Over 80% of new cars now have digital radio as standard

Digital radio is now standard in 80% of new cars, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, announced today.

Data from industry analysts CAP and The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) for Q4 2105 shows that the number of new cars fitted with digital radio as standard grew to 80.1%, compared to 7.5% in Q4 2010 and 61.2% in Q4 2014. This is the second biggest quarterly increase since monitoring began in 2010.

Reinforcing this significant market shift, a further 7% of all new cars had digital radio available as an option, taking the total proportion of new cars available with digital radio in Q4 2015 to nearly 90%.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: “With 8 out of 10 new cars coming with digital radio, the future of radio is clearly digital and growing every year. Government is working closely with industry on the continued expansion of DAB digital radio, meaning listeners around the UK now have more stations than ever to choose from.”

In total 1.9 million cars were sold with DAB as standard in 2015, accounting for 71% of the year’s record annual total sales of 2.6 million.

The big shift to digital radio in cars has accelerated in the last 2 years delivered by the leading car manufacturers and now all of the top 10 new car models have digital radio fitted as standard.

Sales of commercial vehicles with DAB as standard also saw record growth increasing to 40% in December 2015, up from 28.3% in December 2014. This means van drivers can benefit from the expanded choice that is only available from digital radio when they are on the move.

In March 2016 the choice of national stations on DAB will greatly increase to 40 with the launch of the second national DAB network bringing new music, sports, business and talk stations from brands such as Magic, Jazz FM, Kiss, Heat, Share Radio and talkSPORT.  Listeners with digital radio in their vehicle can enjoy these stations and more as well as coverage of this summer’s major sports events – the 2016 UEFA European Championships in June and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in August.

According to Rajar Q3 2015 data, 21.7% of all radio listening takes place in car.  Vehicle manufacturers have made the decision to fit digital radio in new cars in response to the increasing popularity of digital radio, the increase in the number of exclusive digital radio stations and the expansion of DAB transmitters to cover the major road network. The UK Government has set coverage and listening criteria for a future radio switchover which will likely be achieved in the next few years.

Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, says: “Vehicle manufacturers continue to invest heavily in new audio technologies to enhance the listening experience for motorists. That fact that digital radio is now available in nearly 90% of new cars is testament to growing consumer demand for these technologies and we expect uptake to continue rising in the coming months and years.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, says: “It’s great news that the number of new cars with digital radio as standard is now at 80% and that 40% of commercial vehicles sold in December came with digital radio as standard.  With more stations launching, coverage expanding and the range of adaptors growing there’s never been a better time to listen to digital radio on the move.