Ready to Ditch the In-Dash CD Player? Ford Is

Last time we checked, CDs were still selling in the hundreds of millions per year. But automakers have multi-year product cycles to think about, which is why Ford is now officially ditching the in-dash CD player – just like the tape player before it.

“In-car entertainment technology is moving digital more rapidly than almost any other element of the vehicle experience,” said Sheryl Connelly, global trends and futuring manager at Ford Motor Company. “The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.”

The company pointed to its Focus as the first model that will go CD-free, part of an aggressive move towards integrated smartphone, USB, and MP3-focused support. Ford has been pushing in-dash digital entertainment integrations through its SYNC system for some time, a shift that includes touchscreen support for apps like Pandora (and, scarily, Twitter as well).

Then again, not every model is going CD-free immediately, and some shufflers will be kept in the lineup – for now. “Ford will obviously continue to offer CD players while there is demand,” Ford multimedia manager Ralf Brosig told Expert Reviews. “However, over time, we expect customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment.”

This is all part of a tricky catch-22 for the disc. For millions, there’s nothing wrong with this format, though, at some point, players like Ford need to cut the cord. That, coupled with the absence of physical music retailers and a blitz of digital options, simply feeds the downward spiral.

While CDs were once the go-to option for music lovers, they are now being replaced by digital options. The rise of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music has made it easier than ever to access a vast library of music without having to purchase individual albums or tracks. As a result, the demand for CDs has been steadily declining over the past few years.

This trend has been particularly noticeable in the automotive industry, where in-car entertainment systems have been evolving rapidly. Many car manufacturers have been shifting towards digital options, such as Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports, to allow drivers to connect their smartphones or other devices to their vehicle’s audio system.

Ford’s decision to ditch the in-dash CD player is part of a broader trend towards digital integration in the automotive industry. The company has been investing heavily in its SYNC system, which allows drivers to connect their devices to their car’s audio system and control their music using voice commands or touchscreens.

“The key to a great in-car entertainment system is to provide customers with a seamless experience that integrates all their devices and services,” said Connelly. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to enjoy their favorite music while on the road.”

While some drivers may lament the loss of the in-dash CD player, it’s clear that the trend towards digital integration is here to stay. As more and more consumers shift towards digital options, car manufacturers will need to keep pace with the changing demands of their customers.

In the end, it’s all about providing a great customer experience. Whether it’s through in-dash CD players or digital options like Bluetooth and USB, car manufacturers need to make sure that their customers have access to the music they love while on the road. And with the rise of digital integration, it’s clear that the future of in-car entertainment is digital.



23 Responses

  1. @smithjenniferl

    Jennifer Smith

    CDs need to go. Good job Ford for ditching the in-dash. CDs are terrible: breakable, scratchable, fragile. good riddance.

  2. @BerkleeDoug

    Doug Orey

    If I owned a car I would be all about this!

  3. Versus

    “In-car entertainment technology is moving digital more rapidly than almost any other element of the vehicle experience.”

    This is how marketing demolishes the English language.

    By the way, just how many “elements” of the “vehicular experience” are moving digital anyway? The wheels? The doors? Just wondering.

    – Versus

  4. balbers

    I wonder if it’s just too difficult to include both ways (cd and digital/bluetooth/wireless) and give the consumers the option of using the product how it best serves their needs as opposed to the manufacturer forcing the consumer to use the product in the manner that the manufacturer dictates.


    Steve Jobs and Sony PS3.

  5. @caragotoheller


    Ford the cutting edge of integrating digital music into auto dashboards? Weird.

  6. @ColinMills

    Colin Mills

    The Compact Disc gets another death sentence….

  7. timothy

    i hope the cd format dies. digital sound stinks. this should have been done years ago. digital is too sterile and cold. 8 tracks sound better than digital.

  8. @wtmaynor

    Tom Maynor

    Rarely use my car CD player, would you miss yours?

  9. @utiuwku

    Tim England

    8-Track Player-gone. Audiocassette player-gone. Now Ford says CD players will be phased out of its cars.The beat goes on.

  10. @NelsonOnGaming

    A.T. Nelson

    *pfft* my truck still has a cassette player

  11. Brett B

    Whats a CD? lol To be honest I have not bought a CD for 7 years!!!



    • Ears

      Can you hear the differance, do you feel less satisfied aurally? 🙂

  12. @tgrumm

    tara grumm

    You feel old when… you have seen the elimination of the cassette player in cars and NOW the CD player!

  13. @mattwilliams27

    Matt Williams

    CDs are fading fast. Scary, but I can’t help but like the idea of a digitally-integrated car.

  14. JustMe

    One more example of the dumbing down of America. Anyone whose total music library consists of MP3s is missing what music is meant to be. Even CDs have their limitations, but for a car environment are probably sufficient. I suspect that in mass market vehicles this trend will gather momentum. My only hope is that for those who spring for upscale audio systems, whether OEM or aftermarket will have the option to continue with the superior medium.