DAB radio as standard rises 340%

* 18% of new cars have DAB as standard * Massive rise over past 12 months * 25 million cars don't have DAB...

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Tom Webster
18 October 2011

DAB radio as standard rises 340%

The number of new cars fitted with digital radios as standard has jumped by 340% in the past 12 months, it has been revealed.

In September, 18% of new vehicles were sold with a digital radio as standard, a big increase from the 5.3% in the same period last year.

Paul Everitt chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said that 45% of new cars now have digital radio as standard or as an option, with 100% saturation expected by 2013.

A final date for the switchover to digital radio hasn't been announced, although the industry is confident it will have everything in place by 2015. However, Mr Everitt warned that switching over to digital systems in current cars will be a bigger problem.

'The challenge is vehicles that are already out there that dont have digital radios,' he said. 'The current estimate is that there are around 25 million of them.'

He said that the SMMT is working with the Government to make the switchover as easy as possible. This includes a proposal that both digital radios and engineers who fit them would have to gain official approval.

'We must ensure that plans are in place to support the cars on the road that will need safe, reliable upgrades undertaken by accredited technicians,' said Everitt.

Tim Davie, the BBC's director of audio and music, said that intention was to get digital radio up to the same level of coverage as FM radio by 2015, including the entire motorway network.