Ford Motor Company begins to kill off CD players

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.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Review: iTwin secure file transfer, a Dropbox replacement?

Next Story

Zynga releases 'Zynga City'; attempts to tap Chinese market

66 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Pure Spin...
Ford wants to save a few cents per unit.

One of the dealers' main revenue streams is all the add-ons from tire warranties to paint treatments etc., & yes, upgraded audio systems. But Ford Motor Co. looses out when those audio systems are not Ford brand, & they lose out with all the folks who have aftermarket systems put in soon as they take delivery. Better to lock them into something Ford Only, better to have continual subscription revenues ala OnStar.

So who is going to pay for the internet connection and all the bandwidth limit posed by ISPs. Plus paying for those cloud storage space. If I buy a car with this kind of crap then I will take that crap out and will install MP3 player. I support the USB idea though.

This is a terrible idea. What about the audiophiles? I know there's flac and other lossless media formats, but that's still not CD quality. Wavs are way too big also. So i guess now you have to go buy a CD, wait till you get home, transfer it over to computer, then transfer to usb before you can even listen to it in the car. Hmm...

profane said,
This is a terrible idea. What about the audiophiles? I know there's flac and other lossless media formats, but that's still not CD quality. Wavs are way too big also. So i guess now you have to go buy a CD, wait till you get home, transfer it over to computer, then transfer to usb before you can even listen to it in the car. Hmm...

Odds are an audiophile will use an aftermarket solution. Factory installed are usually never audiophile quality.

Wow....Honda has been selling USB only music players in their cars for almost 2 years ago in India. Even Suzuki started selling their cars along a mp3 + usb system almost a year ago in India. Too late Ford. Nevertheless a good development. Mp3 cds in my car go bad real quick (no..it not the discs, its the heat and humidity in India which take toll on em)...the USB(thumb drive) runs flawless

Big Daddy Cool said,
Wow....Honda has been selling USB only music players in their cars for almost 2 years ago in India. Even Suzuki started selling their cars along a mp3 + usb system almost a year ago in India. Too late Ford. Nevertheless a good development. Mp3 cds in my car go bad real quick (no..it not the discs, its the heat and humidity in India which take toll on em)...the USB(thumb drive) runs flawless

Ford has been offering USB ports for a while, they're just dropping the CD portion now (probably just dropping it from a standard feature to an optional feature, too, like what happened with cassette players.)

I use CD's as a data disc and fill with mp3's and have at least 20 data cd's full of mp3's in my car.
mp3 CD players should still be used in my opinion.

Zimmyantz said,
I use CD's as a data disc and fill with mp3's and have at least 20 data cd's full of mp3's in my car.
mp3 CD players should still be used in my opinion.

Im pretty sure they are just referring to basic cd players, not the mp3 ones.

Zimmyantz said,
I use CD's as a data disc and fill with mp3's and have at least 20 data cd's full of mp3's in my car.
mp3 CD players should still be used in my opinion.

20*700MB = 13.67GB. You can get one single 16GB flash drive for VERY cheap, about $20 easily and just plug it in. How is 20 CDs a better option?

Another problem is this:

Many books on tape that are on CDs are not "technically" Ok to rip to MP3 players. Now that might not matter to many but still - I feel it is a premature move for sure.

harveyhanson said,
I don't buy CD's, but I still burn CD's for my car, bad move!

I assume you burn CDs for your car because your car has no better input options. If it does have better input options, why not just use those instead of burning CDs?

Ford says they are going to drop CDs in favor or better options such as USB ports. Not drop them with no replacement.

harveyhanson said,
I don't buy CD's, but I still burn CD's for my car, bad move!

I assume you burn CDs for your car because your car has no better input options. If it does have better input options, why not just use those instead of burning CDs?

Ford says they are going to drop CDs in favor or better options such as USB ports. Not drop them with no replacement.

It's rare, but it's nice to be able to pick up a CD that I just happened to see in a store for the right price, and listen to it in my car on the way home before I get to rip it. A rare occasion, but I can see the need to do away with them.

Many of the latest cars have keyless entry and keyless ignition. At least mine does and most cars past 2010 and I dont just mean the luxury variety either are going this route. Not having to carry a case of disks and having a huge library on a flash drive is worth it.

A 128GB Flash dribe is about $200 or for that cost you can get an iPod Classic with 160GB of space.More than enough for most libraries. My itunes library minus the apps is about 100GB counting videos.

if a streaming service is added where the songs from the 90's forward are all available, you wont even need a drive that large. 32GB will be sufficient to carry my library of my DJ mixes that I know wont be streaming. I dont like the vast majority of this new music anyways and love my 70's, 80's and 90's music much more. and the vast majority of that si avail on music streaming services. I think this is a great idea. Here's to the future. and for those who rather have CD's? You will pretty much always be able to buy a CD based stereo for quite some time.

What is this "C.D." they speak of?

I always put aftermarket players in my car with USB audio on them. My Samsung Galaxy has 16GB internal memory, so I store my music library on there and keep a cord in my car. It is very convenient since I always have my phone on me.

Though, I do not think this is a smart move persay. I still know tons of people who only use CDs, my truck came with a 10 disc changer, when I said I didn't want it, the family was in an uproar over who gets it. All they use is CDs. I guess this is a force change, the way it is now.

I just bought a hew SUV/Crossover. A Dodge Journey. It still has a CD player. However you can take ANY smartphone with a USB Charging/Data cable and plug it in and it will fine the music files on your device. In my case when plugging in the iPod, the software on the stereo which is all touchscreen controls, brings up a simple UI for controlling the device.

The only thing I didn't like is scrolling through my songs is a big slow. It also supports playlists, so I will be creating them from now on. It even plays my podcasts. It doesn't however play the videos, but this could be because I have the Express Edition of the truck. The fancier models has a better system with GPS and it likely may support video playback.

Most people who have a phone, Google, Apple, Blackberry or otherwise, likely rops their disks to PC and plays them on a smartphone or iPod. If you dont have a huge library, just get an iPod Nano and it will also work. Or as one poster said, just buy ANY flash USB drive and copy your songs to it. The drive must be formatted using FAT.

Who needs CD's now? Apple is already putting OSX on flash drives if you need to recover your Mac. I am sure Windows PC makers will eventually remove the optical drive and make it an option. Remving optical drives from laptops will also allow them to be thinner. Notice how thin the Air is? Its bec they didn't have to increase the case size for an optical drive. Even slotloading drives have a thick hosing.

Who even uses CD's anymore? You buy, you rip, you save it as your backup.

I also just bought an SUV a month back (Mitsubishi Outlander). Was amazed at the bluetooth audio option. I don't even have to take my blackberry out of the holster and it connects to the stereo system through bluetooth and starts playing the music on the phone.

Who needs CDs these days?

Ford and Microsoft are friendly aren't they? Isn't Sync made by Microsoft? I think that they should allow for your car to remotely connect to your media that is on your home network. That with automatically pairing with your mobile devices make CD/DVD useless.

What they didn't mention is that the dongle is probably the one you get from your ISP and pay your usual mobile data usage fees.

I've always said that the future of radio is Internet Radio. Its been around for years but has been restricted by the requirement to be attached a physically static internet connection.

I already own a wifi internet radio at home. However, as cell coverage improves, cellular internet becomes cheaper and cheaper (not to mention NO CAPS), the natural progression is internet streamed audio. We're already seeing many radio apps for smart phones.

I can't wait till the day I can drive down the highway and listen to my favourite internet radio using nothing more than my car's audio system. Satellite radio will likely see its day too; I'd much rather pay a small monthly fee to have an internet connected car that can connect to thousands of stations worldwide than be restricted to a few stations.

I think the biggest problem with internet radio at the moment is lack of standardization (codec/bitrate/directory listings).

the last CD I put in my car was the DVD Navigation system upgrade disc *lol* haven't put a music CD in for ages...... everything is on the iPod via the iPod connector it has

I love it, I bought a 2009 ford escape with sync, the CD player is the least used system for my media centre in my car.

and for internet radio streaming, i'll just stick to my Sirius Radio...

I love this, CDs have had their time. It's easier and saves space to either be able to just plug in your phone, or pop a USB key in ...

Do not want! I love burning a bunch of mp3's on a CD to play in my car... has a 5 disc changer, so i have plenty of music, and anyone with a computer can burn more onto a CD to bring along... not everyone has an extra USB key to throw songs on...

Buttus said,
Do not want! I love burning a bunch of mp3's on a CD to play in my car... has a 5 disc changer, so i have plenty of music, and anyone with a computer can burn more onto a CD to bring along... not everyone has an extra USB key to throw songs on...

hmm - USB keys currently run about: 2G - $6US 16G $25US - Most if not all of us can afford a couple keys. I have a newer Ford F250 Superduty that has this functionality already built in. I can plug in a USB key or even my iPhone 4. Most of the time it works great though there are a few bugs which is somewhat expected when they start adding new technology/"stuff" into vehicles.

I also replaced my 6 CD changer in my 2003 F150 with a touchscreen display with USB/iPod/iPhone functionality. I love it.

I wished I had the option of removing the factory changer in my car. I haven't touched a CD in years. Besides, most factory installed audio systems don't reproduce the full audio range well, so mp3s are sufficient.

I still use my CD player once in awhile when I forget the mp3 player / phone, or the local radio stations all bite...but its infrequent.

Aux Input FTW. In my old car i use to burn Security Now to a cd and listen in my car. That piece of crap would skip all the time when I would hit a bump. So in my 2007 escape I bought a new car stereo that has USB and auxiliary. Now I drive around with my ipod touch in my car. and plug it into my stereo. Then I love the physical buttons so I easily pause my music at a stop light or stop sign.

Then When I go for my nightly 3 mile walk I take it out of my car and start were I left off.

I remember the 90's and having CD carrying cases with 100's of CD's in them sitting in my car... I also remember on many an occasion having friends cars broken into to steal their CD's. Ohhhh... those were the days...

Now I can have literally thousands of songs on a thumb drive that fits in my pocket... LONG LIVE PROGRESS!!

"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."

So how much are the bills going to be for streaming content? Will it be part of the music service or will the data charge be extra? What about capped bandwidth? I know when i'm on holiday there are many places in the UK that have next to no mobile signal - does that mean i'll be without music as well?

Nice idea, and I know that it's for the future, but it may be further out than they are expecting.

and let me guess that car will then collect all your information of where you drive and how fast and so on. Ill pass thank you. and cd quality will still be better than mp3 player.

Collect all your information? Wow, paranoid much? Besides, if you have 320 CBR MP3 audio files, the difference quality from that and CD audio in a car system is likely pretty negligible. I would love to have such a thing. Especially if it could play WMA lossless files. Then, you'd have perfect CD quality audio!

Soldiers33 said,
and let me guess that car will then collect all your information of where you drive and how fast and so on. Ill pass thank you. and cd quality will still be better than mp3 player.

They do that already with the black boxes installed in most new cars independent of your stereo system.

devHead said,
Collect all your information? Wow, paranoid much? Besides, if you have 320 CBR MP3 audio files, the difference quality from that and CD audio in a car system is likely pretty negligible. I would love to have such a thing. Especially if it could play WMA lossless files. Then, you'd have perfect CD quality audio!

WAV files ftw

devHead said,
Collect all your information? Wow, paranoid much? Besides, if you have 320 CBR MP3 audio files, the difference quality from that and CD audio in a car system is likely pretty negligible. I would love to have such a thing. Especially if it could play WMA lossless files. Then, you'd have perfect CD quality audio!

I'd like to know what music outlets you're using that serve MP3s with bitrates that high.

Zimmedon said,

I'd like to know what music outlets you're using that serve MP3s with bitrates that high.

The one called my Optical Drive

/snark

Soldiers33 said,
and let me guess that car will then collect all your information of where you drive and how fast and so on. Ill pass thank you. and cd quality will still be better than mp3 player.

try FLAC then
300mb per album no DRM and no loss in quality.

Compatible with Android

Tekkerson said,
WAV files ftw
devHead said,
But WAV files are too big! WMA lossless is the same quality, but you can fit more on a stick.

FLAC files ftw

Soldiers33 said,
and let me guess that car will then collect all your information of where you drive and how fast and so on. Ill pass thank you. and cd quality will still be better than mp3 player.

Are you doing anything illegal? If so, I'll be thankful if a car's computer shows you guilty of speeding and causing an accident.

Zimmedon said,

I'd like to know what music outlets you're using that serve MP3s with bitrates that high.

You rip your own music from CDs

TCA said,
Bad idea not everyone has an MP3 Player.

I think its a great idea as I have not used my cd player in years. However, I'm nowhere close to being sold on streaming music over the net.

philcruicks said,
+1 I don't own any CD's all my music is on my PC.

Ive just had to clear out a room to be decorated and moved all my old music. I was thinking about ripping it all before selling them all online.

philcruicks said,
+1 I don't own any CD's all my music is on my PC.

So is mine, but what about MP3 CD's?
I don't mind those being stolen, where as my MP3 player, I don't really want to be carrying it around with me everywhere, so I'd leave it in the car. But then if the car gets broken into. . .

That's okay, I won't need to worry about this as my next car, and probably the one after will still have CD players.

They should look at DAB radios though. In a few years, FM will be turned off making all car radios redundant

philcruicks said,
+1 I don't own any CD's all my music is on my PC.

I kinda feel sorry for you, the Digital music quality is still nowhere close to CD or LP quality. Your missing out on so much detail in your music with the compressed files.

While it may cost more, I still but all my music on CD, then rip a copy for my music-on-the-go.

Milamber said,

I kinda feel sorry for you, the Digital music quality is still nowhere close to CD or LP quality. Your missing out on so much detail in your music with the compressed files.

While it may cost more, I still but all my music on CD, then rip a copy for my music-on-the-go.

wat. Have you ever heard of FLAC?

NPGMBR said,

I think its a great idea as I have not used my cd player in years. However, I'm nowhere close to being sold on streaming music over the net.

+1

i like the idea of just having MP3's on a USB stick but i don't want to have to stream them from the internet, and if i did choose to where is the internet connecton coming from does the car have its own modem in it or do they expect you to tether your phoone to your car and pay download charges ?

i don't understand how that part would work :-?