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October 27, 2010

Not Sure How To Use Your Bluetooth Phone in the Car? Join the Club.

GM cars and Bluetooth You've got a Bluetooth cell phone. So why are you still holding it up to your ear when you drive?

Perhaps you've never "paired" it to your car because you didn't know how to make the wireless connection, or you thought it was too complicated. Perhaps you didn't know your car had that functionality.

You're in good company. According to a new study by General Motors, 55 percent of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners aren't taking advantage of the Bluetooth-enabled system in their vehicle.

GM is concerned – and rightly so – that these drivers are still holding their phone to their ear while driving, creating a significant distracted driving risk to themselves and others on the road.

Bluetooth allows users to place and receive calls using steering wheel controls and voice recognition. The vehicle audio system allows users to hear the call through the vehicle speakers and respond using the built-in microphone.

“What we’re learning is that many customers simply do not understand the technology, or they’re confused by how to pair their cell phone to a Bluetooth device,” said OnStar President Chris Preuss. “It’s about both educating the customer and alleviating technical challenges.” 

To encourage drivers to make the connection and reduce their risk, GM has launched a new web site, The site walks users through the steps required to pair a wireless phone with a GM vehicle, including older GM brands like Pontiac and Saturn. It details the features available for each cell phone/vehicle combination and offers demonstration videos.

Additionally, the site teaches users the difference between Bluetooth, a standardized technology shared across many cell phone brands, and GM's own Hands-Free Calling, which is part of the OnStar system available only in GM vehicles.

OnStar Hands-Free Calling allows OnStar subscribers to make calls or receive from their vehicle by pressing a white phone icon button. To make a call, the driver says the number she wants to dial aloud. Hands-Free Calling, with its externally mounted antennae, is designed to offer better reception and fewer dropped calls in areas where cell phones signals are weak. So having both Bluetooth and OnStar Hands-Free Calling is a way to stay connected just about anywhere.

Joanne Helperin Consumer Marketing Director, Blog Editor
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