A range of car digital radio adapters and a new fitting service, was announced at the Drive to Digital 2017 conference, at the British Museum today.
They’re being launched by two of the UK’s leading technology manufacturers, Nextbase and Roberts Radio, and the car servicing business, Halfords Autocentres.
Nextbase is introducing two new DAB products this autumn: the Nextbase ADAPT DAB250 and the Nextbase ADAPT DAB350BT, the latter with the additional benefits of Bluetooth and hands-free. Both in-car DAB adapters can be either self-fitted or garage-fitted and will be available in Halfords from 16 October.
Richard Browning, Sales Director, Nextbase said: “Nextbase is one of the most successful and fastest growing automotive technology brands in the UK. We see a real opportunity to become a market-leading brand in the emerging market for digital radio car adapters and are looking forward to the Autumn launch of the Nextbase DAB Adapt range in partnership with Halfords.”
Halfords Autocentres announced that they will be introducing a pilot digital radio upgrade service featuring the Nextbase DAB Adapt range in their centres in Surrey this Autumn, ahead of a national launch across their 315 centres in the New Year.
Stefan Warhaftig, Commercial Director, Halfords Autocentres, said: “Our sister company Halfords is already the UK leader in digital car conversions and Halfords Autocentres can make the fitting of digital radios in-car even more convenient by offering to upgrade anyone’s car radio to digital when they book a service or MOT. We are delighted to be part of the Go Digital pilot in Surrey this Autumn and will look to planning an expansion of the service nationally next year.”
Additionally, Roberts Radio announced that they would be entering the automotive market for the first time with the launch of a Roberts Radio digital radio car adapter, launched later this year.
Owen Watters, CEO, Roberts Radio, said: “Roberts is well-established as a market-leader in digital radios in the UK with a reputation for quality and innovation. Given the increased consumer demand across Europe to receive DAB digital radio in car, we are bringing all the Roberts expertise and know-how into the car adapter market. We are confident that the Roberts digital car adapter will be recognised as best in class with the outstanding level of reliability and performance associated with any Roberts’ product.”
The digital radio car adapter market across Europe has been significantly boosted by the Norwegian switchover, the first in the world, which is underway and completes at the end of this year; the planned Switzerland switchover which is scheduled for 2020; and the UK’s on-going digital radio progress.
Today’s conference heard from Ole Jørgen Torvmark, CEO of Digital Radio Norway, who said that the country’s switchover is running on time and to plan, with the majority of Norwegians taking action to receive digital radio in their cars. He projected that almost one million cars will be converted to digital when the switchover programme is complete.
In a video interview shown at the conference, Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital, indicated “there will be a switchover at some point” but emphasised the need to proceed carefully and ensure everyone has the chance to transition to the new technology. Mr Hancock highlighted the progress in new cars, with nearly 90% now coming with DAB as standard.
There are still 25 million cars on the road in the UK that do not have digital radio. In major markets, such as Greater London where there are up to 100 stations available, drivers without digital radio are missing out on 70% of the available stations.
Laurence Harrison, Market Development Director, Digital Radio UK, said: “It’s clear that drivers and passengers want to listen to the full range of digital stations in their cars so we welcome the launch of a wider range of adapters from leading technology brands, as well as a more convenient way to have a digital radio adapter fitted. These initiatives and the industry investment in car conversion can establish car adapters as an important automotive category alongside satnavs and dashcams.”