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JIM HENRY

Dealerships get aftermarket OnStar, but so do electronics stores

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

Some dealerships received a fresh product to sell late last month when the aftermarket version of General Motors' OnStar vehicle communications device arrived.

GM and non-GM stores alike could apply to sell the device, a rearview mirror embedded with OnStar technology.

The dealerships decide whether to sell the device through the F&I department, with other aftermarket accessories or both, an OnStar spokesman said.

Before, even GM dealerships couldn't make money directly from OnStar sales because the service was factory-installed exclusively on new vehicles and because customers pay OnStar directly for subscriptions.

Meanwhile, OnStar also recently made its aftermarket version available at electronics retailers such as Best Buy. So dealerships get a new product, but they also get new competition.

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