Vauxhall owner General Motors has chosen Luton as the home of its European telemetry, wifi and call centre support for its customers. 

The carmaker’s connectivity service, which is called OnStar, has been popular in the US and this new UK-based hub spells the manufacturer's European expansion into the technology market.

Carmakers are locked in battle over the best connected car offering ©iStock graphicnoir

OnStar provides drivers with a call centre that they can connect to for emergencies and for navigation services, as well as telematics data that is emailed in monthly reports. It also offers 4G and wifi connectivity in-car as well as remote car unlocking services and anti-theft technology like ignition blocking.

The service is currently free for UK car buyers for the first year, followed by a subscription rate which is yet to be determined.  

Costs for a 4G data package to enable in-car wifi will be priced similarly to mobile phone providers’ tariffs. Up to seven devices can use the data while on-the-go.

As privacy is hot topic in Europe, European and UK OnStar-equipped cars will have a privacy button that will switch off location services, cutting off navigation services.

The firm’s chief financial officer, Chuck Stevens, recently said the firm could pocket $350 million (£234 million) by 2018 thanks to the rollout of 4G LTE in its cars and trucks.

OnStar has been available in the US since 1996, through a call centre in Detroit and boasts seven million worldwide subscribers.  

The firm plans to provide push notifications for offers when a driver passes a coffee shop, for example, in the near future. 

General Motors could place first in the driverless car battle. A survey of recent patents of driving technology revealed that the firm, alongside other traditional car manufacturers were ahead of the likes of Google or Apple for innovative inventions

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