Sales of cars with Internet radio will zoom up by more than 14,000 percent in the eight years following 2010, according to new research from IHS iSuppli. It forecasts that 24 million cars will have Internet radio built in to their dashboards in 2018, with almost half of them (10.9 million) in the United States.
Of course, it’s easy to achieve such astronomical growth when starting from near zero. There were only 168,000 cars with Internet radio in 2010, and 149,000 of those were in the U.S.
“With music having been the leading form of entertainment in cars for more than 75 years, Internet radio is expected to lead the in-vehicle app revolution,” said Egil Juliussen, principal analyst for automotive infotainment at IHS.
About 50 car models in the U.S. already have Internet radio app integration or will have it in their 2012 versions, from BMW, Ford, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Buick, Chevrolet and Hyundai. In Europe it’s only available from BMW and Mini, and in China four luxury models are adding it.
Juliussen said Pandora is by far the most popular Internet radio service for in-car listening. Pandora has partnered with the makers of more than 200 consumer electronics devices, including Alpine, Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung and Sony. He further said that Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker, Spotify and other radio service providers will be in direct competition with broadcast and satellite radio.
A primary force driving this growth is that it’s not very difficult to add Internet radio capabilities into modern cars. Automotive electronics are no longer limited to a car stereo, but instead are integral to the entire design. This means the technology aspect of adding these radio services to cars is almost as easy as adding them to a home computer.
Automotive equipment manufacturers aren’t showing much interest in cloud music services like Apple’s iCloud, Google Music or Amazon’s Cloud Drive so far, but the report predicts this will change as they become more commonplace.
IHS iSupply report – http://tinyurl.com/3qlkeb4
Photo by flickr user dsearls, used under Creative Commons license