The 2014 Mazda3 (which we must say, although we are not in the automotive reporting business, is the most drop-dead beautiful economy car around) has entered showrooms as the first Mazda model equipped with Clear Channel’s Total Traffic HD Network on the HD Radio platform. Other Mazda cars (CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda5) are equipped with HD Radio. iBiquity is the technology partner for this launch.
The Total Traffic Network is a hybrid digital-broadcast/Internet information network that seeks to deliver real-time traffic information and maps. HD Radio generally provides listeners with more interactivity than traditional lean-back AM/FM, though not the extreme degree of customization afforded by music-discovery platforms like Spotify, Rdio, or Rhapsody — all of which are pushing onto the digital dashboard, inch by inch. Internet radio leader Pandora owns first-mover advantage in the automobile, among Internet pureplays.
This bit of HD Radio news fits into the mad scramble for positioning on digital dashboards, and provides an interesting counterpoint to SiriusXM’s escalated push for in-car listening (see the previous story in today’s newsletter, or click here). According to HDradio.com, HD Radio is distributed by 33 car companies, across 167 models, with Toyota being the most bought-in (16 models). Nearly 30 percent of 2013 car models shipped with HD Radio. HDradio.com claims that in 2014, every American car dealer will have at least one HD-equipped car on the lot.