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Satellite radios head for used car lots

XM Satellite Radio unveils plans to supply thousands of independent car dealerships, including used car lots, with $400 satellite radio receivers to offer to their customers.

Satellite radios are gearing up for a big showing on the car lot circuit.

XM Satellite Radio unveiled plans Wednesday to supply thousands of independent car dealerships, including used car lots, with $400 satellite radio receivers to offer to their customers. The receivers are made by Audiovox, according to XM Satellite Radio spokesman Chance Patterson.

"This gives us a new selling opportunity through a huge network of independent auto dealers, " Patterson said.

XM competitor Sirius Satellite Radio already supplies satellite radio receivers to a small number of independent car dealers in the Southwest. Sirius will announce a new reselling contract involving many more independent car dealerships as early as next week, a source said Wednesday.

A Sirius Satellite representative declined to comment.

Satellite radios began appearing on the dashboards of new cars made by General Motors, Honda and others in 2000. They next appeared in electronic stores, where car stereo maker Pioneer is selling Sirius Satellite radios that can be easily installed in virtually any car.

To get more customers, the nation's two satellite radio companies are now tapping the markets used car lots and independent dealerships. The companies say they need 4 million subscribers to their satellite radio networks to become profitable operations. XM Satellite, which launched a national network last year, has 201,000 subscribers. Sirius has under 10,000 subscribers to its network, which it launched in July.

Satellite radios receive signals from orbiting satellites instead of the land-based antennae deployed by all FM/AM radio stations. But unlike traditional radio stations, satellite radio companies charge monthly subscriptions. XM charges $10 for programming, while Sirius charges $13.