A factory in-dash MP3 player

— 12:00 AM on July 9, 2001

I mentioned last week that I'd like to see factory car stereos play MP3s like the Aiwa CDC-MP3 and its competitors. Now that aftermarket car audio makers have well and truly answered the call for mobile MP3 audio, the great dilemma is what to do with one's nice Bose (or similar) factory-installed stereo upon buying a new car. Many new cars come with remote stereo controls integrated into the steering wheel, and replacing the factory stereo may render these controls useless. Plus, it's a shame to have to rip out a brand-new factory stereo that would serve just fine if only it played MP3s.

Sharp-eyed TR reader Tom Matches sends word of Mazda's MP3, an entire car dedicated to the proposition of in-dash MP3 audio. The stereo is actually a Kenwood eXcelon system, but it's nice to see the carmakers are paying attention. Sadly, it seems MP3 audio is a gimmick in this case (the car itself ain't no Subaru WRX or Acura RSX, to say the least), but one can hope the idea will spread into the rest of Ford/Mazda's line.

Once the big carmakers include MP3 playback capabilities in their stock stereos, the cat will be out of the bag once and for all.

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