In the last year nearly 1.5m new cars registered in the UK had digital radio fitted as standard. In Q1 2015 the percentage of all cars sold with digital radio as standard was 61.1%, a significant increase from 50.4% in Q1 2014 and 35.4% in Q1 2013.
The strong shift to digital radio in new cars comes as UK new car sales have rebounded to reach new record levels. Overall new car registrations for March 2015 were a record 492,774 new cars, of which 302,000 came with DAB as standard.
The top selling car in the UK remained the Ford Fiesta - 40,000 units in Q1 2015. Ford Company confirmed this week the line would introduce digital radio as standard across most of its models in the UK, including the best-selling Zetec trim which means that 90% all sales would have digital radio as standard.
Of the top 20 selling car brands in the UK five offer digital radio as standard in 100% of all models – Audi, BMW, Mini, Land Rover and Jaguar – while a further eight have digital radio as standard in the majority of all models – Ford, Vauxhall, VW,Nissan, Mercedes, Toyota, Citroen and Skoda.
The key factor behind the widespread adoption of digital radio as standard in UK cars has been the government policy of planning for a future radio switchover which has prompted the expansion of National BBC DAB coverage to 97% and the expansion of local DAB coverage to 91% (comparable with commercial radio FM coverage [but with many digital stations broadcasting only in low-bandwidth mono rather than stereo - ed]). A further factor for vehicle manufacturers has been the increase in digital listening with the success of BBC and commercial digital-only stations and the announcement of the launch of 15 digital stations on the D2 National network in Q1 2016.
Radio remains the prime source of entertainment in car with 61% of all adults listening in the car, and 22.2% of radio listening takes place in car, Digital Radio UK said.
By Graeme Roberts | 10 April 2015