Monday, December 18, 2006

1.8 million GM autos to get XM next year

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
1.8 million GM autos to get XM next year
Automaker's addition of satellite radio exceeds firm's target; extends lead over rival Sirius.
Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON -- XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the biggest pay-radio company, said General Motors Corp. will install its radios in more than 1.8 million vehicles built next year.

GM, the world's largest automaker, was the first to offer XM's factory-installed satellite radio in 2001, XM said Tuesday.

In August, GM cut the price for factory installation of XM devices to $199 from $352.

The gains may help XM extend its lead over smaller rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

That company on Monday cut its year-end subscriber forecast by as much as 6.3 percent, saying holiday shoppers aren't buying as much as anticipated.

"GM's announcement highlights the long-term opportunity for growth in satellite radio," Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne said in a note to investors.

"The competitive pressure between auto manufacturers to gain or maintain market share" will encourage more to add extras such as satellite radio to appeal to customers.

XM's target is higher than the 1.65 million devices Swinburne expected from GM. He has an "overweight" rating on XM and doesn't own the shares.

The company also said last week that American Honda Motor Co. will install XM in more than 650,000 of its 2007 models, up from 550,000 installed in this year's vehicles.

Sirius has agreements with car companies such as DaimlerChrysler AG and Volkswagen AG.

Total subscribers will reach 5.9 million to 6.1 million by the end of the year, Sirius said Monday. The company had predicted 6.3 million on Nov. 8.

XM has forecast 7.7 million to 7.9 million customers over that period.

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