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GM Expands OnStar by Offering 911 Emergency Services for Your Home Through Amazon Alexa

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  • General Motors plans to expand its OnStar Guardian emergency services from an in-vehicle feature and phone-based app to at home with Amazon Alexa.
  • The company said it will launch a new skill for Amazon's popular voice assistant that allows subscribers to connect with OnStar emergency-certified advisors by saying, "Alexa, call for help."
  • For GM, the expansion is a small step in its growth strategy to build relationships with customers beyond vehicle ownership.

DETROIT – General Motors plans to expand its 911 emergency services for vehicles to customers' homes through a new partnership with Amazon.  

The Detroit automaker said Wednesday it will launch a new OnStar Guardian for Amazon's popular voice assistant Alexa that allows subscribers to connect with OnStar emergency-certified advisors by saying, "Alexa, call for help." From there, OnStar advisors will call the police or EMTs if needed.

Amazon offers a similar service for Alexa called Guard Plus. Users also can program an emergency contact for the device to call.

For GM, the expansion is a small step in its growth strategy to build customers beyond vehicle ownership. The company is attempting to pivot itself into more recurring revenue opportunities such as subscription services like OnStar.

GM said the new Alexa feature will first launch for select existing OnStar customers in October, followed by a broader roll out in 2022.

Pricing for the new OnStar feature will be announced at a later date, according to GM. Amazon's Alexa Guard Plus costs $4.99 a month or $49 a year.

GM's current OnStar Guardian app for Apple and Android smartphones is $15 a month. The app offers mobile crash response, limited roadside assistance and 24/7 emergency services.

GM currently provides OnStar and connected services to 16 million customers in the U.S. and Canada. Of those, more than 270,000 OnStar members have signed up for OnStar Guardian safety services.

—CNBC's Annie Palmer contributed to this report.

Correction: Amazon offers an emergency helpline service called Guard Plus for Alexa. A previous version of this article misstated the availability of such a service.

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