Toyota Australia is introducing MP3-compatible audio units as standard equipment across most of its product range and claims to have adopted the new technology more comprehensively than any other brand in its market.

Toyota divisional general manager, marketing, Scott Grant, said the move to standardise MP3 compatibility on most of the range was part of the company's strategy to become the technology leader in the Australian car market.

Grant said MP3 files had become the accepted medium for music storage, particularly with 18 to 25 year olds.

"MP3 is a format that transcends all types of personal IT products, from personal computers and iPods to mobile phones and car stereos. Just as CDs replaced cassette tapes in cars at the beginning of the 21st century, MP3 compatible CD players are about to replace conventional audio CD format players as the in-car entertainment standard."

Grant said Toyota saw MP3 compatibility as a key selling point with the younger market but he also believed it would spread to older buyers through their children.

"Increasingly, older generations are learning about new technology from their children. So, while MP3 may not appeal initially to the driver, it will appeal to their younger passengers."

MP3 files are about one tenth the size of a normal audio file, which means they allow 10 times more music to be stored on a single CD.

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