DETROIT — General Motors is reorienting its OnStar business, using the brand name mainly to market safety and security services, while using its sprawling data collection and connectivity operations to bolster the value of its core auto brands.
The changes — effective Tuesday, May 1 in Canada and the United States — are designed to bring in more revenue from connectivity services and to better position Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC as technological showcases that can compete against innovative brands such as Tesla.
They represent an effort by GM to unlock the full potential of OnStar, which was launched as an emergency-response service in 1996 and has grown into a vast data-gathering enterprise that is powering a new generation of software applications and add-on services for GM's auto brands.
GM has 12.7 million OnStar-connected vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, where the company also is launching new packages that differ slightly from those in the U.S.
A GM Canada spokeswoman said the differences, which include pricing, would be subtle and announced later this week.