Ford adds 3 years to Sirius deal
Automaker will broaden models with factory-installed satellite radio service option.
Detroit News staff and wire reports
Ford Motor Co.
Sirius will be a factory-installed option on 2006 Ford F-150 models, including Harley-Davidson editions.
Satellite radio plan
• Ford extended contract with Sirius Satellite Radio through 2011
• Will offer satellite radio as factory option in 2006 Ford F-150, Ford Explorer, Lincoln Mark LT and Mercury Mountaineer
• Will make it a factory option on another 17 models in 2006 and 2007
• Will make it available in 90 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles by 2008 model year.
Source: Detroit News wire services
Ford Motor Co.
Sirius will also be a factory option on the 2006 Mercury Mountaineer.
Ford Motor Co. is extending through 2011 its exclusive contract with Sirius Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. to offer Sirius radios as factory-installed options in select models.
Ford's agreement with Sirius was originally scheduled to end in 2008.
"As far as we're concerned, it's a great validation of the service we provide," Sirius Vice President Jim Collins said.
Ford is offering Sirius as a factory-installed option on the 2006 Ford F-150 and Lincoln Mark LT pickups, and the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer sport utility vehicles.
The company is targeting another 17 models for the option in the 2006 and 2007 models years. Satellite radio also is available as a dealer-installed option on various models.
"Clearly, what we're doing here (by extending the contract) is continuing our relationship with a company that we've had a good relationship with so far," said Ron Iori, a Ford spokesman.
Sirius said satellite radio should be available in 90 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles by the 2008 model year.
The radio supplier's contract also covers Ford's foreign vehicle brands including Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin and Mazda.
Of those brands, Land Rover is the only one to offer satellite radio as a factory-installed option, while the other brands have future plans to include Sirius as a factory-installed option.
Ford has said it expects to generate up to 1 million Sirius subscribers over the 2006 and 2007 model years.
Sirius recently said it had 1.4 million subscribers and expects to have 2.7 million by the end of the year.
The company also has exclusive contracts with DaimlerChrysler AG, a 1.2 percent stakeholder in Sirius, BMW and Mitsubishi.
Rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., which supplies General Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co., claims 4 million subscribers and expects 5.5 million by year's end.
Sirius and XM provide commercial-free music, news, traffic, sports and other programming for a monthly fee.
Ford's agreement with Sirius would allow the automaker to become nonexclusive in January 2009. But if Ford exits the contract early it would forfeit certain payments from Sirius.
The nonexclusive clause is customary and does not mean Ford is planning a way out, Collins said.
"Ford is firmly and totally committed to Sirius," he said.
The contract also allows Ford to extend the agreement through 2013.