Radio is still king in the car, according to a new study, which found almost nine in 10 UK motorists think radio should remain a standard feature in vehicles. The survey of more than 1,000 consumers by Edison Research found 89 percent were in favour of having broadcast radio as standard on new cars.

The global study interviewed those who had either recently purchased or leased a new car, or plan to do so in the near future. As well as speaking to consumers in the UK, the survey also conducted interviews among car buyers in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and the USA.

Of those respondents in the UK, almost eight in 10 (78 percent) said they would be less likely to buy or lease a vehicle that was not equipped with a built-in radio tuner. As a result, a broadcast radio tuner was also deemed among the most important audio features in a car by 89 percent of respondents.

Apple CarPlay on iPhone 8 in a Skoda

Similarly, 83 percent of those questioned said they thought USB ports were an important part of their vehicle, while Bluetooth was deemed important by eight in 10 (80 percent). Those features were all well ahead of smartphone integration technology, with 59 percent of consumers rating Apple CarPlay as important, while 57 percent said the same about Android Auto.

UK car buyers were also asked about the added-value in-car radio features they wanted most in their vehicles. Having the ability to search for radio stations using voice controls was the most popular, with 53 percent of respondents claiming they would like to see that tech in their car, while half (50 percent) said they coveted cars that gave drivers “information about content” on the radio.

Driver listening to car radio

Tom Webster, senior vice-president at Edison Research, said the results showed the importance of broadcast radio among consumers.

“This is a major piece of consumer research covering some of the biggest automotive markets, yet attitudes about radio among car buyers across all of the countries surveyed were uncannily similar,” he said. “It’s clear, too, that broadcast radio was singled out specifically as a must-have option.

“Roughly two-thirds of motorists across all countries surveyed indicated that they ‘would not listen to their favourite radio stations’ if they were only available online. For consumers the availability of free, easy-to-access broadcast radio as standard is an essential part of the in-car entertainment system and looks set to remain so.”