Volvo is embracing next generation HD Technology, which will let drivers listen to subscription-free high-definition broadcasting, currently available on more than 1,500 U.S. AM and FM radio stations and some 700 free "HD2 multicast" channels on the FM dial. In addition to the sound-quality improvement, Volvo says, traffic and weather updates, song information and emergency alerts can be displayed on the radio's screen. This will give BMW some competition in the HD radio space, where it has been fitting the radios as a standard feature since 2004 on selected models and across the whole fleet this year.
Meanwhile, Ford is expanding its roll-out of factory-fitted Sirius satellite receivers across all models. The company has already installed over 1 million to date, but is still far behind GM, who put its 1 millionth XM Satellite receiver in a car way back in 2004.
All of this is great news for consumers, who have an ever-increasing supply of high-quality programming on channels that cover all musical tastes and genres from bluegrass to classical, as well as numerous talk stations. It's also good news for brands. Although limited on most satellite and some HD channels, advertising on high-def radio can provide better-targeted and higher-quality opportunities to get brand messages across. So both brands and consumers can enjoy the car ride ... until they invent a TiVo for HD radio.