New Ford car, truck, and SUV owners will still be able to listen to AM radio in their vehicles.
After meeting with government policymakers worried about maintaining emergency alerts, which are frequently broadcast on AM stations, the business is reversing a decision to scrub the band, according to CEO Jim Farley, who posted on social media on Tuesday.
Farley posted on LinkedIn and Twitter, “We’ve decided to include it on all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles.” Farley stated that we’d provide a software upgrade to Ford EV owners who have lost their capacity to receive AM broadcasts.
The action follows the introduction on Wednesday of a measure by a bipartisan group of federal legislators urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate AM in new vehicles at no additional cost.
The “AM for Every Vehicle Act”‘s proponents voiced concerns about public safety while pointing out AM’s historic function in disseminating critical information during emergencies like natural disasters, especially in rural areas.
Eight of 20 major automakers, including Ford, BMW, and Tesla, according to Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., one of the bill’s supporters, have removed the band from new vehicles.
According to spokesman Alan Hall, after data from the vehicles revealed that fewer than 5% of buyers listened to it, Ford deleted AM from the 2023 Mustang Mach-e and F-150 Lightning electric trucks.
Electrical interference also played a part in lowering costs and simplifying the manufacturing process.
Additionally, the corporation removed it from the 2024 Mustang with a gasoline engine; however, according to Hall, it will be added back before any muscle cars are delivered.
Ford will retain including AM in future vehicles as it searches for new ways to convey emergency notifications, according to Hall.
The EVs will receive an online software update to re-incorporate AM into automobiles.
Ford and others also suggested replacing AM radio with Internet radio or other communication methods.
However, Markey and other speakers cited scenarios in which drivers might not have access to the internet.
The proposal was commended by the Federal Communications Commission and National Association of Broadcasters, and it is also supported by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., Rep. Tom Kean, Jr., R.-N.J., and Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Wash.
However, the law was attacked by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a U.S. trade organization that speaks for significant automakers, including Ford and BMW, calling the AM radio rule superfluous.
The trade association cited the Integrated Public Alerts and Warning System of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which can broadcast safety alerts across AM, FM, internet-based, satellite radios, and other media.
The alliance claimed that the bill favors a technology in direct competition with other forms of communication.
BMW and Tesla were contacted on Tuesday for comment.
The National Association of Broadcasters and Nielsen statistics show that more than 80 million Americans regularly tune in to AM radio.