(This article posted courtesy of Reuters) XM Satellite Signs Up More Customers Than Expected Mon Apr 1, 9:12 AM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Satellite radio service provider XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. on Monday said it ended the first quarter with more subscribers than it had expected and is on track to meet expectations for full year 2002. The Washington-based firm said it had more than 76,000 total subscribers compared to its forecast of 70,000 at the end of the period ended March 31. XM said it remains on track to end the year with 350,000 subscribers. "XM added over 48,000 subscribers in the first quarter, exceeding its target by 15 percent, outpacing most Wall Street analyst expectations," said Hugh Panero, XM's president and chief executive, in a news release. XM Satellite broadcasts 71 music channels and 29 information and entertainment channels through 2 satellites orbiting directly over the United States. The company, which launched its service nationwide last November, competes with Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. , which started it equivalent service in 4 cities in February. Sirius said last week it plans to have nationwide service by July 1, one month ahead of schedule. Panero said the majority of subscriber growth at XM so far has come from retail channels but it expects significant growth from the automotive sector in the second half of the year when XM radios will become available in new car models. General Motors Corp. has plans to offer XM radios on 23 models including the Buick, Chevrolet, and Pontiac cars beginning this fall. It already offers XM in Cadillac Devilles and Sevilles. XM also has similar deals with GM affiliate Isuzu, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Volkswagen AG . Agreements with auto makers are considered to be one of the best opportunities to grow the satellite radio business. XM radios are also available at consumer electronics retailers such as Circuit City and Best Buy. As of January, XM radios were available in about 4,500 stores. Shares of XM Satellite closed at $13.77 on Nasdaq on Thursday.