Don’t expect a DAB radio in your new car just yet

If you are in the market to buy a vehicle, don’t be surprised if you don’t find a digital radio in many of the cars at your local motor traders forecourt.

According to research carried out by Auto Express, half of all car manufacturers surveyed (24 in total) will not be including digital radios in their vehicles.

Despite government plans to have the analogue radio network turned off in 2015, car manufacturers have chosen not embrace the new technology. In 2011, 60% of new cars registered had no option for the DAB radio to be used.

RAJAR (audience monitoring company) claim that just 18% of all radio listening is carried out using digital radios.  This could be bad news for the plans to switch over in just 3 or 4 years time.  For the switchover to happen successfully half of all radio listening has to be through DAB radios and the coverage must reach 98% to match the current FM figure.  Currently many brands are choosing not to go digital for fear of poor coverage.

Perhaps this is why so many carmakers are choosing at this stage to steer clear of digital radios.  A spokesperson from Audi comments, “We’ve had negative feedback from customers about poor digital radio coverage. If the broadcasters get the transmitter infrastructure right, then it would be a totally different ball game”.

Many experts have speculated that the government plans will have to be pushed back to ensure the coverage targets are reached before analogue can be turned off altogether.  Others predict we will continue to see digital and analogue working side by side for the foreseeable future.

Features editor at Auto Express has concerns about the lack of buy-in currently being demonstrated by the motor industry, “If the Government can’t even persuade the motor industry to back this new technology, how is it going to convince cash-strapped motorists to get on board? Maybe it should put its money where its mouth is, and subsidise the digital switchover by dipping into its fuel duty coffers”.

If the analogue radio network is switched off in a few years time as planned, nearly all of the car radios work literally stop working overnight, so lets hope things drastically improve between now and then, or the roads could be a very quite place!

This article was brought to you by Think Insurance, specialists in Motor Trade insurance.

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