Big shift to digital radios in new cars

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

Reinforcing this significant market shift, a further 7 per cent 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 per cent.

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 per cent 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 per cent in December 2015, up from 28.3 per cent 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.

According to Rajar Q3 2015 data, 21.7 per cent 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.

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 per cent and that 40 per cent 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.”

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