It’s not getting any cheaper for shoppers interested in a new Buick or GMC thanks to parent automaker GM’s recent institution of a new charge for an OnStar and Connected Services subscription the automaker says is optional. The only problem? The service is optional, not the charge.
First reported last month by GM Authority, GM began adding three years of OnStar and Connected Services Premium as an “optional” line item in the window stickers of most new Buick and GMC vehicles June 2. The move also applies to model-year 2023 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade V SUVs.
The suite of features for Premium, currently advertised at $49.99 per month (or $1,799.64 over three years), includes Amazon Alexa, in-vehicle streaming apps (such as Spotify, The Weather Channel and more), connected navigation, 2 gigabytes of data per month and three years of SiriusXM for Escalades in particular. At $1,500, a three-year OnStar activation comes out to $41.67 a month. Buyers are not required to activate OnStar, but the $1,500 charge will remain part of the MSRP regardless.
For GM, software subscription charges are all part of the plan. The automaker has said it intends to double its revenue by 2030 in part by growing its software services by 50%.
“Including this plan on vehicles helps to provide a more seamless onboarding experience and brings customers a valuable package of OnStar and connected services features,” GM spokesperson Kelly Cusinato told Cars.com via email Thursday. “This offering provides customers with a full suite of OnStar and Connected Services for three years, providing them with more time to enjoy services.”
Asked whether the rest of GM’s North American lineup will be included — namely the conspicuously absent Chevrolet — Cusinato did not yet have a definitive response.
“Chevrolet is reviewing its own plans to enhance its customer’s vehicle ownership experience through OnStar and its Connected Services features,” she said, “but we have nothing to share at this time.”