AM radio supporters point out that the lower-frequency radio waves used for AM transmissions can travel very long distances thanks to being reflected in the upper layers of the atmosphere. The technology is also so simple that it's virtually impossible to disturb during cyber-attacks or nuclear war. This makes it ideal for transmitting emergency alerts and traffic information. This is why US lawmakers still want it around, even though most people listen to streaming services and internet radio when traveling in their cars.
This has been one of the reasons why carmakers started to ditch the AM radio or even the radio altogether. Another was that AM signal is affected by electromagnetic interferences, especially in electric vehicles. AM radio stations can still be accessed via Internet radio, and emergency broadcasts can reach cars in several ways, including via internet or cellular warning systems. The other side argues that all these systems can be disrupted in emergencies, leaving people without a communication lifeline. It looks like the other side is winning the fight.
After bipartisan US lawmakers introduced the "AM for Every Vehicle" Act to make AM radio mandatory in all vehicles, Ford was the first to announce the reversal of a previous decision. Ford CEO Jim Farley said he spoke with policy leaders about the importance of AM broadcast radio as part of the emergency alert system. The result of these discussions was that Ford decided to revert course and reintroduce AM radio on all 2024 Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
Farley promised that all Ford electric vehicles without AM broadcast capability would get it with a software update. It's unclear how a software update could help if the cars don't have the necessary hardware. Farley said that Ford offers "a variety of ways," including streaming, to listen to AM radio content, and will offer better emergency notification options in the future. Other carmakers will likely follow Ford's decision because the law will force them to reinstate the AM radio to its former glory.