VW DAB radio head unitDAB is now standard in 55% of new cars sold in the UK and industry experts are hailing the majority landmark as a tipping point in digital radio uptake.

Figures from CAP and the SMMT reveal that more than 440,000 new vehicles have been registered with DAB as standard so far in 2014 – that’s an increase of 62% in a year.

In April 2013, DAB was standard in 37.2% of new cars; in April 2010, it was in just 3.6% of new cars.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK said: “We’ve now reached a significant tipping point with 55% of new cars having digital radio as standard – drivers now expect digital radio, love the choice, and wouldn’t go back to analogue-only radio.”

Ed Vaizy, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries described it as “great news and excellent progress”; Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, called it a “welcome endorsement of consumer appetite for the next generation of audio technology.”

It “follows major investment committed to this new technology by vehicle manufacturers,” he added.

BMW leading the DAB way

DAB industry news site getdigitalradio.com reported that BMW is leading the way with 100% standard DAB fitment across the range. VW boasts 89% standard fitment, with premium sister brand Audi on 88%.

“Market leader Ford now fits 77% of its new models with digital radio as standard” and Vauxhall and Mercedes “have made significant increases to 60% of their range with digital radio as standard”.