Chrysler is launching Sirius Satellite Radio as a Mopar dealer-installed option this autumn on 2003 models including the PT Cruiser, Sebring sedan and convertible, 300M, Concorde, Voyager and Town and Country.

It will also be available for the Dodge Stratus sedan, Dakota, Durango, Ram, Intrepid, Neon, Caravan and Grand Caravan and the Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee.

Suggested retail price in the US is $299 plus fitting labour and a subscription of $12.95 per month.

Chrysler has also announced that satellite radio will be a factory-fit for the 2003 300M.

Sirius provides coast-to-coast coverage of 100 channels of programming, including 60 channels of commercial-free music and 40 channels of news, talk, sports and entertainment.

“Satellite radio has the potential to become the next ‘must-have’ technology. Now that we are offering it throughout our vehicle lineup a wide range of our customers will be able to enjoy this new entertainment experience,” said Christine Cortez, senior vice president of Chrysler#;s global parts and service operations.

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The Sirius package requires the installation of a small, ‘mouse-like antenna#; on the roof of the vehicle. The radio itself is described as ‘user-friendly#; with a minimal number of buttons and allows users to search for programmes both by music style and channel.
Depending on the vehicle, the radio screen displays the channel and music style.

While satellite radio makes sense for the vast continent that is the United States, a different approach has been taken with the United Kingdom#;s new Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) service which uses multiplexes to broadcast an average of about 40 stations to major metropolitan areas.

Like satellite radio, DAB is digital and offers CD-quality music transmissions without the interference that can affect mobile in-car FM tuners. The UK DAB system can also broadcast text such as ‘now playing#; information.

However, though several multiplexes, including one operated by the state-owned, television licence fee-funded British Broadcasting Corporation, are already operational, DAB receivers for home or car are not yet available through the major ‘high street#; consumer electronics retailers though a small selection of home and PC tuners are available through specialist hi-fi stores or on the Internet.

So far, none of the UK’s car manufacturers or distributors has announced factory-fit DAB tuner availability.