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BUSINESS DIGEST: Ford minivan has hands-free liftgate

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ford minivan has hands-free liftgate

WAYNE, Mich.

Ford Motor Co.’s new C-Max small minivan will have an exclusive feature when it goes on sale in the U.S. next fall: A hands-free liftgate.

The C-Max liftgate opens with the wave of a foot under the back of the minivan. The van will open only for the person who’s holding its key. Ford says the U.S. version of the C-Max will be the first vehicle on the market with this technology.

The C-Max marks Ford’s return to the U.S. minivan market five years after it stopped selling its last minivan, the Freestar. The C-Max has been on sale in Europe since 2003, although a seven-seat version wasn’t sold there until this year.

Chavez to take over 2 Venezuelan firms

CARACAS, Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez on Sunday ordered the expropriation of two Venezuelan companies that produce construction materials.

Appearing on his weekly television and radio program, Chavez signed decrees for the “forced acquisition” of Sanitarios Maracay and Aluminio de Venezuela, or Alven.

Chavez said both companies had been paralyzed, and the government will now use them to boost production of materials from aluminum sheeting to bathroom supplies.

Associated Press