Detroit — Ford Motor Company announced today that it is expanding availability of Sirius Satellite Radio to four additional vehicles, and targeting up to 20 vehicle lines for factory installation over the next two years.
The announcement is significant in that it marks Ford’s first commitment to offering Sirius as a factory-installed option, rather than dealer-installed, which is generally believed to generate a higher rate of subscribers. Dealer-installed options require that the dealer add a kit to the vehicle in order to get satellite radio service.
In addition to the nine Ford, Mercury and Lincoln models now offering Sirius as a dealer-installed option, four new models — Ford Escape, Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and the new Mercury Mariner — will offer Sirius as a dealer-installed option this fall. Over the next two model years, 2006 and 2007, Ford and Mercury plan to offer Sirius as a factory-installed option on 20 vehicles.
Sirius’ rival, XM Satellite Radio, has maintained the lead in factory installations of satellite radio as it is available on all General Motors models, a total of 57, as a factory option. XM said that about half its new subscriptions are generated by new car buyers, according to a spokesman. He added that GM generally offers a free 90-day trial offer for XM service and that roughly 70 percent of car buyers continue the service.