Ford pledges to include AM radio in every upcoming vehicle, with software updates to include it in recent vehicles, following pressure from lawmakers.
Ford CEO Jim Farley announced on Twitter and LinkedIn that AM radio will be included in all 2024 Ford and Lincoln Motor vehicles, following pressure from lawmakers, reversing the company’s initial decision to do away with it.
“After speaking with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as a part of the emergency alert system, we’ve decided to include it in all 2024 Ford and Lincoln Motor vehicles,” reads Farley’s announcement. “For any owners of Ford EVs without AM broadcast capability, we’ll offer a software update.”
“Customers can currently listen to AM radio content in a variety of ways in our vehicles — including via streaming — and we will continue to innovate to deliver even better in-vehicle entertainment and emergency notification options in the future.”
Last week, a group of federal lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require AM radio in new vehicles at no additional cost. Many automakers’ decisions — including Ford, BMW, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Mazda — to remove AM radio from their new electric vehicles prompted lawmakers to introduce the bill.
Supporters and sponsors of the AM for Every Vehicle Act argue that AM radio has historically helped transmit crucial information during emergencies — particularly to rural areas. Companies looking to omit AM radio from their vehicles have argued that electric engines can interfere with the transmission and sound of AM radio stations.
“I would like to think that if Elon Musk has enough money to buy Twitter and send rockets to space, he can afford to include AM radio in his Teslas,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey, the bill’s lead House sponsor, in a statement last week. “Instead, Elon Musk and Tesla and other car manufacturers are putting public safety and emergency response at risk.”
In response to Farley’s announcement, Gottheimer called out Tesla again, as well as other automakers, to follow Ford’s lead and “realize how important AM radio is the backbone behind America’s National Public Warning System.”
“When the cell phone runs out, the internet gets cut off, or the television doesn’t work because of no electricity or power to your house, you can still turn on your AM radio,” said Gottheimer.
Ford already omitted AM radio from the 2023 Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning electric pickup after data gathered from vehicles showed that less than 5 percent of customers listened to it, according to a Ford spokesperson. Nielsen data reveals more than 80 million people in the U.S. listen to AM radio monthly.