Kia goes digital
It was announced today by Digital Radio UK at the international IBC conference in Amsterdam that the fifth biggest automotive manufacturer in the world, the Korean Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, has committed to moving to digital radio as standard across most of its Kia models in the UK.
The Kia Soul, the Pope’s vehicle of choice when he visited Korea last month [see image], has been launched with digital radio as standard and other Kia models will be upgraded as soon as possible within the product life-cycle. The Kia Sportage, the brand’s best-selling car in the UK, will get digital radio when the all-new version is launched this year.
Kia and Hyundai are together the fifth largest vehicle manufacturer in the UK, with an overall market share of 6.6%. KIA has a 3.2% market share of new vehicles in the UK (SMMT 2013).
This announcement is part of a major shift in the UK new car market where 55% of new car registrations now have digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT July 2014), up from just 12% three years ago. The car is one of the favourite places to listen to the radio, and 61% of all radio listeners listen in the car (RAJAR Q2 2014).
Ian Mathews, Head of Product Planning at Kia Motors (UK) Limited says: “Kia has long been one of the fastest growing car brands in the UK and we know our customers love the additional choice of radio stations in their car.”
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, says: “It's great news that one of the world's largest car manufacturers is prioritising fitting digital radios throughout the Kia range. This means Kia drivers can listen to all of their favourite stations on digital radio and will be able to receive the new digital network of national commercial radio stations when they launch next year.”
Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Digital Economy said: “The digital revolution is strengthening radio, giving listeners an ever greater choice of stations to appeal to all tastes. So I’m delighted that future Kia drivers will be able to enjoy the full range of great radio we have in this country.”
Helen Boaden, Director of Radio at the BBC, says: “We are delighted that now even more car drivers will be able to listen to our digital-only stations while they’re on the move.”
Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, says: “This announcement shows the continued support from the automotive sector for digital radio. We are pleased that good progress continues to be made in the line-fitting of digital radio by manufacturers.”