At the Radio Academy South FAB on DAB event in Portsmouth, Sam Bonham of Digital Radio UK, announced the June 2016 new car data, showing that four out of the top five car brands in the UK have DAB radio in all new car models.
The top five UK new car brands account for over 44% of all new car sales and four of them – Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Audi – are now fitting DAB into all of their new cars. The fifth – Vauxhall – is fitting DAB into 82% of their new cars, in line with the market average but with plans to include all models in the future.
Looking more widely at the market, half of the top 22 vehicle manufacturers, accounting for over 90% of new car sales, are fitting digital radio into all their new models. These 11 top selling brands, fitting digital radio into all new models, include Toyota, Land Rover, Mini, Honda, Mazda, Volvo and Suzuki.
In June 2016, Fiat, the last remaining car brand in the top 22 sellers to not fit digital radio on any models, started to fit digital radio on a number of their models and plan to have DAB in most of their models by 2017, including their best-selling Fiat 500 series.
The recent car data for Q1 2016 showed that 82.1% of new cars sold had digital radio fitted as standard. This represents a major shift from five years previous when less than 10% of new cars had digital radio fitted as standard (CAP/SMMT).
In Q1 2016, over 635,000 cars were sold with digital radio as standard, and in the last 12 months over 2 million new cars have been sold with DAB digital radio.
Overall, there are around 8 million cars on UK roads, of which about 25% have digital radio. This transition to digital radio in new cars over the past five years has meant that, for both the vehicle manufacturers and the broadcasters, the emphasis has now moved to converting existing cars to digital.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: “With 8 out of 10 new cars coming with digital radio, the future of radio is clearly digital and growing every year. Government is working closely with industry on the continued expansion of DAB digital radio, meaning listeners around the UK now have more stations than ever to choose from.”
Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Vehicle manufacturers continue to invest heavily in new audio technologies to enhance the listening experience for motorists. That fact that digital radio is now available in nearly 90% of new cars is testament to growing consumer demand for these technologies and we expect uptake to continue rising in the coming months and years.”
Sam Bonham, Digital Radio UK, said: “It’s great news that four of the top five UK new car brands now offer digital radio across 100% of their range. The direction of travel in the vehicle industry is clear and we expect over 90% of new cars to have DAB radio as standard by the end of 2016. With more stations launching, coverage expanding and the range of adaptors growing there’s never been a better time to listen to digital radio on the move.”