Ford Switches To All-Digital In-Car Entertainment

AS the sales of CD and CD players plummet worldwide and it’s beginning to follow the cassette player’s path of death, Ford is preparing to offer all digital in-car entertainment for future models.

CD sales in the UK fell 35 per cent between 2006 and 2010, while the number of digital album sales increased more than seven-fold. Digital single sales now account for 98 per cent of the market. In the UK, every new Focus is equipped with auxiliary input socket for connecting MP3 devices and Bluetooth for wireless connection.

Ford is increasing the availability of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio to UK customers – already standard on C-MAX, Grand C-MAX and all-new Focus models. They also have the Ford SYNC system coming in 2012 a new level of connectivity for future Ford models.

ford digital Ford Switches To All Digital In Car Entertainment

More details in Ford’s press release below:

Cassette tapes that once revolutionised in-car audio entertainment were driven out of the dashboard by the compact disc revolution. Now in-car CD players are poised to follow a similar path as Ford and other automotive companies respond to customer demand for all-digital systems with increased connectivity.

With the all-new Ford Focus, Ford has scrapped once-popular multi-disc CD changers, while a USB connection and Bluetooth are standard equipment in the UK – both of which cater to the increasing popularity of iPods and other digital music players.

“In-car entertainment technology is moving digital more rapidly than almost any other element of the vehicle experience,” said Sheryl Connelly, global trends and futuring manager, Ford Motor Company.  “The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.”

According to figures from the British Phonographic Industry, the number of CD albums sold in the UK fell 35 per cent between 2006 and 2010, while the number of digital album sales increased more than seven-fold.

As music-lovers relocate their CD catalogues to digital storage and move to digital download purchasing of music, Ford plans a targeted move towards “all-digital” in-car entertainment.

Music purchasing revolution accelerates CD’s demise

Across Europe, Ford currently offers USB and Bluetooth audio connectivity, as well as auxiliary inputs for MP3 devices, to supplement the existing CD player. But as CD usage becomes less prevalent, these digital devices will become the norm.

“Ford will obviously continue to offer CD players while there is demand,” said Ralf Brosig, multimedia manager, Ford of Europe. “However, over time we expect customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment.”

Ford will take a big step forward with the arrival of the advanced SYNC with MyFord Touch system in Europe, arriving first in the Ford Focus.

The system will cater directly to the demands of Ford’s tech-savvy customers, offering a sophisticated multimedia infotainment hub providing connectivity options including multiple USB inputs, SD card ports, RCA inputs and Bluetooth connectivity.

The system also will act as a password-protected wireless hotspot for up to five devices, providing connectivity through USB or mobile phone broadband modems. This capability will potentially allow access to “cloud computing” services such as the recently unveiled Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Music, eliminating the need to carry music storage devices in the vehicle. Ford expects two million SYNC equipped vehicles to be on the road in Europe by 2015.

Ford DAB radio stance highlights technology leadership

Ford is currently a leader in delivering Digital Audio Broadcasting radio technology in the form of DAB, DAB+ and DMB to car buyers, with 150,000 DAB-equipped vehicles already on Europe’s roads. Beginning this month, however, that coverage will expand as the number of countries using one of the trio of DAB systems to supplement or replace their traditional analogue broadcasting infrastructure increases.

The addition of DAB radio as standard to the new Ford Focus in the UK will deliver the technology to 90,000 customers in that market alone, while more than 50 per cent of UK Mondeo and Galaxy models sold in 2011 have featured a DAB radio, with more than 80 per cent of S-MAX customers benefitting from the technology.

DAB radio offers improved sound quality and better functionality for users while allowing more efficient use of the available radio frequencies, meaning DAB-exclusive stations and more choice for listeners.

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