Want to Add Built-In Nav to Your Used GM Vehicle? There’s an App for That

For those who duct tape their phones to the dash to use an app for navigation directions (or plop their phones in the cupholder) because their vehicle does not have a built-in navigation system, General Motors is offering a better solution.

Starting April 30, GM will roll out a new app called Maps+ for about 900,000 customers with vehicles purchased in the last few years that could use a navigational upgrade.

Maps+ incorporates navigation with apps like Marketplace and personal assistant Alexa to offer a more cohesive experience where drivers have a host of connected services at their fingertips. They can plan their day by finding the stores or destinations they want, get the directions, know the speed limit at any point in the journey, and other pertinent information like finding gas stations or parking spots to run a day’s errands seamlessly while listening to a favorite podcast.

Give Customers What They Want

Deborah Wahl, GM’s chief marketing officer, told a Reuters conference that 62 percent of customers say they want an integrated nav map. The ability to update existing vehicles only adds to their value and improves their ownership experience, Wahl says. And it is not a one-time thing; over-the-air updates can be used to continue to upgrade a vehicle over its lifetime. And the beauty of it is it does not require new hardware and can be adapted for use with vehicles of assorted dash and screen layouts and electrical systems.

Maps+ will be available for owners of compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles dating back to the 2018 model year. It will be offered as part of a Connected Services plan. GM did not break out the cost of the subscription plan required, but it will be run through OnStar Connected Services, the automaker’s data connection that powers onboard 4G LTE-fed WiFi, remote vehicle services (remote start your car or keep tabs on it via a smartphone app), and more. OnStar Connected plans that currently offer the connected navigation function currently run between $14.99 per month and $24.99 per month. Eligible vehicle owners will be notified when their vehicle is eligible for Maps+.

Of course, just using your phone is free—not to mention pairing it via a cable to those GM vehicles that offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration, which allows nav apps such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze to be beamed onto your vehicle’s touchscreen, much like a native, onboard system. So, if you must have built-in nav, at least GM is supporting constant updates via the app.

Hummer Went Hollywood

Other interesting tidbits from Wahl: the high-production videos used to introduce the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup truck and the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV electric vehicles to the public were the most-watched launches GM has done to date. Their success means GM will continue to incorporate an entertainment focus in the future to introduce new vehicles and highlight their features.

GM spent about $1 billion less than usual on advertising in 2020. Wahl would not say how much GM will spend this year but said the company plans to return to pre-pandemic spending levels when the world returns to normal activities.

A lesson learned from the pandemic: speed is of the essence. If the company can quickly retool a plant to make ventilators, it can quickly develop marketing strategies and ad campaigns.

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