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New cars: Car radios will have to support DAB as standard

New rules are close to being introduced that will mean new cars will have to include radios that support digital radio.

The rules, part of the new European Electronics Code, were approved by a vote of MEPs in the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), but the Parliament’s plenary still needs to provide a final green light after the summer recess.

Despite Brexit, the move is still likely to impact UK car manufacturers due to the large proportion of cars they export across Europe.

Once implemented, car radios in new cars will have to support DAB/DAB+ digital radio as standard from the factory; currently new cars still offer DAB-free options, with DAB only available as an extra option. 

However, new car owners will still have the option of listening on FM, ensuring that listeners have a choice of reception options.

The latest UK listening data confirms that a majority of radio listening is now done via a digital platform, including DAB, digital TV or online/mobile services, with in-car listening growth seen as a key measurement of digital radio's success.

The Switzerland-based European Broadcasting Union (EBU) welcomed the developments. The EBU supports public service broadcasting across EU and non-EU states across Europe.

The EBU's Wouter Gekiere commented:
“Ultimately, it will also encourage broadcasters to continue to develop more innovative radio services for EU audiences."

Among the British supporters of the new rules in this week's votes were Ashley Fox, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar and Theresa Griffin, Labour MEP for NW England. UKIP MEP Jonathan Bullock opposed the move, one of two MEPs to vote against.