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XM radio to be standard in '04 Hondas
 Date: September 09, 2003 15:22
 Submitted by:  poweredbyhonda
 Source: CBS MarketWatch
 Credibility Rating: N/A


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Shares of XM Satellite Radio reached a 12-month high Tuesday, gaining nearly 10 percent in connection with news that its radio product will be standard equipment on certain Honda Accord models for 2004.

The stock was recently up $1.43 to $16.01, a gain of 9.8 percent, on volume of 7.6 million shares. At its higher for the session, XM's stock changed hands at $16.08.

Washington-based XM (XMSR: news, chart, profile) said the Honda S2000 roadster would be also be shipped to dealers as "XM-ready."

The company said earlier this year that its satellite radio technology would be offered as standard equipment on models sold under another Honda brand, the 2004 Acura RL and the new TL Sedan.

Many observers believe that satellite radio will truly take off as a commercial proposition once it becomes standard equipment in most vehicles. This kind of availability helped spur the advance of FM radio in the early 1970s.

XM Satellite offers more than 100 channels of digital radio programming for $9.95 per month, covering every major music format as well as news, sports and talk.

It and rival Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI: news, chart, profile) are betting that more listeners are becoming disenchanted with the repetitive playlists, high commercial spot loads and poor reception that critics have said characterize traditional radio.

Last month, XM said it ended the second quarter with 692,253 subscribers, having added 209,178 subscribers in the three-month period -- a 43 percent increase over the first quarter. The company's stated goal is to exceed 1 million subscribers by the end of this year, and it remains on that pace.

Subscriber growth is being driven by the further rollout of factory-installed offerings of the XM radio in General Motors (GM: news, chart, profile) and Honda (HMC: news, chart, profile) vehicles, as well as by retail sales of the portable SkyFi Audio System boom box.

XM has said that it needs about 3 million subscribers to break even.


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