Under pressure from lawmakers, Ford is committed to adding AM radio to every upcoming vehicle, with software updates to include it in newer vehicles.
Ford CEO Jim Farley announced on Twitter and LinkedIn that under pressure from lawmakers, AM radio will be installed in all Ford and Lincoln Motor vehicles by 2024, reversing the company’s original decision to eliminate it.
“After speaking with policymakers about the importance of AM broadcasting as part of the emergency alert system, we have decided to include it in all 2024 model year Ford and Lincoln motor vehicles,” it said Farley’s announcement. “We are offering a software update for all Ford electric vehicle owners without AM broadcast capability.”
“Customers can currently listen to AM radio content in our vehicles in a variety of ways, including via streaming, and we will continue to innovate to provide even better in-vehicle entertainment and emergency notification options in the future.”
Last week, a group of federal lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill that would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate AM radio in new vehicles at no additional cost. The decision by many automakers — including Ford, BMW, Tesla, Volkswagen and Mazda — to remove AM radio from their new electric vehicles prompted lawmakers to introduce the bill.
Proponents and sponsors of the AM for Every Vehicle Act argue that AM radio has historically helped transmit vital information during emergencies – particularly to rural areas. Companies trying to get rid of AM radio in their vehicles argue that electric motors can affect the transmission and sound of AM radio stations.
“I’d like to think that Elon Musk can afford to put AM radio in his Teslas if he has enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets into space,” said New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who The bill’s main sponsor issued a statement last week. “Instead, Elon Musk, Tesla and other automakers are threatening public safety and emergency response.”
In response to Farley’s announcement, Gottheimer called out Tesla and other automakers should once again follow Ford’s lead and “recognize the importance of AM radio as the backbone of America’s National Public Warning System.”
“If the cell phone dies, the internet connection drops, or the TV doesn’t work because your house has no power, you can still turn on your AM radio,” Gottheimer said.
Ford has already dropped AM radio on the 2023 Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning electric pickup, according to a Ford spokesman, after data from vehicles showed less than 5 percent of customers were hearing it. Nielsen data shows that more than 80 million people in the US listen to AM radio every month.