Ford's decision to drop CD changers from next year and to then phase out single-slot CD players spells the beginning of the end of the track for another vehicular entertainment system. The rest of the industry will surely follow in this MP3-obsessed world where playing CDs in a vehicle has as much appeal as an eight-track tape. Back when I started writing about 4WDs in the early 1990s, CD players/changers and off-loading were largely incompatible. The bumps on the earthly tracks caused the digital tracks to jump and skip and make horrible noises. But it wasn't long before the engineers had it under control and you would race along a badly rutted track without losing a beat.
I quite liked CDs for off-road entertainment. Four-wheel-driving is not all adrenalin-pumping action and it was nice, in the boring bits, to have something to listen to when even National Radio's signal faded into the static. Having been caught out once or twice, I always made copies of my CDs, so if they got scratched, dropped into the water or whatever, it didn't matter. Even when an early Kia Sportage swallowed one and refused to give it back. Guess it's time to give up my standing as one of the last 10 people in New Zealand without an MP3 device. I wonder what they'll fit into the space freed up by deleting the CD changer/player mechanisms?