RIP CD-Based Car Radios by 2016

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The cassette went away, so did 8-track. CD’s time may be at hand.

Delphi is predicting that by 2015 or 2016, car radios that include CD or DVD players will disappear in new cars.

“Consumer use of compact discs is declining significantly and we think that by 2015 or 2016, there will be little consumer demand for CD players in cars,” said Bob Schumacher Delphi general director of advanced development of electronics & safety in an email. “Just as with 8-tracks and cassette tapes, technology is moving beyond the CD to new digital media systems.”

Sales of compact discs have been falling for at least 8 years. In 2008, CD sales sunk by 19 percent, according to NPD. In 2007, sales dropped about 20 percent in dollar volume.

Not everyone thinks the shift away from CD will be as cut and dry as Delphi.

“We are not as aggressive as Delphi with our forecasts,” said iSuppli. “It is true that by 2015 we would say that some segments in some regions will be mechless [CD-less]. But we would not claim that all vehicles selling from 2015 would be mechless. Optical has peaked already and the decline has begun however this is a slow decline,” said analyst Phil Magney.

Pioneer’s Andy Parsons noted that there are more than 200 billion CDs in use, and that’s not counting DVDs. “We think that the huge installed base of disc-based packaged media will need aftermarket support for the foreseeable future, probably well beyond 2015. Successful [older] formats can persist for a surprisingly long time — you can still find a couple of in-dash cassette players in our lineup, for example”

About 4,000 in-dash aftermarket cassette players sold to consumers last year, according to NPD.

Source: CEoutlook and Wardsauto
Photo of an 8-track cassette radio in a Ford via

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  1. This is a good blog message, I will keep the post in my mind. If you can add more video and pictures can be much better. Because they help much clear understanding. 🙂 thanks Otakemayumi.

  2. I found the subject of the article rather interesting. I am reminded of the claims in 1982 by the CASA folks that OEM would kill the aftermarket business before 1987.

    The most interesting thing I found in the article wasn’t in the article… The only significant CD aftermarket contributor was Pioneer. I wonder if the other guys were not contacted, not available for coment or simply declined to discuss their future. Moving media and fixed pick-up technology vs. digital storage and playback based on PCBs stuffed with components that can be applied in a veriety of “other than traditional” places in the car and manufacured (assembled) in “other than traditional” countries.

    That being said it has taken many years for memory devices to become robust enough and cost effective enough to be applied to computers. I perceive that delay was fostered by very aggressive hard drive pricing along with rapid and significant increases in hard drive memory capacity. Howeever the lines must cross one another at some time. When? And how do aftermarket suppliers and retailers plan to deal with that event?

    Ray Windsor
    German Maestro

  3. Just when you thought that the car company’s where starting to understanding the things consumers want.

    In a heartbeat they take a quantum leap backwards.

    It’s all about choices.That is what the consumer want’s. Choices.

    It seems that they can’t get out of their own way.

    A win / win for aftermarket.

  4. I think we should offer 100% support of Delphi’s prediction. That way the aftermarket can sell some more CD players. 6 or 7 years ago, several major aftermarket manufacturers predicted the demise of CD. They were wrong and paid a price for it in lost sales. CD will die off, but it will indeed be slow. I expect another 10 years for CD with continual declines year over year. The slow uptake of mechless aftermarket decks is evidence of this.

  5. …although my collegue running our OEM sector says that without a CD mechanism, the car companies will not be limited to any particular form factor in the dashboard and thus could deliver some interesting HMI concepts.

  6. I agree that the CD format will be around a long time. Of course, if new cars in 2015 do not have CD playback capability, the aftermarket will benefit.

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