Special Report on the Motor Show (4): A passion for revelry in creature comforts: Martin Derrick picks his way through a glut of in-car accessories for staving off boredom on interminable journeys
Tuesday 20 October 1992
Alfa Romeo was the first manufacturer to offer a CD player as standard on the 164 in the late 1980s. Now, however, it is not enough to offer just the player. Ford, Saab, Jaguar and several other manufacturers are specifying multi-disc systems for their discerning clientele.
For some people, however, it does not seem to matter how sophisticated the 'standard' stereo system is; they demand to be able to choose their own unit. Volkswagen and Audi have therefore got together with Sony to offer a trade-up programme to give that all-important consumer choice.
John Anderson, product manager at Sony UK says: 'It has been assumed that the most expensive hi-fi should be restricted to buyers of the most expensive cars, thus penalising music lovers who purchase lower specification vehicles.
'Although the Golf is fitted with a high-quality Sony radiocassette, the customer can opt for the top-of-the-range CD system. This approach has revolutionised the way car audio is retailed and has now become as important an accessory as sunroofs.'
But the world of hi-fi in and out of cars is changing. Philips is launching its Digital Compact Cassette system at the Motor Show while Sony is coming in later this year with its rival, the recordable Mini-Disc.
Bosch, maker of Blaupunkt, has devised an in-car system that remembers traffic information so that you know which routes to avoid before you start your journey. The Blaupunkt Stockholm stores information about traffic jams and will play the data back at the touch of a button.
But customers with money burning a hole in their pockets can buy far more than hi-fis to personalise their cars. Car phones are becoming commonplace and cellular technology is being extended to include the use of car-based fax machines too. Do we need it? The market appears to answer 'yes'.
Car mats remain the UK's biggest-selling accessory, but there is some sense in this. One of the larger suppliers, Vischer Caravelle, says that not only do they improve the look of the car, but they also help to keep up its value by protecting the existing carpets from dirt and damage. Seat covers also remain big sellers.
And as for keeping children quiet on long journeys, of course the hand-held Nintendo Gameboy has become a godsend for parents.
Casio is also marketing a range of portable colour televisions designed for plugging into the cigarette-lighter socket, which are and supplied with a built-in aerial and earphone option. Prices start at pounds 99.99, which Casio reckons is little enough to pay for 'a peaceful, relaxing and squabble-free journey'. What next? In-car video recorders?
Life & Style blogs
Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
Victoria Beckham's clothing sales double to £30 million in one year
'Tis the season!: Google celebrates Christmas Eve with second animated Doodle
Christmas 2014: Jesus was not born in a stable, says theologian
UK's first plus-size fashion magazine Slink hits the shelves: 'Style doesn't stop at size 8'
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...