Ford First Automaker To Provide HD Radio In Most 2008 Models

Ford's just revealed they'll be providing HD Digital Radio as a new dealer-installed option available on "nearly every 2008 model year Ford, Lincoln and Mercury." It makes Ford the first automaker to offer the option across "multiple product lines." No word yet whether we'll be able to get it on an Econoline — but we're pretty sure we'll be able to get it on a Focus. While we've never actually heard HD Digital Radio before, we hear it's got beautiful plumage. Also, because it's not the new Sync system, it may not be enough to get folks pining for the Fjords — it's yet another weapon in their automotive aftermarket arsenal. Full press release after the jump.

FORD TO MAKE HD DIGITAL RADIO AVAILABLE ACROSS NEARLY ALL PRODUCT LINES

* Dealer-installed option available nationwide on nearly every 2008 model year Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle
* HD Digital Radio™ can be installed on most currently-owned vehicles built in model years 2005, 2006 and 2007
* Ford's high-definition radio strategy builds on company's effort to be among the industry's leaders in delivering new automotive entertainment technologies

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept., 26, 2007 - Ford Motor Co. today became the first automaker to offer HD Digital Radio across multiple product lines. The dealer-installed high-definition radio option is now available nationwide on nearly all 2008 model year Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Additionally, HD Digital Radio can be installed on many earlier models from 2005, 2006 and 2007. As with SYNC, the extensive availability of HD Digital Radio furthers the company's ongoing efforts to deliver new entertainment technologies to automotive consumers.

"We believe HD Digital Radio will be an important part of Ford's commitment to delivering innovations with mass appeal," said Kim Irwin, Vehicle Personalization and Accessories manager for Ford's Customer Service Division. "We're helping our customers stay connected by supporting the features and functions they want in their vehicles. The dramatically improved audio, text and data features of HD Digital Radio - along with its hundreds of new radio stations - create a compelling combination at the right price."

HD Digital Radio dramatically increases the sound quality of radio broadcasts and enables more than one radio broadcast on a single channel. As a result, consumers hear a wide range of new HD2 multicast stations as well as their favorite radio stations in crystal clear digital sound with no monthly subscription fee. More than 1500 radio stations in the U.S. currently broadcast in HD digital sound, with more than 600 stations also airing HD2 multicasts.

HD Radio joins other new technologies - including SYNC - being offered in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles to make driving more enjoyable and convenient than ever before. Beginning immediately, HD Digital Radio will be available as a dealer-installed option on new, pre-owned and currently-owned vehicles. Price points will vary by dealership but, as always, HD Radio broadcasts carry no monthly subscription fee.

"Drivers have always had a love affair with their car radios," added Irwin. "HD Radio offers our dealers a triple threat: It differentiates their offerings from other brands; it lets them upgrade customer entertainment systems in a unique way; and it lets buyers of recent pre-owned vehicles as well as current vehicle owners share completely in the benefits. This is the kind of program that our dealers love to see."

To support the launch, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers will benefit from an aggressive, multi-million-dollar, 13-week, on-air radio marketing campaign in partnership with the HD Digital Radio Alliance. The commercials will air in 100 markets over some 700 radio stations beginning on September 26, 2007.

"In all of our discussions with auto makers, Ford has consistently demonstrated both the will and the resolve to be industry leaders in this arena," said Peter Ferrara, president and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance. "Now that HD Radio is broadcasting across hundreds of local stations nationwide, partners who move early will gain the biggest advantage."

The HD Digital Radio Alliance is a joint initiative of leading radio broadcasters to accelerate the successful rollout of HD Digital Radio. Current members include major radio groups and independent station owners: Beasley Broadcast Group, Bonneville International, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting / ABC Radio, Clear Channel Radio, Emmis Communications, Entercom, Greater Media and WBEB Philadelphia. For more information on HD Digital Radio, visit www.hdradio.com.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information about Ford products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.