GM roundup: New radios will work with music players

General Motors gm said Friday it will offer optional radios with USB ports for personal music players on most of its 2009 models.

The new radios, which will be available by the middle of the model year, will allow customers to play music from iPods or MP3 players while charging many of the devices through a USB port like the ones found on most computers.

On many of the players, including inexpensive ones, customers will be able to browse through the player's library using the radio controls and electronic display.

GM began offering auxiliary input jacks for MP3 players and other audio devices two years ago, but those inputs didn't allow the device to recharge or allow the vehicle's radio to control the music player.

Several other automakers have had USB ports in their vehicles for a year or more, including Ford Motor's f Sync system developed jointly with Microsoft msft.

Pricing of the new GM radios will vary by model. Specific figures were not available.

GM to recall almost 1M vehicles

Separately, GM said it is recalling 944,000 vehicles because of a problem with a windshield wiper fluid system that could lead to a fire.

More than 850,000 sport-utility vehicles, trucks and passenger cars in the United States and nearly 100,000 vehicles in Canada, Mexico and the Middle East are involved in the recall, the company said.

GM said it includes the 2008 Buick Enclave, 2006-2008 Buick Lucerne, 2006-2008 Cadillac DTS, 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalade, 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV, 2007-2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, 2007-2008 Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban, 2007-2008 GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL, 2006-2008 Hummer H2 and 2007-2008 Saturn Outlook.

The recall involves vehicles with a heated washer fluid system. A short circuit in the system could cause electrical features to malfunction, which could lead to an odor, smoke or potentially a fire.

GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey said there have been nine reports of fires and three of them have been linked to the system. There have been no accidents or injuries connected to the defect, she said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation last February into 2007 Yukon and Tahoe vehicles over potential engine compartment fires. In June, the highway safety agency upgraded its investigation into about 2.7 million 2007-2008 GM trucks and SUVs and reported allegations of 41 engine fires.

Dealers will install a wire harness with an in-line fuse to fix the problem free of charge, GM said.

GM offers buyouts

GM also said Friday it has started to offer early retirement packages to selected white-collar workers as part of a plan to cut 15% of its salaried jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

GM spokesman Dan Flores said the offers will be made to workers in areas where the company is seeking to trim its workforce. GM would not release details of the packages, how many workers will get the offers, or what areas the company will target for reductions.

Workers who accept the offers will retire by Nov. 1, Flores said.

GM in July announced its intent to cut its salaried workforce by around 5,100 as part of a larger plan to slash billions of dollars in costs and help the automaker ride out a slump in U.S. sales.

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