Daily News Briefs: July 26, 2012

Climate

Automotive supplier Harman could debut a system that recognizes hand and facial gestures to control various in-car systems, Wired reports. You can turn on the radio, change the volume or alter cabin temperature by winking, tilting your head or lowering your hand over the gearshift. Harman says infrared sensors watch for predefined expressions but ignore accidental ones. The final product won't hit production for at least two to three years, and we'll believe it when we use it — or, specifically, when we check our blind spots and don't inadvertently crank the stereo.

In other news:

  • Ford profits fell 58% in the second quarter as the company's European operations continue to falter, the Detroit News reports. The automaker posted a $1 billion quarterly profit, but it expects a troubled Europe to cost it $1 billion this year.
  • Volkswagen saw quarterly earnings rise 3.4%, Bloomberg News reports. European auto sales have dropped for the fifth straight year, but increasing demand for VW and its Audi luxury arm in the U.S. and China continues to fuel revenue.
  • Meanwhile, Nissan quarterly profits dropped 19.7% on the strong yen, Reuters reports. Reuters also reports Hyundai profits increased 10% on rising European sales fueled by new products.
  • GM will restructure its product development to enable a single engineer — rather than a team of three — to oversee a car's development, Automotive News reports.
  • Toyota sprang ahead of GM in first-half global sales, the Detroit News reports. GM overtook the Japanese automaker in 2011 as it faced supply shortages from natural disasters in Asia, but Toyota is on pace to retake No. 1 — a position it held from 2008 to 2010.

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