Skip to main content

Connected-car pioneer LoJack will shut down on March 15

LoJack, a pioneer in the field of connected cars, will wind down its American sales operations in 2021. It will stop taking purchase orders in March, but it pledged to continue supporting stolen vehicle services indefinitely.

Founded in 1986, in an era when cars and computers were still largely mutually exclusive, LoJack rose to prominence by offering motorists a stolen vehicle recovery system that law enforcement officials could directly access. This was revolutionary in the 1980s, because even new luxury cars were relatively simple to steal with basic tools. LoJack’s technology was extremely innovative: GPS wasn’t commercially available yet, so its recovery system relied on a small radio transceiver that emits a signal every 15 seconds on a frequency set aside specifically for it.

If your, say, 1990 Ford Thunderbird got stolen, police officers could find it (hopefully in one piece) by tracking its LoJack device. The transceiver helped police officers recover thousands of cars. Commercial GPS systems became increasingly common in the 1990s, however, and trackers encroached on LoJack’s turf. Then, technology like General Motors-developed OnStar gave motorists an alternative to the system that was already built into their car.

LoJack fired back by expanding its roster of features to include boundary alerts and crash detecting, and by branching out into different segments. It notably released a system that tracked stolen laptops. But, much like Nokia, it missed a turn and fell behind. California-based CalAmp purchased the company in 2016 in a bid to turn it around, but the competition (from direct rivals, from start-ups like the freshly launched RecovR, and from carmakers) was already far ahead.

CalAmp explained in a statement that it will continue to support dealership orders for Classic SVR, Connect, and Connect+ products until June 18, 2021, though it’s asking customers to submit all final purchase orders no later than March 15. Suddenly pulling the plug on the project would have a negative effect on the law enforcement officials who use its products, so it will continue to honor its service commitments with police departments indefinitely.

Surprisingly, the announcement only applies to LoJack’s American division. Its international business will continue to operate in locations like Mexico, Italy, and England, among other countries. CalAmp pointed out that its international business operates with a subscription-based business model that’s well-aligned with its strategy.

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
Tesla introduces ‘congestion fee’ for Supercharger stations
Tesla Supercharger

Tesla has been charging an idle fee for years in a bid to free up its Superchargers and prevent traffic jams at charging stations. But now it’s introducing a new congestion fee, which in some places will replace the idle fee.

To recap, idle fees kick in when a Supercharger station is at 50% capacity. It means that if a car is left plugged in after it is fully charged, the owner has to pay 50 cents a minute until they leave. If the station is 100% occupied, the fee doubles to $1 a minute.

Read more
This popular car jump starter is 86% off for Black Friday
AVAPOW 6000A Car Jump Starter

There's nothing worse than needing to go somewhere and having to deal with a dead car battery. Fixing that issue can also be a problem since you'll need to call for help from a friend or neighbor or something like AAA. Luckily, car starters have become pretty powerful in recent years, so even if you have a truck or an RV, you can start a dead battery relatively easily. One great example is the Avapow 6000A car jump starter, which has an excellent Black Friday deal from Walmart, knocking it down to $86 from $144.

Why you should buy the AVAPOW 6000A Car Jump Starter
As the name might suggest, the Avapow 6000A has a massive 6000A peak current, which means it's suitable for everything from trucks to tractors, so it's a very versatile tool, and it's even had upgraded jumper cable to handle those currents. It's also a pretty smart system since it has eight layers of safety protocols to ensure you don't accidentally fry a battery or yourself trying to jump-start, and even the jumper cables have safety indicators on them, which is a great design choice.

Read more
This Graco car seat lasts for ten years, and it’s 25% off for Black Friday
Graco 4EVER 4-in-1 baby car seat black friday deal

A good car seat will adjust as your child grows, reducing the amount of times you have to buy a newer, bigger model. How, you ask? Well, Graco's 4EVER DLX 4-in-1 car seat is the ideal example. It offers up to ten years of use, with seamless transformations between rear-facing harness, forward-facing harness, high back belt positioned, and backless belt positioned booster modes.

For Black Friday -- and really, this should be featured in the best Black Friday deals -- this exact car seat is on sale for 25% off, which is a discount of $82. Normally $330, it's yours today for just $248. Considering you'll never have to buy another seat for ten years, and by then, they can use a seatbelt, it's a fantastic investment.

Read more