The Ford Motor Company has become the first major automobile manufacturer to begin scrapping CD players within their vehicles. The company intends to replace the CD players in their vehicles with USB-based ports allowing a driver to plug in their MP3 player instead. The first car in the Ford range to support this change will be the new Focus, opting for a USB socket over the traditional disc reader.
Even the USB may be a temporary addition to the car, because Ford wants to take it one step further: they want you to be able to listen to your music over the internet. New cars produced by the company will come with a so-called Sync "infotainment hub", which will include a slot for a dongle. The car's on-board computer will then be able to access your musical collection, whether it is on Spotify or Apple's iCloud. By 2015, the company believes that around 2,000,000 of their cars in Europe will have the Sync system. Official explanation for the decision came from Sheryl Connelly, the global trends and futuring manager at the company. Her explanation:
"In-car entertainment technology is moving digital 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."
Ford themselves have said that CD player sales in their cars have also been dropping, in-line with the decreasing number of sales of physical albums. In 2010 alone, the sale of CDs in the dropped 12.4%. During 2010 in the United Kingdom alone, the sale of digital music increased by 30.6%. If this change turns out to be a success then other automobile companies will no doubt follow suit.