Mini's new Countryman model, launched this weekend, is the first Mini to include DAB Digital Radio fitted as standard.
It follows Ford's recent announcement that the new C-MAX people carrier would now have digital radio fitted for no extra cost.
Until now DAB has been only an optional and expensive extra, mostly on executive cars, but these announcements are hoped to be the first of many for cars selling for less than £20,000.
Some of the cars which DAB is standard includes the Jaguar XF, Audi A8, Vauxhall Insignia and Volvo XC60 premium.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, recently met with the major car manufacturers and reaffirmed his view that “digital radio should be fitted as standard in all cars by the end of 2013.”
According to Ofcom, fewer than 500,000 motor vehicles are fitted with digital radio, but as part of the Government-Industry Digital Radio Action Plan, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said its members are committed to meeting the 2013 Government target for new cars.
Ford Ennals, Chief Executive of Digital Radio UK, said: “Drivers love listening to digital radio in their car and so we welcome today’s announcement that the new Mini Countryman and most of the Mini range will have digital radio fitted as standard. This is an important milestone in the transition for all new cars to have digital radio fitted as standard.”
Tim Davie, BBC Director of Audio and Music said; ‘It's great to see more car manufacturers offering digital radios as standard, and this coincides with our plans to improve BBC digital radio reception on the UK’s motorway network and major roads’.
Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive of RadioCentre, said: “The ability to receive digital radio in motor vehicles is the most important part of the transition to digital radio and the announcements by Mini and Ford are a clear sign that the move to digital is accelerating”.
[i]What are your thoughts? Is this too little too late or the start of DAB becoming mainstream? Let us know in the comments.[/i]