Pretty Convincing: GM Makes Remote Start Standard
Automakers want to convince us all that buying a new car is preferable to buying used. Dealers just hope you buy a car—new would be nice, but there’s good money to be made selling used ones, too.
Consumers obviously are left to make the choice and sometimes spend hours researching whether new or used makes the most sense. Much of that decision comes down to financials, since the features in new cars do not vary much from what’s available in recent used vehicles.
General Motors would like to add more tech-laden features to new cars, so tech-savvy buyers might be convinced to pony up for new instead of used.
Sometime after the invention of the car key, the act of inserting it into the ignition and twisting became too hard for most humans. Hence the invention of push-button start. Since physically pushing a button once finally situated in the driver’s seat can be quite taxing, there’s been a new twist on an old invention: remote start.
For the 2014 model year, GM will offer its RemoteLink Key Fob Services standard on all vehicles, which can make the act of starting a vehicle as simple as pushing send on a text message. No more fumbling for the key, no more thinking that red push-to-start button is just too far away to comfortably push. If owners of a 2014 GM vehicle choose, they can download the RemoteLink Key Fob app and use it on their smartphones for 5 years from the delivery date of their vehicle. With it, owners will be able to remotely start their vehicles, unlock doors and activate the horn and lights. Rather than communicating directly with the car, the app uses a cellular or wireless connection to communicate with the OnStar mothership, which then sends a signal to authenticate the subscriber, which then is transmitted back to the vehicle. To me, that seems like a lot of unnecessary steps to just unlock the door or start the engine. But, as connected as people are to their phones, I’m guessing the feature will have plenty of takers.
GM did make a good point about the technology in its press release:
“What’s great about the RemoteLink Key Fob Services is that it works far beyond the range of a traditional key fob, which can come in handy in a number of situations,” such as starting your car on a cold day as you leave the office or ensuring your vehicle is safely locked in the airport parking lot as you sit in the terminal.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve sat in a terminal and wondered if I locked my car. If the RemoteLink Key Fob can eliminate that worry, it might be enough to convince me to buy new.
Would you want a phone app for starting your car and locking/unlocking your doors?