CD Players Make Slow Exit From New Cars

CD players

Cars without CD players will become the norm in the next five years, according to Automotive News.

Around 331,000 cars will be sold without CD players by the end of this year, said to John Canali, an analyst for the research company Stratacom. Canali expects that number to jump to 12.1 million vehicles by 2018.

Why the change? Consumers are using their CD players less often and are instead opting to use their smartphones to play music. In turn, automakers want to get rid of optical drives because they're expensive and mainly appeal to older motorists, Canali says.

The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS is a prime example of the trend. It's the first model to get Chevrolet's MyLink touch-screen stereo. The MyLink system in the Sonic lacks an optical drive; instead, buyers will need to use the Sonic's touch-screen to access features like Pandora internet radio to play music. To access Pandora or other online services, a smartphone must be paired.

The youth-oriented Sonic RS is a good car to start the trend because CD players are most often used by baby boomers, according to Canali. Of course, if you don't want to go through the trouble of pairing your phone, you can always use the auxiliary or USB input to access music from a portable music player — including a portable CD player, if you still have one.

CD players, Beloved by Baby Boomers, Head for the Exit (Automotive News)

By Colin Bird | January 17, 2012 | Comments (21)


Ken L.

I, for one, am glad to hear this trend. My car came with a 3 or 5 disc CD changer built in and I've never even used it once in the 2.5 years of ownership. I just don't see why anyone would want to carry more baggage with CDs when today's iPods, etc. can hold more and sound just as amazing. And since the CD player spins, it generates more heat and contributes to a greater chance of failure on a hot day. Good riddance.


the 2013 Malibu has MyLink standard and will be on sale within weeks. The equinox and Volt will also have it during current model year. Im pretty sure they all have CD players however.


Ken L,

I disagree with you. Cds are high quality resolutions of art( thats is the purchased-shrink wrap, not the bootleg ones).

Ipods, smartphones and radio are poor quality alternatives to sound. No other alternative device is capable of playing music in terms of quality. Ipods distort the music( i know i have my ipod hooked up to my cd player), the radio is poor and the connection is always an issues

Other mp3 players are compressed to fit more music. In this manner, this is why cds reign supreme in music quality. They are a high resolution, quality piece of music. Other forms are bittle and are too compressed in detail.

To support the elimination means you support inferior means of music, and rather have convienence than quality. Then again, your a cheap buyer who only pays attention to the dollar sign. Hmph, doesnt suprise me. You get what you pay for cheapwads.


CDs skip, scratch, and warp overtime. That's not superior quality. In addition, you need to fumble through all the CDs while you are driving. I don't even know if you own a smartphone because the sound IS better than CDs. Lets get rid of your first gen Ipod and maybe you will get it! Like it or not, CDs are on their way out, sorry bud.


Mike its not the first generation. Its an ipod touch. Its definitely newish.... Any device that compresses data will suffer in quality. Listen to a cd that has more than like 15-20 songs. Thats a good example. The reason that smartphones are not good is that they are not built for music. A fool would buy a smartphone strictly for music. Thats what an ipod is for. In addition, even if you turned the volume up all the way o nthe smartphone, the clarity is not necessairly better than a cd.
Yes cds scratch, warp etc. Its how you take care of them. I never leave cds sitting out, i am meticulous with them. They do not need to be cleaned.

Cds may be on the way out, but there is no better alternative. keep arguing with me.....


...Yes, you are the guy with an 8-track deck in your El Camino of the current generation.

Ken L.


I agree that CDs may be of better quality if you're walking your dog for 3 miles with Beats headphones on; other than that, the sound quality varies greatly in an automobile. Remember, the CD is only one factor, there is also the sound system setup, exterior environment, etc. that affects the sound quality. And most people won't be paying that close of attention to the music while driving anyhow.

However, this is about the CD player disappearing from the automobile. And in this case, the automakers are simply keeping up with the times. See pal, either you evolve or you die like the rest, it's that simple. The CD itself will become a classic item one day and great cocktail conversation. And by the way, I do not support inferior quality, I support the technology that will further all of mankind's developments.

Ken L.

I meant, relic, not classic.

Matt C.


You can get better audio from a proper (meaning $$$$$) tape player, record player (not for car), or an 8 track player, but they cannot match the convenience of the CD. Unfortunately the smart phone/mp3 players of this world beat the CD for convenience. But as a light weight audiophile, I do agree we are going in the wrong direction with sound, especially compared to where we are going with video.


Well i think phones should stick to calls.

Im sure smartphones provide excellent quality. However, i have two amps, four speakers, and a sub in the cab of a 2001 f150. If there was a person who knew what quality sounded like, it should be. I prefer the cds over my ipod or the radio. Sure i can hook up my phone, but why bother.

Im sure for the average person, a smartphone will suffice.


a. Malibu does not have it anymore.
b. iPod is capable playing CD quality sound. It depends on what files are you playing. WAV file is CD quality.


Well personally I can't stand the idea of having to use a smart phone or anyother device to listen to music in a car.
These so called smart phones have gotten way out of hand on what they can do. I'm suprised that they can't wipe your ass yet! A phone is suppose to be a device that allows you to call someone and talk to the other person, not listen to music, watch a movie on it, send email, and what ever else they may do.
Personally I would like to see cell phones BANNED altogether while a person is in a vehicle. There are way to many people using cell phones while driving a car, and to listen to music now as you drive your car? Thats only going to lead to even more auto accidents to happen.


Sorry I'm late to this conversation, but I welcome the change. As a shopped for a new car in 2011 I was frustrated seeing all the multi-disc players in cars. I don't need it and will never use it. There are other options to playing music, not just a smartphone. You can also use an MP3 player, a thumb drive or an SD card, or just use the hard drive on the sterro. Catch up with the times people.


I do not want the auto maker dictating how to get my music, per se.

This is not Progress, but more ways for a company to charge you more fees. Bad as the banks, greedy..

I want to be able to play CDs that I have and not avail. thru the limited auto makers.
Quit limiting my choices. Heck, they took away the battery gage, now I have a dead battery. Before, I could have been able to read a gage to tell me my battery quality.

That is progress? Not in my book. For safety reasons, I want a gage back in my auto to tell me my battery life.

Alan E

If you want the best possible audio quality, that's a vinyl record on a quality turntable with great speakers in your quiet home. It's not going to happen in your car. Compared to that ideal there's no meaningful difference between a CD and a quality MP3 - but you're still welcome to buy a portable CD player and plug it into your AUX port.


If my £3.5k ($5.5k)
Marantz Hifi Sperates
sounds good with 320k
mp3's, only losing about
2% of sound quality from
a CD then I'm sure it will
be more than fine for a car
to have no optical player.

Delena Cavaness

Not only is CD sound quality better, there have been areas on the coast of California where we could not get reception for bluetooth Pandora . . .and the CDs were great. I have only an Ipod Nano and the sound quality in the car is terrible. I am a baby boomer and thankful that my new car came with a CD player.


R.T. Yu're so Right it's All about the Money & Nuthin but that! My F250 came with an AudioPhile Radio System 8 Speaker Am/Fm Stereo W/SubWoofer, W/Sirius Satellite & W/6CD Changer Player! It also has an Aux. for MP3 Players to be Added of which I have 2 & Use Regularly! So I do Stay Up with Tehnology & Convenience! These New Deletions R Nuthin but Ways of Chargin People for New Services to Belong to in Order to Have a Little Music in Your Vehicle! Git Real, jist because We're a Bit Older doesn't mean that We Haven't Kept Up with Technology, but We're also Smart enough Not to Be Ripped Off either!


My 2014 Kia Soul has no CD player. Yay!


I have a Dolby multi cd (6 cd) changer in my Volvo. It is absolutely the best (superior in my and others opinions) sound quality you can get. The convenience is also great. No fumbling with extra gadgets or distracting touch screens. I am so sorry this option is being phased out.


@rt, regarding your comments about gauges, I totally agree. Additionally, digital readings are often difficult to read because of light reflections, etc.

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