June 20, 2015
OnStar comes free with the purchase of any GM (General Motors) vehicle, if only for a few months. The GM subcontractor is constantly growing. When they first came out, I could not justify paying the extra money. The Security plan however is well worth it for peace of mind. At dealerships, OnStar is being touted as a godsend; cars are all but stolen before the Security plan kicks in and assures the unbought car is returned safely. The GM subsidiary has had quite a few improvements. Including, all kinds of new technologies, accuracy advancements, and etc. But what is most interesting to me, is the second tier Security package. I have heard amazing stories about it. Because of OnStar, a dealership protected 13 cars that attempted to drive off before being bought. The day I went to test drive the Camaro 2SS, that dealership had an interesting day. When I left, there was only one set of gates open, all the others had been locked and had at least one car parked behind them. Apparently that is protocol, to deter potential criminals from just ramming through the gates and doing their business… though that day it was not super effective, but I’ll get to that later. When I was waiting at the light in front of the dealership mid May, I watched the gates I exited through get locked. That was the last I thought of the dealership until I went to test the Volt. I don’t know how it came up, but the salesperson I was working told me that the day I went to see the 2SS would have been a rough day for Chevrolet, if not for OnStar. First, a new salesperson brought out two keys for potential customers, but upon returning to where the customers were (after going to do something inside) both the 2SS’s and the customers had disappeared. The General Manager happened to see the cars drive past him on the road and called the dealership to inquire why his cars were on the road without sales representatives. Upon understanding the situation, OnStar was called. Part of the Security Plan is a remote turn off function, both Camaros were slowed by 10 MPH increments until they came to a full stop. Obviously, by the time the cars were retrieved the criminals had made off on foot. Thankfully, no damage was done to the cars, one of which was the amazingly rare forest green Camaro. That happened mid day in broad daylight, and it was only the beginning, that night got much worse for the dealership. Apparently, this was not an isolated incident because they had actually hired more security earlier that week. When I say security I do not mean a rent-a-cop in a golf cart with a light and a whistle. They had actually gone out and rented a cop (who quit within 2 weeks). I remember seeing his top of the line ghost painted (not the Tahoe I saw) white Tahoe when I pulled up to the dealership. I left the dealership late that day, 15 minutes after they officially closed. After everyone left the dealership for the night a Chevrolet Impala with a license plate registered to a Hummer smashed through a side gate and the car behind it. As soon as the gates were open, and there was enough room for at least 2 more cars to enter; the real heist happened. A minimum of 11 people exited the cars armed with official GM keys, they pressed the panic buttons and found the corresponding 11 cars, mostly decked out Tahoes and Impalas. This is strange because while the Tahoe is doing splendid in sales and growth, the Impala is not. It’s a relatively unpopular car, they are only popular as police cars, and the new models aren’t even used for that. If you are going to steal cars why not make it marketable, ones that can easily be quickly sold afterwards like Silverados and Camaros. Not to mention, if you plan on stealing a car, go for one without OnStar, unless you have like OO7 style signal jammer. They had 11 keys for 11 cars, and not one of them was blocked in. Mind you there are 100s of cars on this lot, at least 70 percent of which are blocked in or in another lot at all times. So this had to have been premeditated, there are too many variables that lined up oh so perfectly. I talked to everyone involved in the process of getting a key made and they found it to be unheard of to make one without other people figuring out what was up.... may I reiterate, 11 keys. To make a new key, you need the old key. To get the old key, a manager has to give the key out. There is record made every time a key is released from what is basically a walk in safe in the dealership. The key would then have to be taken to the parts department where the machine is kept with blank keys. The reason the original is necessary is because there is an electronic signature that is necessary to be reproduced not just the specific laser cut pattern. If by chance the Original is not available you would need to get one from directly from GM. This becomes an even more convoluted process. Assuming for this hypothetical, I am a thief, I would have to get a friend or friends to distract everyone while I snuck into the back. On the way I would have to avoid detection and cameras until I found the executive offices. I would have to break into that area before finding the General Manager’s office. I would probably have to break into that office, before hacking the computer. On that computer (and/or in that office) I would need to ascertain enough information to convince, whoever, is in charge of that at General Motors that I am indeed the GM of this dealership and I need 11 keys. They would send them to the dealership, which means I would have to intercept that shipment somehow. What’s more the car might even need a new ignition switch registered to a different electronic signature. I honestly do not know exactly how this all happened, the information I received, while relatively thorough, was incomplete. How exactly it all happened is beyond me, I am speculating after gathering the facts. I had the salesperson I was working with give me as much information as he could (anonymously), but when I went to ask the manager, about even the most superficial details, he responded no comment. He did not want the publicity, because he thought it would be bad for business. Honestly, I think the opposite would be true, break ins are going to happen, thieves are going to be thieves. But as long as OnStar is being installed before the cars reach the lot, I am sure no one will making off without buying first, not even if they already have a key.