Ed Vaizey, MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, will today announce that nearly three quarters of new cars (74.1%) now come with digital radio as standard.
Speaking at Radio’s Digital Countdown, a radio industry conference attended by over 200 broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and industry stakeholders, the Minister will describe the progress made by the vehicle manufacturers, enabling drivers to enjoy the full range of national and local digital stations in their cars, as one of the 3 Cs of digital radio – content, coverage and cars.
Data from industry analysts CAP and The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for Q3 2105 shows that the number of new cars fitted with digital radio as standard in September 2015 has increased by 40% compared to September 2014 (343,000 in September 2015 vs 245,000 in September 2014) and that the proportion with digital radio has increased to 74.1% from 57.6% in September 2014, and 41.5% in September 2013.
Additionally a further 7% of all new cars offer digital radio as an option which means that over 80% of cars (81.2%) are available with digital radio.
In the last quarter over 500,000 cars (527,000) have been sold with digital radio fitted as standard, and in the last 12 months 1.75 million cars have been sold with digital radio as standard.
The top 10 new car models sold in September all have digital radio fitted as standard.
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, while Norway has become the first country in the world to set a timetable for radio switchover (the end of 2017).
The Radio’s Digital Countdown event marks the start of the countdown to the biggest change in UK radio in a generation in 2016 with the expected completion of the provision of digital radio in over 90% of new cars; the launch of the second national commercial digital radio multiplex with at least 15 digital stations; and the completion of the planned expansion of national and local DAB coverage.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: "There’s no doubt that the future of radio is digital. More than 30 million of us are tuning in every week, with digital listening hours increasing every year. Today’s conference has highlighted the great progress that's been made across the 3 Cs of digital radio - content, coverage and cars - offering listeners more choice than ever before.”
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 over 80% 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 fantastic progress that the number of new cars with digital radio as standard is now at 74% and we expect this to reach 90% in a year. This, alongside the news today that there is a new generation of digital radio adapter s for the car being launched next year, is great news for digital radio and for drivers.”