Shares are about flat so far this year, compared with gains of 10.8% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 13% for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, and so Sirius shareholders may be desperate for some good news heading into 2015. By accounts, that news has arrived.
Helped by the plunge in oil prices, consumers are buying more cars. And they're driving longer distances, too, which may mean they're listening to Sirius more during trial periods, when customers get Sirius for free after buying a new car. And so Sirius -- which has agreements to install its radios in vehicles from such major automakers as Ford (F) and Toyota (TM) -- is likely to benefit. According to J.D. Power, new-vehicle sales for December are expected to reach their highest levels in eight years.
To the extent Sirius can capitalize on higher vehicle sales remains to be seen. The company's radios are installed in about 26% of the vehicles on the road, which suggests there's room for growth. But it won't be easy.
The arrival of Apple's (AAPL) CarPlay, which has been integrated with cars from such companies as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and and Volvo, has given consumers and auto manufactures another alternative to Sirius, as has a competing free service from Pandora (P) , which has seen greater adoption in cars.