All carmakers will follow BMW's lead as the first major manufacturer to roll-out DAB radio as standard across all models, according to CAP.
BMW said this week that DAB would become standard across it's entire model range from January 2013.
Analysis by CAP reveals relatively slow penetration of DAB (digital audio broadcasting) radios across the car market over the past two years. But CAP experts believe BMW's move is a shot in the arm for DAB take-up in the UK which will lead the market to full adoption over the next 12 to 18 months.
The news comes amid speculation that the slow adoption of DAB by British radio listeners in general will force a delay in the analogue signal switch-off, which was originally planned for 2015. The government has promised to maintain the analogue signal until 50% of radio listening is via a DAB receiver but the current figure stands at 31%.
Observers have speculated that up to 25m cars could be left with no radio signal after the switchover but CAP is confident that the new car market will be fully geared to the change, whenever it occurs.
As the definitive source of all new vehicle information in Britain, CAP has kept the industry abreast of the growing penetration of DAB receivers in cars.
CAP New Vehicle Data expert David Saville said: "In the first quarter of 2010 only 3.8% of vehicles registered had DAB radio as standard, with 33% of the remainder of those sold having it available as a cost option. By the third quarter of this year 25.5% of cars registered had DAB as standard and 26% of the remainder of those sold had it available as a cost option.
"BMW's announcement this week that DAB would become standard across their entire model range is a real shot in the arm for a less piecemeal approach by the industry to DAB.
"Whether it's in 2015 as originally planned, or later, DAB will be essential rather than a ‘nice to have' option. Experience shows us that where the Germans lead in the car market, others follow, and we therefore expect most manufacturers to start making DAB standard across their ranges in the coming year to 18 months."