COMMENTS: Smart Cars

The subject of automobiles inspired follow-ups at both ABC and NBC. ABC's Lisa Stark stuck to the theme of accident prevention for A Closer Look. She introduced us to the concept of "active safety"--using sensor and alarm technology to avoid situations where accidents are likely to happen. Researchers are developing gadgets to be embedded in roads, to measure oncoming traffic during left turns, to monitor drifting out of lanes, to check blind spots, and to have the vehicle in front warn when it is about to brake to forestall rear-enders.

NBC had Philip LeBeau from its sibling business channel CNBC investigate the fate of Chrysler Motors, now Daimler wants to spin the division off. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian has made the offer to take it off the Germans' hands for $4.5bn, as long as union workers become his partners. Kerkorian had unsuccessfully sued to block Daimler's takeover in the first place in the late '90s. On ABC, Barbara Pinto looked at the announcement by Ford Motors, a company that posted $13bn in losses in 2006, that it paid out $28m to hire its new boss, Alan Mulally, away from Boeing. Ford management called the deal "consistent with that of other large companies." Meanwhile, Pinto pointed out, "most rank-and-file employees got $500 bonuses."


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