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Apple Deal Calls For iPod Integration In Most Ford, GM Cars

Giving drivers features that let them make the most of their iPods could give Detroit automakers some much-needed pizzazz.

Can the iPod put some pizzazz back in the Detroit auto industry's brands? That's the hope with a deal revealed by Apple today to integrate its iPod music player into most of the new car models manufactured by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.

iPod integration will make it easier for drivers to control their iPods through car stereos to achieve high-quality sound, say the companies. One feature will let drivers use their cars' multifunction control to select their music using artist, album, playlist, or shuffle options.

Ford and General Motors will offer iPod connectivity in the majority of their 2007 U.S. models later this year. General Motors will make it available in all 56 of its models, representing millions of cars and trucks. Japanese automaker Mazda, of which Ford owns a 33.4% stake, will also get the iPod deal; its entire global 2007 lineup of cars and SUVs will come with the feature.

Detroit automakers are making strides with expanding car sales worldwide, but in the United States they're losing ground against foreign competitors, including Toyota and Honda. With the iPod deal, more than 70% of 2007 car models in the United States will come with iPod connectivity, according to Apple.

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