DAB now fitted in 80% of new cars

Digital radios are now standard in 80 per cent of new cars, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey has announced.

New data from analysts CAP and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that in Q4 of 2015 the number of new cars fitted with digital radio as standard grew to 80.1 per cent, compared with 61.2 per cent in Q4 of 2014 and just 7.5 per cent in the same quarter of 2010. This is the second biggest quarterly increase since monitoring began in 2010.

A further seven per cent of new cars had digital radio available as an option, which takes the total proportion of new cars with digital radio in Q4 last year to nearly 90 per cent.

“With eight out of 10 new cars coming with digital radio, the future of radio is clearly digital and growing every year,” said Mr Vaizey. “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 2015, 1.9 million cars were sold with DAB as standard, accounting for 71 per cent of the year’s record annual total sales of 2.6m.

The shift to digital radios in cars has accelerated in the past two years and has been delivered by the leading car manufacturers.

Sales of commercial vehicles with DAB as standard also increased to 40 per cent in December 2015, compared with 28.3 per cent for the same period in the previous year.

In March of this year, the choice of national stations on DAB will increase to 40.

Digital Radio UK chief executive Ford Ennals said: “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.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “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 per cent 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.”