Cool Ford story about 8-tracks to cassettes and CD’s to digital music from the cloud.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- July 22, 2011
The history of Car audio in Ford’s from a UK perspective.
“A push button radio is standard equipment on the Granada GXL – A car that is quiet enough to let you hear the latest stock market prices…” The guy is driving down the road with the sunroof wide open
8-Track and the follow on cassette tape player that once revolutionized in-car audio entertainment were driven out of the dashboard by the CD. Now in-car CD players are poised to follow a similar path as Ford and other automotive companies respond to customer demand for all-digital systems with ever increasing connectivity.
With the all-new Ford Focus, Ford has eliminated once-popular multi-disc CD changers, while a USB connection and Bluetooth are standard equipment in the UK – both of which cater to the increasing popularity of iPods and other digital music players.
According to figures from the British Phonographic Industry, the number of CD albums sold in the UK fell 35 percent between 2006 and 2010, while the number of digital album sales increased more than seven-fold.
Sheryl Connelly, Global Trends and “Futuring” Manager
for the Ford Motor Company:
“The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.”
Given Sheryl’s title, the following excerpt from the movie Armageddon comes to my limited mind.
Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) speaking with the Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton), NASA’s project director:
And this is the best that you-that the government, the US government could come up with? I mean, you're NASA for crying out loud, you put a man on the moon, you're geniuses! You're the guys that're thinking **** up! I'm sure you got a team of men sitting around somewhere right now just thinking **** up and somebody backing them up! You're telling me you don't have a backup plan…
Someday I might have a clue as to how individuals like Sheryl figure out what we are going to be doing, driving and living like in the future?
Get back on topic for god’s sake already
As music-lovers relocate their CD catalogues to digital storage and move to digital download purchasing of music, Ford plans a targeted move towards “all-digital” in-car entertainment.
Music purchasing revolution accelerates CD’s demise
Across Europe, Ford currently offers USB and Bluetooth audio connectivity, as well as auxiliary inputs for MP3 devices, to supplement the existing CD player. But as CD usage becomes less prevalent, these digital devices will become the norm.
And it saves Ford $’s in addition to allowing more real estate for items like larger LCD’s
Ralf Brosig, multimedia manager, Ford of Europe:
“Ford will obviously continue to offer CD players while there is demand. However, over time we expect customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment.”
Ford will take a big step forward with the arrival of the advanced SYNC with MyFord Touch system in Europe, arriving first in the Ford Focus.
The system will cater directly to the demands of Ford’s tech-savvy customers, offering a sophisticated multimedia infotainment hub providing connectivity options including multiple USB inputs, SD card ports, RCA inputs and Bluetooth connectivity.
The system also will act as a password-protected wireless hotspot for up to five devices, providing connectivity through USB or mobile phone broadband modems. This capability will potentially allow access to “cloud computing” services such as the recently unveiled Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Music, eliminating the need to carry music storage devices in the vehicle. Ford expects two million SYNC equipped vehicles to be on the road in Europe by 2015.
Ford DAB radio
Ford is a leader in delivering Digital Audio Broadcasting radio technology in the form of DAB, DAB+ and DMB to car buyers, with 150,000 DAB-equipped vehicles already on Europe’s roads. Beginning this month, that coverage will expand as the number of countries using one of the trio of DAB systems to supplement or replace their traditional analogue broadcasting infrastructure increases.
The addition of DAB radio as standard to the new Ford Focus in the UK will deliver the technology to 90,000 customers in that market alone, while more than 50 percent of UK Mondeo and Galaxy models sold in 2011 have featured a DAB radio, with more than 80 per cent of S-MAX customers benefitting from the technology.
DAB radio offers improved sound quality and better functionality for users while allowing more efficient use of the available radio frequencies, meaning DAB-exclusive stations and more choice for listeners.
In 2003, Ford became the first manufacturer to offer DAB Digital Radio as a dealer-fitted accessory in the UK, one of the most advanced European markets in terms of DAB coverage. Factory-fitted DAB radios debuted on the UK Ford Focus, C-MAX and Kuga models in 2008 and have been standard on the C-MAX, Grand C-MAX and all-new Focus models since 2010.
Good story Ford and I hope to see many more just like them! A very savvy Ford employed friend of mine, Jay Ward had his hand at putting this one together for the European Ford media site and I can almost hear him laughing with his quaint British accent about some of the old footage in the YouTube linked above