Ford reverses course, will include AM radio in 2024 models
DETROIT (AP) — Owners of new Ford vehicles will be able to tune in to AM radio in their cars, trucks and SUVs after all.
CEO Jim Farley wrote in social media postings Tuesday that the company is reversing a decision to scrub the band after speaking with government policy leaders who are concerned about keeping emergency alerts that often are sounded on AM stations.
“We’ve decided to include it on all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles,” Farley wrote on Twitter. “For any owners of Ford’s EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software update” to restore it, Farley wrote.
The move comes after a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require AM in new vehicles at no additional cost.
Sponsors of the “AM for Every Vehicle Act” cited public safety concerns, noting AM’s historic role in transmitting vital information during emergencies, such as natural disasters, especially to rural areas.
Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., one of the bill’s sponsors, said eight of 20 major automakers including Ford, BMW and Tesla have pulled the band from new vehicles.
Ford removed AM from the 2023 Mustang Mach-e and F-150 Lightning electric pickups after data collected from vehicles showed that less than 5% of customers listened to it, spokesman Alan Hall said. Electrical interference and reducing cost and manufacturing complexity also played a role.
The company also took it out of the 2024 gasoline-powered Mustang, but will add it back in before any of the muscle cars are delivered, Hall said.
The EVs will get an online software update to put AM back into the vehicles, and Ford will keep including it in future vehicles as it looks at innovative ways to deliver emergency alerts.
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