The Last Tape Deck Rolls Out In A Lexus

It seems the cassette deck, or tape deck as they are sometimes referred too, is a thing of past, as the last car to feature one rolled off the line.

A once classic part of every vehicle, the tape deck, is on its last legs. According to the New York Times, the last new car to be equipped with a cassette player was a 2010 Lexus and now, for the 2011 model year, the cassette deck is dead.

“Lexus was the last holdout,” said Phil Magney, vice president for automotive research for the IHS iSuppli Corporation, a firm that does technology industry analysis. “We actually stopped tracking cassette players in cars some time ago. Now the question the automakers are asking is, how long has the CD got to go?”

It’s honestly hard to believe that the tape deck has been around as long as it has, as even the CD has been trampled on by the iPod and now, Internet radio applications, such as Pandora, are taking the glory away from Apple. Three generations of musical equipment have come to take all the glory and the tape deck has withstood them all, until now.

For more than two decades, the cassette deck was king. It offered up quality sound that was a massive improvement over the eight-track tape and it just so happened to work perfectly in cars.

Then came the compact disc, a thin circular object that was able to give out quality sound, the ability to skip certain songs and longevity that the cassette could only dream of. This media form became standard equipment in most vehicles.

Many analysts believe that CD will eventually go the way of the cassette and it probably will down the road, but for now, the CD lives on in each and every vehicle produced, unless of course its bargain basement, then only a radio is offered.

Don’t worry though, as aftermarket cassette decks are still on the market and buying one and having it installed shouldn’t cost that much. One can even install the deck themselves if they feel up to it. Want to listen to some Led Zeppelin on an old cassette deck but don’t own a car that complies, head over to Best Buy and numerous other automotive audio websites to find the right system for you.

So, if cassettes are still in your heart and you’re in the market for a new car, the 2010 Lexus SC430 is the only choice, although it’s not recommended that you buy one.

[New York Times, antonfortunato]

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