SAN ANTONIO - General Motors is offering a service that helps commercial truck customers keep track of their fleets and drivers.
Through a wireless telematics system called etrace xt, a company's dispatchers can track the location of vehicles on the Internet and send text messages to Nextel cell phones with global positioning system technology. Dispatchers monitor employee movement on a password-protected Web site.
The idea is to allow companies to know the location of their employees and vehicles at any time. With that information, for example, a dispatcher for a plumbing company could quickly estimate the arrival of a truck at a customer's home.
The system, created by Gearworks Inc. of Minneapolis, is available to GM customers who buy qualifying commercial trucks.
Etrace xt can be used by businesses with fleets of five to 30 trucks, said Tim Cavanaugh, GM Fleet and Commercial marketing manager. He talked about the service at a press briefing here.
GM is offering the etrace xt package free for one year to commercial customers who purchase qualifying vehicles through GMC Fit for Profit or Chevrolet Commercial Customer's Choice promotional programs.
The deal includes a one-year subscription to etrace xt, a GPS/Java-enabled Nextel i58sr phone and a one-year subscription to a Nextel Total Connect data plan. Voice service, which is not included in the package, can be added at the customer's expense.
After the first year, the customer will pay no more than $34 a month per vehicle for etrace xt and $32.99 a month per truck for the Nextel data plan.
Eligible vehicles under GMC Fit for Profit are GMC Sierra and heavy-duty pickups, Savanna/Savanna Pro full-sized vans, Safari minivans and Sonoma compact pickups.
The plan also is available under Chevrolet Commercial Customer's Choice on Chevrolet Silverado and heavy-duty pickups, Express/Express Access full-sized vans, Astro minivans and S10 pickups.