End of the road for in-car CD players

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Ford designer Michael Arbaugh said he was “looking forward to the day” when designers ditch CD players on dashboards forever.

The reason is simple — CD players weigh 2.2 kilograms, even more when you factor in the CDs carried — and that’s valuable weight which has a direct impact on the fuel efficiency of modern cars.

A year ago, that may not have mattered so much, but in a world where high gas prices have become the norm and the environmental agenda is more prominent than ever, automakers are getting into the details to shed the pounds. They’re also aware that CDs are becoming a device of the past.

“I think anybody under 30 is probably using all MP3 devices. They don’t buy CDs,” Arbaugh said.

That consideration is likely to accelerate automakers’ moves to remove physical media players from their cars, meaning we could witness the death of the CD drive far faster than we saw the death of the tape player.

Last year, Ford dropped multi-disk CD players from its European Ford Focus line, noting that 95 per cent of the model’s buyers chose versions with MP3 device connection and 90 per cent chose a Bluetooth wireless connection.

The Chevrolet Sonic RS also ditched an optical drive in favour of MyLink, which allows access to MP3 players and the streaming of music from sites such as Pandora.

Earlier this year, research company Stratacom predicted that about 331,000 cars will be sold without CD players in the United States this year, jumping to 12.1-million by 2018.

Interior of 2012 Toyota Tacoma V6 Double Cab TRD with leather package.
Photograph by: Derek McNaughton, Postmedia News