model year. The German automaker will brand the system "Volkswagen Telematics by OnStar." VW customers will be able to choose from three OnStar packages: 1. Safe and Sound, $16.95 a month for roadside assistance, stolen-vehicle tracking and remote door-unlocking service. 2. Directions and Connections, $34.95 a month, which adds route guidance and limited concierge service. 3. Luxury and Leisure, $69.95 a month, which adds unlimited access to a concierge. The concierge can make dinner reservations, order concert tickets or even plan a customer's birthday party. VW buyers can also subscribe to OnStar's Personal Calling, a hands-free phone system, and Virtual Advisor, which provides drivers with Internet-based information such as news and traffic reports.