DETROIT -- Although General Motors has phased out its e-GM business unit, there are clear signs that the automaker is using what it learned from the Internet venture to get closer to its customers and dealers.
Owner Center is one example of e-GM's continuing influence. The Web-based initiative connects owners with the automaker.
The service was launched in December for the owners of Pontiac vehicles and some Chevrolet models. The service now is available to anyone with a GM vehicle dating back to the 1993 model year.
"We have a very ambitious plan for the next several years," said Stu Dressler, global Owner Center program manager. That includes marketing the online tool and launching it in foreign markets, which began last month.
Once registered, owners can receive online reminders of scheduled vehicle maintenance, keep a detailed service history and access an owner's manual.
GM says Owner Center has registered more than 80,000 vehicle owners and is adding about 5,000 people a week. The site can be accessed at gm.com, MyGMLink.com or any GM brand site.
As Owner Center is developed, GM's brands will place messages and news on product changes and promote enthusiast events on the site. OnStar, General Motors Acceptance Corp. and other GM companies also will be able to use Owner Center, Dressler said.