Toyota G-Book and GM OnStar have been no doubt the two main players for the first year of the China Telematics industry. The sales of more than 70 million Shanghai GM vehicles in 2009 and its growth momentum will make OnStar China’s largest Telematics service provider sooner rather than later. Mr. Jon Hyde, General Manager of Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co., Ltd., said in last year’s Telematics @ China that 50% of China users were willing to install OnStar.
Jon Hyde has been talking to NAVIBIZ about Shanghai OnStar’s current activities and future plans:
Number of subscribers – “We cannot tell you what the exact numbers are right now because it is a moving target … What I can tell you is there will be a progressive rollout of OnStar to more Cadillac and Buick models and then on Chevrolet models, so sometime later this year we expect OnStar to be the largest telematics service provider in China as Shanghai GM continues to hit record sales numbers every month.”
Most liked features – “Clearly Chinese consumers enjoy navigation services the most. As for frequency of service usage, we are starting to get strong demand for Turn By Turn Navigation and will continue to monitor usage patterns. OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which provide subscribers a monthly email about the status of their vehicle’s health, is also getting very good reception.”
User feedback – “Currently the feedback from our subscribers is very positive. Since most of our subscribers have been experiencing Turn by Turn Navigation we are starting to generate some very useful data about this service. Turn by Turn Navigation does not require drivers to use a display screen by providing route direction mainly by voice…Subscribers say that they feel confident with the system since they can concentrate on the driving when using Turn by Turn.”
Business partners – “From GM and SAIC we also get the automotive engineering expertise through SGM and PATAC in China. From OnStar we get the IT, the communications platform and the talent and experience to make this work. Other critical local partners are China Telecom and AutoNavi, both leaders in their field here in China. I don’t think you can assemble a stronger alliance of strategic partners for telematics in China.”
Future plans – “We intend to continue OnStar’s tradition of innovation and to lead the industry with creative services that make driving more convenient and, most importantly, safer. However, what’s just as important is to learn from our new Chinese customers what they like and to design our products to really cater to the needs of the local customers.”