When we think about how far cars have come in the past five years, we should be impressed with what we’ve been able to do with technology and aerodynamics. We’ve added convenience features that make it possible for a car to, virtually, park itself, thus eliminating the need for expert parallel parking skills. We’ve made it possible for the car to alert you if it feels a small tug out of the lane it has been riding in, making things a little bit safer for everyone on the road. However, with one aspect of the vehicle’s design, are we still stuck in the past?
We can all laugh, heartily, as we think about the things we’ve lived through that made it possible to listen to music in our cars. There was the bulky eight track device which was akin to shoving blocks of plastic into the dash to hear our favorite songs. We made it through the days of cassette tapes and their general frailty with having to rewind, fast forward, and manually re-spool the tape if the player decided to eat it. It’s become evident that CDs have become a thing of the past, so why are we still installing the players in our cars?
There was once a time where the more CDs you could fit in your player, the better the quality of the car. Remember your first car that had the in-dash six CD changer, and how much of a rockstar you felt like? That’s not so much the case anymore, and CDs have become a bulky and overly delicate reminder of our jaded youths. Yet, car manufacturers are still continuing to pump out cars with that telltale slot built into the dash, so it has to be asked, are CD players a deal breaker for your next car purchase?
1985 marked the first vehicle to be produced with an in-dash CD player, back when the technology was relatively new and CDs were expensive. This started the trickle up effect that often happens in car technology. Every manufacturer wanted to make sure that their vehicle had the next best thing, and eventually thing morphed into the multiple disc CD players of yesteryear. Cars that didn’t offer the technology were immediately being outfitted with after-market devices that cost hundreds of dollars, and included a rather daunting installation process. These days, the fragile CD has fallen by the wayside, and yet we’re still including the players in our vehicles.
Be honest, when was the last time you purchased a CD? I’m going to say it’s a safe bet that is has been quite some time, since most people are now focused solely on streaming for their music needs. Those members of the population that don’t use apps like Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music to supplement their driving experience still have the option of using their iPod or the music on the hard drive of their phones via the auxiliary cable. However, someone has to be using the CD player, right?
It could be that the CD player is still included in cars because reconfiguration of the dash without it would be costly, but manufacturers have spent money on stranger things. Perhaps, it is part of the car’s system in order to provide options to an older generation of people who don’t have the technology to support streaming audio, but are these people really listening to CDs either? When you consider how far we’ve come in regards to automotive technology, looking at that gash in the dashboard is befuddling. We’re essentially using it as a monument to outdated technology, as very few people are using hard copies of music anymore.
We’re all about cost and extras when it comes to our cars, and we don’t like to have superfluous items that could be chopped from the budget. It’s doubtful that removing the CD player would change the price of a vehicle very much, so most people will just continue to deal with it being there. However, if it is something that manufacturers decide to pull out of the design in the future, how many people would miss it? Also, if it was offered as an optional package, would you pay extra to have it there?