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Ford, Mazda to drive in-car iPod integration uptake

General Motors too

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Ford today pledged to listening to what its customers are listening to and make it easier for motorists to hook up an MP3 player to their car stereos. Top of list of new features for its 2007 line-up are auxiliary audio input jacks, but the auto maker also promised tighter iPod integration for its higher-end motors.

Cars getting audio sockets in their dashboards include the Ford Edge, Explorer, Expedition, Mustang, Fusion, Sport Trac, Ranger, F-150, Mercury Milan, Mountaineer, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln MKZ, Navigator and Lincoln Mark LT. The inputs provide an easy way to connect a music player to the vehicle's hi-fi.

Of course, there's nothing new here from a technological standpoint, but it means most new Fords will have the DAP-friendly cabling next year.

Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers will also get to offer TripTunes, an optional extra that fits an iPod dock connector into the vehicle's glovebox, which not only keeps the player charged while routing audio to the stereo, but also allows the Apple gadget to be controlled using the in-car audio rig's buttons and knobs.

Ford's announcement was followed by similar schemes from General Motors and Mazda. Together will already announced plans from BMW, Acura, Honda, Dodge, Jeep, Infiniti and a host of other car makers operating in the US market, 70 per cent of all the 2007-model autos offered in the US will feature iPod integration, Apple claimed.

Beyond the States, the Mazda programme will see iPod support added to all of its new-year global car and SUV lines. ®

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