Consulting firm ABI Research awarded General Motors top honors in a safety and security telematics assessment it conducted on the major global automakers.

The firm said GM ranks first due to the “strong width and depth” of the automaker’s OnStar feature set, market share, quality and reliability.

Ford Motor Co. placed second in ABI’s study as it “excels in regional coverage, market share, pricing, and smart phone integration,” while Toyota placed third because of its “open platforms” approach and “ecosystem” partnerships where information technology (IT) is concerned.

“OnStar remains the leading safety and security telematics solution in the U.S., offering the most complete range of safety and security features, including state of the art emergency calling, roadside assistance, and stolen vehicle tracking, immobilization, and recovery,” noted Dominique Bonte, ABI’s VP and practice director. “It is also offered as a standard feature on all GM models with one year free subscription.”

To date, GM has 6.4 million subscribers globally, resulting in an overall market share of 24.6%, according to ABI, but questions remain on the scalability of GM's proprietary technology and its premium business model.

The firm noted that Ford’s free hybrid SYNC telematics solution offers E911 emergency calling and remote diagnostics scoring high on regional coverage with SYNC currently used in more than 4 million vehicles in North America.

Global expansion is ongoing with SYNC launching in Europe for its emergency calling service and Asia in as 2012 winds to a close, but the main weakness with Ford’s service is quality and reliability due to the dependence on phones, ABI said.

Toyota began offering its “G-BOOK” telematics service in Japan back in2002 but only recently launched telematics in the U.S. and China under the “Safety Connect” brand name, the firm noted. It scores high on open platforms and partnerships as illustrated by its cooperation with Microsoft to build a global next-generation platform based on Windows Azure cloud technology, ABI added.