VW will be installing DAB Digital Radio as standard in all new cars from next year, with the new Beetle already equipped.
Vauxhall have also committed to the same timescale, with Ford saying the majority of new vehicles will include DAB by the end of 2013.
Ed Vaizey, MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries has welcomed the development: “This is fantastic news from Volkswagen and to be welcomed. People love listening to the radio in their cars and fitting digital means drivers and passengers will be able to enjoy the great range of stations on offer.”
VW, together with Ford and Vauxall, they represent 35% of annual new vehicles sold.
The vehicle industry has been asked by Government to prepare for a transition to digital radio, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said it expects its members to include digital radio as standard in most vehicles by the end of 2013.
Radio listening in cars currently accounts for 20% of all listening, but digital radios are in fewer than 5% of cars today. In March 2012, 23% of new cars were fitted with digital radio as standard, compared with just 10% a year ago (CAP/SMMT).
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK says: “This announcement from VW confirms the increasing popularity of digital radio in-car and follows their research which showed high satisfaction from drivers with digital radio in their car. We would recommend that everyone in the radio industry gets digital radio in their car – it will transform your listening experience.”
VW says: “Digital radio not only offers listeners clear, crackle-free sound, but it also gives them a bigger choice of radio stations than is available through conventional FM or AM broadcasts alone. Listening options range from specialist music stations to comedy, current affairs and, of course, the all-important cricket coverage.”