Chriss Scherer, editor of the industry publication RadioMagOnline, posted about his experience with a rental car that offered satellite radio. Towards the end of the post, he made this comment:
Sirius promotes its service by having it available in rental cars. Why aren’t we doing the same with HD Radio? Get HD Radio in rental cars and tout the multicast channels. Tout the data. All the listening and data options are not available in every market, but pick and choose a few to start.
This is an excellent point that has bothered me for some time. Over the past year, I have rented 20 or more cars and many of them included satellite radio, but none of them had an HD radio installed. One of the most effective ways to sell a new technology is to provide a sampling opportunity. Ibiquity does not seem to be having much luck in getting the rental car companies to provide an HD Radio as part of the standard equipment; perhaps redirecting some of the marketing money being invested in more traditional areas would be better directed at "encouraging" rental car companies to purchase cars that have HD Radios installed.
As far as I can tell, none of the car rental companies are offering cars with HD Radio. If they are, they certainly aren't marketing it like they do XM or Sirius. Now that HD is well-penetrated in the major metros and is becoming more available to consumers at retail, this would be the perfect time to encourage sampling.