Ford cuts CD players in favour of digital

Starting with the recently released Ford Focus hatchback and estate, Ford will instead offer digital technology instead of the CD player, which it plans to phase out of its cars as demand declines.

This, says Ford, will include USB connectivity to allow MP3 players and smart phones to connect to the sound system alongside Bluetooth connectivity.

"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."

Ford will also speed up its introduction of DAB radio in its cars. The technology is already available in its latest road cars such as the new Focus and the C-Max people carrier and larger, seven-seat Grand C-Max.

Just as in-car cassette players before them, the demise of in-car CD players is related to the drastic decrease in the number of CDs being bought in the UK, which fell by an estimated 35 per cent between 2006 and 2010, according to the British Phonographic Industry.

The emergence of MP3s and online streaming options such as Spotify has led to Ford developing a sound system as part of its SYNC technology, which links multimedia to a touch screen inside the new Ford Focus.

However, CD fans who wish to buy a Ford will still be have access to a CD player for a short time, according to Ralf Brosig, multimedia manager of Ford of Europe.

"Ford will obviously continue to offer CD players while there is demand," he said. "However, over time we expect customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment."