Audi to fit digital radio as standard from next month
The announcement by both Audi and Digital Radio UK was made at the Radiodays Conference in Berlin and will see most Audi models equipped with fully integrated digital radio receivers and available to order from the beginning of April, with the exception of the TT and R8 ranges, which will follow suit at a later date.
In addition, from this summer the carmaker is to introduce a range of digital radio adapters to provide existing Audi models with a fully integrated Audi digital radio.
The news comes as BMW, MINI, Land Rover and Jaguar are already fitting digital radio as standard into all new models while Ford, VW and Vauxhall have all recently announced that they are also planning to do so.
Digital Radio UK said the move by car manufacturers is being prompted by increasing consumer demand from drivers who are listening to digital radio stations at home, the intention of Government to confirm their plans for a future radio switchover and the rapid expansion of national and local DAB coverage in the UK.
Thanks to last year’s signing of a local DAB coverage agreement between the Government, BBC and commercial radio, there has been good progress on coverage improvements. BBC national DAB coverage is now over 94% and is being extended to 97% while national commercial DAB coverage is now increasing to 90% with a planned expansion into Northern Ireland later this year.
This year is also set to see the Government make an announcement about the switchover to digital radio.
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: ‘We see the announcement that Audi is installing digital radio as standard into new models from April as a major milestone in the UK new car market. Audi is a much beloved and respected brand in the UK, accounting for over 6% of the new car registrations every year, and now many more drivers will be able to enjoy the additional choice of stations and the digital sound quality of digital radio on the move.’
Mike Baunton, interim CEO at the SMMT, added: ‘This demonstrates further progress and commitment by the UK motor industry in preparing for a digital radio future. We are well on track to have digital radio fitted to the majority of new cars as standard by the end of 2013.’