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Ford predicts the demise of the in-car CD player

by Parm Mann on 27 July 2011, 14:18

Tags: Ford

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Ford has announced that it will no longer offer multi-disc CD changers in one of its most popular consumer vehicles; the Ford Focus.

The decision to scrap the once popular feature has been accredited to the continued decline in physical CD sales, with Ford pointing out that digital downloads now account for 98 per cent of all single sales.

Commenting on the transition from optical to digital media, Sheryl Connelly, global trends and futuring manager at Ford, said: "In-car entertainment technology is moving more rapidly than almost any other element of the vehicle experience. The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology".

While the single-slot CD player will continue to be offered in Ford vehicles "while there is demand", the company states that "customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment".

According to the manufacturer's internal sales figures, 95 per cent of buyers of the all-new Focus have opted to equip the car with an auxiliary jack for connecting portable audio devices in addition to the now-standard USB port.

Looking beyond physical storage devices, Ford will in 2012 introduce Ford SYNC across a range of models. The new system, designed to cater to "tech-savvy customers" will offer multiple USB ports, an SD card slot, RCA inputs and Bluetooth connectivity. The company suggests that its SYNC system will enable users to connect mobile broadband dongles, allowing for the creation of a Wi-Fi hotspot that will in turn provide on-the-go access to cloud services such as Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Music.

The move away from optical media appears to be the next logical transition for in-car entertainment, but drivers such as myself who view the car as the last safe haven in which to enjoy their CD collection may need some convincing. Would you be willing to trade USB ports or cloud connectivity for your in-car CD player? Share your thoughts in the HEXUS community forums.

HEXUS Forums :: 42 Comments

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I think the head unit should still have an optical reader, in fact, they should bump it up to DVD optics so people can burn more media files to a disc, support FLAC/Wav as well so you can have CD equal music and have CD backwards compat at the same time. You can really do this, and add bluetooth, SD, USB, flash memory, etc to it in a standard head unit sized device. ‘Cloud’ I really really don't care less about, but it wouldn't hurt to add a wlan unit so the car can go grab music from your home computer or whatever when you're parked up home.

And that's already way more music input options than people will ever need.

But bravo to Ford a step forward.
I need my current CD player because my car doesnt have DAB or MP3 device connectivity. I could of course upgrade my CD player with all the mod cons but its expensive as mine is an all in one dash with the heating controls embedded on there as well, I just cant be bothered with a complicated or poor install job.

If I ever have the money to buy a modern car then I'd make sure it has MP3/Ipod connectivity as im bored of making mix cd's with all of 15 songs on there. I'd much rather have lots of music and be able to choose from playlists and albums etc…

While I still prefer to buy CDs, I convert them to lossless to keep the discs in mint condition.
I'm not a massive fan of Downloads because MP3's are pretty poor quality, 320kbps sadly doesnt mean good quality. (I know some CD's are also downgraded, metallica anyone).

Cassetts seem to be making a come back recently. Just because dixons doesnt stock them hasnt stopped supermarkets. All the ones round here stock a range of them.
As its illegal to rip my CDs to MP3 etc how will I listen to them without buying them all again?
As its illegal to rip my CDs to MP3 etc how will I listen to them without buying them all again?

It's no longer illegal :)
I don't use my CD player. Fortunately it's also got a cassette player though so I routinely plug my iPod in through a cassette adapter. I wouldn't miss CD (or tape) if it went; don't give two hoots about cloud connectivity but do want at least an Aux input.