Ford, MIT to study driver stress

–(– 01/02/2010 – Auto Manufacturers industry news provided by Financial News USA. Ford Motor Co. and researchers with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are studying ways technology can strengthen the connection between the driver and the vehicle and reduce stress from behind the wheel.

The automaker is working with MIT to develop vehicles with more features that put the driver at ease — sensing a driver’s mood, any distractions or health problems that could hinder safe driving.

Ford said the six-month study will work on ways to reduce driver stress through the use of vehicle technology, focusing on features in the 2010 Lincoln MKS.

MIT researchers said the study is aimed at developing a more aware car — helping the vehicle be more aware of the driving conditions and the state of the driver to fundamentally improve driver safety.

Ford Motor (NYSE: F – News) has decided to begin production of the V-8 engine at its Essex Engine plant in Windsor, Ontario, which was shut down in 2007. The engine will be used in Ford’s 2011 Mustang GT.

According to a contract talk with Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) in October, Ford will employ 200 workers in one shift at the plant to make the V-8. However, Ken Lewenza – president of the CAW – is not happy with the decision.

Lewenza has asked Ford to add more shifts to install the engine in other vehicles as well. With this, the union will be able to recall more workers; about 1,000 Ford workers had been laid off at Windsor . Lewenza has revealed that V-8 engine could be used in Ford’s F-150 pickup truck, one of the best-selling vehicles in North America.

In October, Ford reached a new agreement with CAW members that expires on Sep 17, 2012 and covers about 7,000 Ford workers. [Read the full article]

GMAC Financial Services is close to getting approximately $3.5 billion in additional aid from the U.S. government, on top of $12.5 billion already received since December 2008, according to people familiar with the situation. The announcement, expected within days, will coincide with GMAC taking additional steps to absorb losses related to its mortgage operations, these people said. The cleanup is designed to return the Detroit-based finance company to profitability in the first quarter of 2010, according to one of these people. The willingness by the U.S. Treasury to deepen taxpayer exposure to GMAC reflects the troubled company’s importance to the revival of the auto industry. The company was told to raise additional capital as part of government-led stress tests of large banks conducted earlier this year. The tests were to determine whether firms would need more capital to continue lending if the economy deteriorated in 2009 and 2010. [Read the full article]

The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times both go after rumors the U.S. government will give another $3.5 billion in aid on top of $12.5 billion so far as private investors have failed to step in with financing. GMAC has about $90 billion in loans, including both auto and mortgage loans in its ResCap unit. The Journal’s Dan Fitzpatrick Deborah Solomon write that the deal could come within days, despite the fact that GMAC has said it does not require further financing, according to the authors. Both the Journal and the FT report that the rumored funding is less than was originally expected GMAC would need, as the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies were not as severe as originally feared. [Read the full article] About Financial News USA

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