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Carmakers Hope to Lure Buyers with Fancy New Audio Options

July 21, 2003

Carmakers already are putting DVD players in vehicles to handle rear-seat entertainment and navigation systems, notes Tom Dunn, marketing director of Panasonic's Automotive Systems Company unit. Now DVDs may change the way we listen to music in our cars, as well.According to the Wall Street Journal, General Motor's Vice Chairman Robert Lutz was so impressed by a demonstration of DVD Audio that he spread the word through the No. 1 automaker's product-development organization, where DVD Audio was already under consideration."It's something we will be implementing onfuture vehicles," says Dave Bradford, audio-systems lead engineer for GM North America, who was giving demonstrations of the H2's DVD Audiosystem at a recent press event.Honda's Acura luxury division plans to launch its redesigned Acura TL sedan this fall with a Panasonic DVD Audio system as standard equipment, spokesman Mike Spencer says. Toyotahas DVD Audio on a car in Japan and probably won't wait long to answer Acura's challenge in the United States.As of the 2003 model year, only 2 percent to 3 percent of vehicles were offered with audio systems capable of playing back compressed music files MP3s, according to the Journal. But Visteon's Weston said that's going to change rapidly. "You'll see a jump in the 2004 model year. The vehicles are just being built and tested right now," he said. "You'll see another significant jump in 2005."
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