Although MP3 playback capability and satellite radio currently have limited market share in the automotive industry, the technologies are poised for significant growth in the near future, a JD Power and Associates survey said.

The report found that while only 3% of consumers currently have MP3 playback capability in their current vehicle, 75% of those consumers indicate that they “definitely” or “probably” want the technology in their next vehicle. Similarly, only 11% of consumers currently have satellite radio, but 73% of those consumers want the feature in their next vehicle.

The AM/FM/single CD player is the most popular audio system configuration on the market today, representing 34% of all factory-installed audio systems in 2004. AM/FM/cassette/single CD players, the most popular system in 2003, with 32% market share, dropped to 26% in 2004. AM/FM/multi CD changers, which took just 1% of the market in 1998, are now the third-most-popular system, with 18% market penetration.

Consumers are starting to favour more advanced features, such as MP3 players and satellite radio.

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, Inc., and Visteon Corporation ranked highest in quality for factory-installed audio systems within the AM/FM/cassette/single CD player and AM/FM/single CD player categories.

Mitsubishi Electric ranked highest in the AM/FM/cassette/single CD player category, with 3.7 problems per 100 vehicles. The firm supplies the system to 24 Chrysler, Dodge and Volvo vehicle models included in the 2004 report. Fujitsu Ten (3.9), Alpine (4.1) and Delphi (4.4) followed in the rankings.

Visteon ranked highest in the AM/FM/single CD player category, supplying the system for 18 Ford, Mercury and Mazda models included in the 2004 survey. Alpine-Harman/Becker and Siemens were ranked next.

JD Power said vehicle audio systems are still plagued by radio and reception problems. Its survey found that 5% of new vehicle owners experience a problem with their audio system within the first three months of ownership. Consistent with previous years, “radio won’t stay on station” and “poor reception” remained the most prevalent problems reported.