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Half of Car Buyers Want iPod Link

Southfield, Mich.a — Almost half of consumers preparing to buy a car want to connect an iPod to their vehicle, making it the third most desired feature behind radios and CD players, according to a new study by radio consultant Jacobs Media.

Of consumers planning to buy or lease a new car this year, 47 percent want a factory connection for an iPod or MP3 player. By comparison only 24 percent want a factory navigation system and 16 percent are interested in satellite radio.

The study was conducted online in March with more than 21,000 respondents, mainly rock radio listeners, 12 percent of which said they plan on buying or leasing a new car in 2009. The 12 percent were then asked which features they are very interested in for their new car. 

Only six percent said they want a wireless Internet connection from the factory, nine percent want HD Radio and 11 percent want the Sync (Ford’s voice controlled radio system).

The findings were part of a broader study that showed AM/FM radio listenership in the car is still strong although radio listenership in the home continues to decline, said president Fred Jacobs. People listen to the radio while at their computer but listen less while performing tasks around the house or walking or exercising, preferring portable devices like the iPod for these activities, said Jacobs Media.

Ironically, Jacobs said the car may also see a downturn in radio listenership as more consumers use iPod connectors in their vehicles. But he adds, “The other side of it, especially with the iPhone, there are some great radio apps that allow you to stream any number of broadcast radio stations on your iPhone. So, to a great degree, the iPhone allows broadcast radio proximity and presence.” 

The study found only two percent of respondents own an HD Radio, up from one percent a year ago. Satellite radio subscribers increased to 13 percent from 12 percent a year earlier, with the percentage that are very satisfied with the service dropping to 36 percent from 44 percent.