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Hereís one more thing to consider as you shop for your next car: Does it have a CD player? If it does, can the driver reach it?
Or maybe you donít care. Some automakers believe buyers wonít in a few years, when they expect to drop in-dash CD players completely.
By the end of the five- or six-year production run of most new models introduced this year Ė cars like the Dodge Dart, Cadillac XTS and ATS Ė the standard-equipment, built-in CD player could be as extinct as the eight-track player. (Ask your grandparents.)
Several factors are driving the change. Fewer drivers listen to CDs as phones and iPod-style devices become the music player of choice. Second, space on the dashboard is becoming more precious as automakers add features like the iPad-style touch screen of Cadillacís new CUE system.
Finally, eliminating the CD player is an easy way to save a few bucks and shave several pounds from a vehicleís weight, and lighter weight equals higher fuel economy and lower fuel bills.
Dodge and Cadillac are leading the way. The Dartís CD player rides in a storage compartment under the center armrest. The CTS and XTS put them in the glove box, a considerably less-convenient location.
Executives at many companies figure CD players will soon fade from the list of factory equipment and become a dealer-installed option.
Fordís two all-new 2013 models buck the trend. The Escape and Fusion both have CD players built into their dashboards.