More shoppers ask for satellite radio

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Ronald Epstein

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    More shoppers ask for satellite radio

    Bradford Wernle | | Automotive News / March 27, 2006 - 6:00 am


    Auto dealers say the satellite option is not a factor in making most sales, but more customers expect it.

    "It's just a competitive market requirement, particularly on high-market cars," says Earl Hesterberg, CEO of Group 1 Automotive Inc. in Houston, the nation's fifth-largest dealership group with 95 stores. "My dealers tell me they haven't lost any sales because of it, but if they didn't offer it they might."

    Jim Corwin, owner of Corwin Jeep-Chrysler in Hickory, Pa., says customers at his dealership seem to like satellite radio, especially when Chrysler gives Jeep owners a free one-year subscription. A factory installed radio is a $195 option on most Jeeps.

    Corwin says satellite radio initially was popular in high-end Jeeps but is now working its way through the lineup.

    "We're not bashful about putting it in the Liberty, which is a price-sensitive product," he says.

    Dealers say their salespeople are not getting spiffs to sell satellite systems. Corwin says getting customers to buy the satellite option

    isn't difficult, especially with a year free subscription.

    "Most people, even the naysayers, come back and say they really enjoy it. Customers are receiving it really well. But is it helping sell cars? I don't think so."

    Randy Fuller, co-owner of Fuller's White Mountain Motors in Show Low, Ariz., says satellite radio hasn't made that much impact in the rural area where his Ford and Jeep dealership is located.

    "I don't see it being a primary buying decision. When people come in and ask whether you have satellite in the vehicles they don't really seem to care if it's XM or Sirius."

    Bart deBrow, general manager of Suburban Nissan in Troy, Mich., said his customers have a choice of Sirius or XM and are divided evenly.

    "I think in probably about four years, you'll see it as standard feature on every car," he says.

    Deals on satellite radio vary according to manufacturer. A Ford Five Hundred at Fuller's store comes with Sirius as a $265 option and a six-month free subscription. Monthly subscriptions cost $12.95 at both Sirius and XM.

    Corwin believes satellite radio is just another evolutionary step on the way to more comprehensive in-vehicle communications.

    "Telematics -- I look at that as the logical stepping stone that would be important in the value story of a car. If I get something that tells me there's an accident around the next turn -- that would be important to me. I think that is the future of satellite radio."

    You may e-mail Bradford Wernle at bwernle@crain.com

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dl.../1018&refsect=
     
  2. Ernie Estrella

    Ernie Estrella Stunt Coordinator

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    I really wish that both XM and Sirius would stop with the exclusivity contracts. Give people a choice of what they want.

    I'm a big Honda guy but I doubt my next car will be them because they're exclusive with XM. I'm beginning to look to Toyota or VW.

    I actually avoid looking at any car companies who are XM exclusive because of the exclusivity thing. Why should I have to buy something later to switch out the radio? Also by letting people choose you'd be able to guage better which subscription service caters to which people.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

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    And unfortunately, I would never buy a car from
    a company that has SIRIUS built into it.

    I was lucky that Honda/Acura had XM.
     
  4. Ernie Estrella

    Ernie Estrella Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm hoping my current car will last me another three years. I'm at almost 7 years on a 99 Civic. Not bad for a car in the great lakes area considering the snow we get. Anyway, hopefully by then we're looking at having the option of having either service in most car services.

    Most people are not concerned with the satelllite radio that is pre-installed in their car, but to those that are, I just see the exclusivity factor being more of a deterrent than a draw. I was applauding VW for offering both up until a few weeks ago when they went exclusively to Sirius. For Sirius, I think that's great but I can imagine people who are in the market of buying a new car and are both XM fans and VW fans just crossed them off their list.

    I'd like it better to just have a car with no radio at all, get it professionally installed, but hope to look for models that are continually having an aux in plug available for MP3 players, Satellite plug ins, Minidisc players, etc. I went to the auto show in Detroit this past winter and saw this becoming more of a regular option.
     

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