The UK new car market has seen a 184% increase in the standard fitment of digital radio in the first nine months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, making it clear that the drive to digital is well under way.
The latest data from SMMT and CAP was revealed as SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt, spoke at the UK’s first conference to discuss the switchover to digital radio from an automotive perspective, coinciding with announcements from the BBC confirming that it would build coverage of its national services to 97%, including a focus on improving coverage on motorways and major roads.
“Significant progress has been made in developing the content and coverage of digital radio, driving consumer demand in the new car market. The massive increase we’ve seen this year puts us well on the way towards delivering our commitment to fit all new cars with digital radio by the end of 2013,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “In the last 12 months, at least 14 car brands have announced plans to fit digital radio as standard, but we must also ensure that plans are in place to support the 25 million cars on the road that will need safe, reliable upgrades undertaken by accredited technicians.”
Today’s ‘Drive to Digital’ conference brought together more than 200 delegates from across the automotive and broadcast industries to hear a range of panel discussions and a keynote address by Minister for Culture and Communications, Ed Vaizey. Issues covered ranged from the introduction of digital radio to new models as well as progress towards converting approximately 25 million vehicles within the parc by 2015.
Addressing the need to ensure robust aftermarket installation standards for existing vehicles in use, Everitt said, “Industry is recommending a single qualification which can be offered by the IMI, in conjunction with Motor Codes to allow motorists to identify aftermarket traders with accredited technicians to install their upgraded digital radio”.