GM Exec – We blanked out Bluetooth (for Onstar)

I just wanted to note this one for the record.

I had many battles with the people at SaabUSA back in the days of GM ownership. Issues like diesel, Hirsch and one of the more common complaints, the lack of Bluetooth.

I can’t remember the excuses I was given as to why GM didn’t fit Bluetooth into US-market Saabs, but we always had knew the real reason, even if they’d never come out and say it directly – OnStar.

The new chief of OnStar, Chris Preuss, has just appeared on Autoline After Hours and whilst he’s talking about the Pontiac G8, he’s pretty much confirmed what happened with Saab as well (around 48 mins in).

The Bluetooth phenomena….it’s part of the bad old days [where] we blanked out Bluetooth because someone wanted to sell more OnStar handsfree calling minutes and it wasn’t exactly a cogent call….

Darn right, it wasn’t.

I lost track of how many people complained to me about the lack of Bluetooth availablility in the US. It stood out like the dog’s proverbials because it was available everywhere else. Eventually, we all just recognised the BS being fed and let it slide, but the issue still raised its head from time to time until Bluetooth became available around 2009.

It was a classic GM public relations management play. I just hope the new SCNA has given up the GMPR playbook, because the old one sucked. It alienated customers on a lot of occasions.

Past recognised. Non-existant apology accepted. Time to move on.