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Ford Plans to Drop CD Players from the Dash

Move follows cassette tape, 8-track players before it

We’ve reported that some receiver manufacturers have begun making car radios without CD players. Now Ford will start dropping the in-dash CD player from its radios – in Europe, for now.

That’s according to Manager for Global Trends and Futuring, Ford Motor Co., Sheryl Connelly, who told Digital Music News “The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.”

According to Ford, downloadable formats such as MP3 now account for 98% of the music market, having grown more than seven-fold while CD sales have dropped 35%.

The automaker says the Ford Focus is its first model that will have a CD-less in-dash radio. Ford, like other automakers, is moving towards integrating a smartphone connection as well as USB and MP3 Bluetooth connectivity for an external device.

Over in Europe, the plan starts with the launch of Ford SYNC, expected to reach Europe in 2012, providing access to server-based audio streaming and music storage services from within the car. Ford expects around two million SYNC-equipped devices to be on the road in Europe by 2015.

The company will also standardize DAB digital radio across its range in Europe, according to Expert Reviews.

The migration will take time; Ford Multimedia Manager Ralf Brosig told Expert Reviews the automaker would continue to offer radios with CD players while there’s still demand for the CD format. However, “Over time we expect customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment.”