Will Holden OnStar change how Australians drive?

Where Can I Find the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer.

The VIN can be found in a couple of places including on the car's registration label (1), on the compliance plate in the engine bay (2) or on the passenger side windshield (3), or on one of the door posts (where the door latches when it is closed) (4). See the image below:

Look for the VIN in these other locations:

  • Insurance card/Insurance policy
  • Vehicle title and registration certificate


Starting in 2019, OnStar will be rolled out across Holden's range in the Asia Pacific region, with Australia and New Zealand getting the tech first1. General Motors' OnStar technology was launched in 1996 for the North American market, and since then has grown to have 13 million users across South America, Europe and China1. While GM has always tried to stay ahead of the curve in relation to innovative tech for safety and connectivity in their vehicles, in the last few years OnStar has become truly impressive. 

Over the next few years, Holden will be offering drivers a completely new experience, but will this change the way we drive?

What does OnStar do?

OnStar is a very robust technology that has a huge amount of benefits for drivers. The services on offer are generally split into the five areas below:

1. Emergency

The automated crash response is perhaps the strongest feature OnStar has to offer. OnStar will alert emergency services about a crash within an instant of it happening. Utilising GPS satellites, OnStar can direct ambulances or roadside assistance to your exact location2

Perhaps even more impressive, the tech also knows which part of the car took the impact and can provide emergency services with accurate information regarding your situation. In serious crashes, this critical information can save lives. This technology is improving road safety where it's been implemented, and we can expect the same when OnStar comes to Australian roads2.

2. Security

OnStar can provide emergency services with information regarding your situation as it happens.

OnStar also offers stolen vehicle assistance. The Remote Ignition Block tool does exactly what it says on the tin. If your vehicle is stolen, OnStar can lock the ignition so the thief can't start the vehicle even if they have the keys3.

There's also the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown tool, so once the police have confirmed that conditions are safe, OnStar can slowly reduce the speed of the vehicle until it stops3.

Finally, the GM tech can be set to send you an SMS, email or phone call if your vehicle's alarm is tripped.

3. Vehicle Management

The vehicle management suite of tools is fantastic for those of us who aren't particularly "mechanically inclined". Vehicles with OnStar feature the Diagnostics Reporting tool, which will conduct a monthly check on systems including, engine, transmission, brakes and more. A report will be compiled and emailed to you, highlighting anything that needs your attention4.

Additionally, OnStar Smart Driver analyses the way you drive, and can provide tips or advice to improve your driving behaviour. Location Manager is tied to the smartphone app, and can show you where your car is at any time4.

4. Navigation

OnStar boasts an effective navigation system. This includes Turn-By-Turn Navigation, providing accurate and up-to-date navigation for anywhere you need to go. Further, you can easily download maps for future reference, and AtYourService provides tips, guides and coupons for new areas you're exploring5.

5. Connectivity

With 4G LTE, OnStar turns your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot6, capable of connecting up to seven devices. OnStar also connects to select third party apps which can enhance user experience even further.


"Do you have data?" will soon be a question you can ask directly to the dashboard.


How will this affect the way we drive?

The question is - how will OnStar work in Australia? Will it change the way we interact with our roads? The short answer is likely to be a no, it won't massively change our driving habits. But it might be the first step in what will be a significant change. 

Intelligent transport systems (ITS) such as OnStar could reduce trauma levels on Australian roads by up to 30 per cent, according to a recent report from the Australian College of Road Safety7. The US will also implement mandatory vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in automobiles by 2023 - a trend that we can expect to make it Down Under in the years to follow8.

The question then becomes less about "how will OnStar change the Australian driving experience?" and more "how will technology make our roads safer?" While OnStar is likely to provide Australian Holden drivers with a better user experience, this tech is very much the tip of the iceberg in terms of ITS. While OnStar can help you out of an emergency situation, direct you to the best pizza, and keep your vehicle safe and sound, only time will tell what the future of Australian roads will be like.

In the meantime, be sure to check the history of any second hand Holden you have your eye on. While used Holdens on the market today may not yet light the way to pizza, CarHistory can certainly help you avoid a lemon.

1 inside.holden.com.au. Holden changes the game with OnStar technology. Accessed October 2017.

2 Onstar.com. Emergency. Accessed October 2017.

3 Onstar.com. Security. Accessed October 2017.

4 Onstar.com. Vehicle Manager. Accessed October 2017.

5 Onstar.com. Navigation. Accessed October 2017.

6 Caradvice.com.au. Holden to Activate Onstar Technology in Australia by 2020. Accessed October 2017.

7 acrs.org.au. Investing in New Technology to Reduce Accidents and Improve Safety in Transport. Accessed October 2017.

8 techcrunch.com. All new cars could have V2V tech by 2023. Accessed October 2017.

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