DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. plans to offer Sirius Satellite Radio as a factory-installed option on up to 20 vehicle lines by ’07 model year, Gerhard Schmidt, Ford’s Vice President-research and advanced engineering, says at the biennial Convergence International Congress on Transportation Electronics taking place here.

Nine Ford, Mercury and Lincoln models already are wired to accept Sirius as a dealer-installed option. Ford says it will expand the range of vehicles receiving the feature on the dealer level this fall to include the Ford Escape, Crown Victoria, Mercury Mariner and Grand Marquis.

The Sirius option will become a factory-installed feature starting in ’06, at about the same time Howard Stern’s radio show becomes exclusively broadcast on Sirius – a move that could boost the status of the once-emerging medium.

Sirius CEO Joseph Clayton says the company expects to reach 1 million subscribers by year’s end.