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XM Launches Major Retail Push

Washington – XM Satellite Radio will embark on a major push into 12-volt retailers, now that it is selling its own branded products.

While Sirius is making inroads into the home stereo market with new audio rack system components, XM says its focus next year will be to build its retail presence.

To that end, the company will launch Dec. 1 a $60 mail-in rebate on the XM Commander, a universal XM tuner/FM modulator, when a customer purchases one along with any aftermarket car stereo head unit. The company said it will have enough product in stores by December to support the rebate. The price of the XM Commander, after the promotion, is $99.

According to Dan Murphy, XM’s senior VP, retail marketing and distribution, 12-volt retail sales of satellite radio products, until now, have been hampered by high-priced tuners. ‘When someone comes in to buy a $179 head unit and you’re trying to sell him a $250 [satellite radio] attachment, it doesn’t work. Satellite Radio accessories should optimally cost $69 to $99 or lower,’ he said.

XM said it is hoping the Commander will become a significant part of its sales portfolio. Murphy said the XM Commander should account for at least 20 percent of all XM product sales, from a pool that also includes the Delphi Roady, the Delphi XM SkyFi, XM Direct and the XM PCR for computers.

Murphy said the rebate is designed to draw two types of customers. ‘We’re giving the retailer a tool to increase his attachment rates with his current store traffic, for the customers that come in to buy a new head unit,’ he said, noting the Commander has RCA jacks for direct head-unit attachment. Retailers can also use the product to attract customers who may have an OEM system they are happy with, but who want to add XM via the Commander’s FM modulator, he said.

‘If every single car stereo head unit was sold with an XM tuner, retailers would increase their business by 50 percent,’ Murphy added.