Ford Reverses Course, Plans to Keep Controversial Item in Its Cars, Trucks and SUVs
Ford Motor Company has put the brakes on a plan to drop AM radios from its vehicle line.
CEO Jim Farley made the announcement Tuesday in a Twitter post, saying the company would make a U-turn on its previous decision to eliminate the feature on most of its new cars.
“After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we’ve decided to include it on all 2024 @Ford & @LincolnMotorCo vehicles,” Farley wrote.
“For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software update. Customers can currently listen to AM radio content in a variety of ways in our vehicles — including via streaming — and we will continue to innovate to deliver even better in-vehicle entertainment and emergency notification options in the future.”
He added a thank-you to the company’s product development and manufacturing teams “for their quick response to make this change for our customers.”
After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we’ve decided to include it on all 2024 @Ford & @LincolnMotorCo vehicles. For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software…
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) May 23, 2023
Earlier, Ford had announced that AM radio would be eliminated from most of its new car models beginning in 2024, Breitbart reported.
The reasoning for the decision was that most AM stations in the U.S. already offer mobile apps with internet streaming, digital and satellite radio options.
Even before that, the company had planned to eliminate AM radio from its electric vehicle line — following the lead of Tesla, Volvo and German automakers — citing electromagnetic interference that made AM reception spotty.
But current and prospective Ford customers and other groups resisted the move, appealing to Congress to stop the industry from dropping AM radios.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers even got involved last week, proposing an “AM for Every Vehicle Act” that would mandate AM radios in new vehicles at no extra cost, Breitbart reported.
In areas without reliable broadband or where FM signals falter, AM radio stands as a sturdy pillar of communication.
This isn’t a dying medium; it’s a vibrant network that connects diverse communities across our nation.
We must protect AM radio at all costs. pic.twitter.com/bABrSxjwzZ
— Mark Alford (@RepMarkAlford) May 16, 2023
They noted “AM’s historic role in transmitting vital information during emergencies, such as natural disasters, especially to rural areas.”
Over 80 million people listen to AM radio each month in the U.S., citing data from the National Association of Broadcasters and Nielsen.
Breitbart reported analyst Mike Ramsey expressed skepticism over the necessity to keep installing AM in new autos.
“In my view, this isn’t that different from automakers discontinuing 8-track players, cassette players and CD players,” Ramsey told the news outlet.
“Technology has advanced. The idea that it is a critical safety channel is a bit suspect given that almost all critical communication now is sent through mobile phones.”
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