Ford has announced it will no longer fit in-car CD players in Europe, instead it will offer MP3, USB and Bluetooth audio connectivity.
I’m not old enough to remember when cars came with valve radios, but I am old enough to remember when many cars didn’t even get a radio.
I’m also old enough to remember when the music source of choice in a car was the 8-track tape machine. And actually, for in-car use, 8-tracks were great. Big plastic boxes that just plugged in at the front end – easy to do without looking down and easy to skip from one track to another.
But car makers – and the world – decided that 8-track wasn’t as good as cassette. So instead of a nice big box you could grab hold of without really looking – and which slotted reassuringly home and worked every time – we got fiddly little plastic boxes that couldn’t – at least initially – move from one track to another. There’s progress for you.
Eventually cassettes bit the dust too – deservedly so – and we started to get CD in cars. CDs worked well – at least once manufacturers had stopped them skipping when you hit a bump – and have served us well, from single slot players to multi CD changers.
But now technology has moved on again, and we get the infinitely better digital music players. Your entire music collection in a small electronic box with all the detail you would have once read on the sleeve notes popping up on your in-car screen. Who’d want a CD player in-car now?
Which seems to be exactly Ford’s decision. They’re dumping the CD player – in Europe at least – in favour of USB and Bluetooth audio and auxiliary inputs for MP3. And with CD sales down a third and digital downloads up seven fold in the last five years, the timing makes complete sense (unlike the headlong rush in to the inferior DAB).
Time to make room in the attic next to the 8-tracks, cassettes and albums for your CDs (or is that just me?).
(Note: We couldn’t resist putting up Ford’s history of in-car entertainment video – stuffy fun for old farts to watch.)
Ford In-Car Entertainment History Video