It’s been an ongoing issue here at Trollhattan Saab – trying to sort out the mess that GM’s passion for OnStar and the lack of Bluetooth availability.
If I had my wits about me last night I would have included it in the Top 9 things that I hope Christmas will help me forget.
Saab isn’t able to offer Bluetooth in the US. The official reason is because it’s not compatible with OnStar. This is spin. The real reason is because GM have some agreement with a phone company to supply phone minutes via OnStar. Therefore, if you want to make calls from your car, you can. You just have to use OnStar’s overpriced minutes and forego your right to consumer choice.
The last word that we had on this here at Trollhattan Saab came from Jan-Willem Vester of Saab USA a few months ago:
Followed up with my Saab product colleagues regarding our conversation on Bluetooth. There’s light at the end of the tunnel: just like currently the case with the all-new Cadillac CTS, the Saab 9-3 will be getting the newest version of OnStar with integrated Bluetooth phone capabilities. No firm date yet, but it is coming. We will let you know as soon as we have more details.
This was all well and good, but there were still no firm details. I should mention that in comments to that post, someone has reproduced an email sent to Jan-Willem, where he’s reminded of these comments and queried as to whether any future system could be retrofitted. This guy was an eight-time Saab customer and considered changing brands because of the lack of Bluetooth.
Anyway, back on track…..
The latest news on this front comes from GM’s FYI blog where a commenter asked the Bluetooth question and received the following response:
The Cadillac STS is currently equipped with Bluetooth technology, and we (General Motors) will offer the broadest rollout of Bluetooth in the industry by making it available on more than 30 models across all eight North American brands by the 2009 model year. We have already set the industry standard when it comes to in-vehicle safety, security and information services with OnStar, and are poised to be a leader in Bluetooth integration in the very near future.
So I guess the next big question is whether or not a Saab will be one of those thirty vehicles in the 2009 model year to come with OnStar’s safety features AND Bluetooth compatability?
And if so, which model(s) will get it?
I’d suggest new models, so maybe the 9-4x will be built with this new system wired in. It’d seem crazy not to offer it on the 9-3 given the volume it sells, too.
As an aside (I’m still cranky) – it totally cheezes me off how news like this is delivered with the tag “we’ll have the biggest lineup of Bluetooth integration in the industry”.
How about starting off with “we listened to our customers and realised that we were way behind the 8-ball and so now we’re doing something about it. Sorry for taking so long……”
No-one can admit an error there. I’m convinced.