What kind of music or broadcasts do you like to listen to in your car?
Games, movies, navigation systems, audio and many other things – in-car infotainment is a new phenomenon these days, but when it comes to in-car infotainment, the original is probably the radio. It has survived the introduction of new services such as cassette tapes, CDs and internet distribution services.
In the US, the debate over the survival of such in-car radios is now heating up. The debate was triggered when a bipartisan group of legislators introduced a bill on 17 May 2023 to mandate in-car AM radio, even though the number of models without AM radio has been gradually increasing in recent years. Similar bills have been introduced by others, with a total of over 100 legislators involved… This all sounds like “Americans’ love of in-car radios is amazing!” However, according to Ford, less than 5% of users listen to AM radio while riding in their cars.
Ford had decided not to install AM radio in the Mustang Mach-e and F-150 Lightning in 2023MY due to low utilisation. Another negative is that it is not compatible with EVs due to electrical interference. Nevertheless, following the uproar, Ford seems to have decided to bring it back in 2024MY without waiting for a decision on the bill.
The argument that “AM radio is a lifeline that provides safety information in emergencies” is a valid one, and I personally think radio programmes are comfortable with a moderate distance from the listener, but I feel that the ‘in-car mandate’ is a bit too much. What would you listen to if you got in your car today?