Apple continues its drive to make iPods an essential accessory when you drive.

The company today confirmed itself to have extended the number of auto makers it is working with, at least in the US, adding Acura, Audi, Honda and Volkswagen to its list of car makers working toward integrating its music player.

All four manufacturers will offer off-the-shelf ways to integrate the iPod with their car stereos in 2006 models.

The move means “there are now 15 car companies around the world offering iPod integration, and more than five million cars will ship with iPod support in the US in 2006”, the company said.

“We’re thrilled to team up with Acura, Audi, Honda and Volkswagen to provide drivers with a seamless iPod experience,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPod product marketing. 

“Car companies are embracing the iPod, and over 30 per cent of the cars sold in the US in 2006 will offer iPod integration."

The Honda and Acura Music Link iPod integrations will include text-to-speech capabilities or VoiceID, used to search for playlists, artist and album names or genre information. Acura and Honda will feature iPod integration in the majority of their US car range beginning later this year.

Audi will feature iPod integration in the A3, A4 and TT models and Volkswagen will offer iPod integration in the majority of its 2006 US lineup.