Mini Countryman gets move to digital radio rolling

Mini announces that its new Countryman model, launched tomorrow, is the first Mini to have digital radio fitted as standard, and that from September 2010 most Mini models will have digital radio as standard. The Mini Countryman is a high profile launch for Mini and is featured in a major new advertising campaign.

This follows Ford's announcement this week that the new C-MAX, their best-selling versatile people carrier, would now have digital radio fitted as standard.

These announcements signify for the first time that new car models selling for less than £20,000 will have digital radio fitted as standard, and is part of the UK motor industry's drive to ensure that all new cars are fitted with digital radio as standard by 2013.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, recently met with the major car manufacturers and reaffirmed his view that "digital radio should be fitted as standard in all cars by the end of 2013." According to Ofcom, fewer than 500,000 motor vehicles are fitted with digital radio, but as part of the Government-Industry Digital Radio Action Plan, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said its members are committed to meeting the 2013 Government target for new cars.

Ford Ennals, Chief Executive of Digital Radio UK, said: "Drivers love listening to digital radio in their car and so we welcome today's announcement that the new Mini Countryman and most of the Mini range will have digital radio fitted as standard. This is an important milestone in the transition for all new cars to have digital radio fitted as standard."

Tim Davie, BBC Director of Audio and Music said; ‘It's great to see more car manufacturers offering digital radios as standard, and this coincides with our plans to improve BBC digital radio reception on the UK's motorway network and major roads'.

Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive of RadioCentre, said: "The ability to receive digital radio in motor vehicles is the most important part of the transition to digital radio and the announcements by Mini and Ford are a clear sign that the move to digital is accelerating".

Digital radio comes fitted as standard in many new vehicles including Audi A7 and A8, Chrysler 300C, Jaguar XF (above the Portfolio range), Landrover Freelander HSE, Landrover Discovery XS, Landrover Discovery HSE, Landrover Range Rover S HSE, Range Rover S Autobiography, Lexus RX 450 SEL, Lexus RX 450 SEL Premier, Lexus GS SEL, Mini John Cooper Works, Mini Cooper S, Mini One Clubman, Mini Cooper Clubman, Mini Cooper D Clubman, Mini Cooper S Clubman, Mini One convertible, Mini Cooper convertible, Mini Cooper S convertible, Mini Countryman, Vauxhall Insignia, Vauxhall Vectra, VW Golf Match, VW Tiguan Match, VW Touareg, VW Phaeton, Volvo XC60 premium.

There are several digital radio adapters on the market (PURE and Goodmans, for example) with more planned for release in 2010. Currently these start at around £70 for self-fitting. There are also fitted options available from £100 from Halfords, with further announcements expected. The development of affordable and effective means of adapting the existing car stock to digital is part of the Digital Radio Action Plan.

- ENDS -

About Digital Radio UK
Digital Radio UK works with Government, broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers, and a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate digital listening, to enable the expansion of the digital radio platform, and to ensure that industry meets the consumer-led criteria to be achieved by 2013, for a proposed radio switchover in 2015. Digital Radio UK's Board comprises representatives from the BBC, RadioCentre, Arqiva, Global Radio, Bauer Media, GMG Radio, Intellect and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

About the Digital Radio Action Plan
The Digital Radio Action Plan was launched by the Minister for Culture. Ed Vaizey at the Intellect Conference on 8 July 2010, to encourage more consumers to make the switch and give industry the certainty it needs for investment. Key actions for Government and industry include: agreeing a plan for building DAB coverage to match FM; a detailed assessment of the impact of switching over to digital radio, including the costs weighed against the benefits, how to ensure rural areas are not left behind and the need for a proper environmental plan; developing a kitemark scheme for digital radio devices that guarantees quality; developing a strategic marketing and communications plan; determining whether a help scheme is needed and how it might be run.

17.09.2010 | Products

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