DETROIT – General Motors announced last week that two proven life-saving safety technologies, OnStar and electronic stability control, will become standard features for retail customers in the United States and Canada, covering all segments and prices except for some commercial vehicles.
The fast-track expansion of OnStar-equipped vehicles begins this year and will be completed in 2007. The first year of OnStar safety and security service is included on all OnStar-equipped vehicles.
Electronic stability control, sold as StabiliTrak, is standard on many GM full-size SUVs and will expand to mid-size SUVs this year. Remaining GM SUVs and vans will have StabiliTrak standard by the end of 2007. It will be standard on all GM cars and trucks sold to retail customers by the end of 2010. As enablers of electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and traction control will become standard as well
“These moves are consistent with GM’s continuing effort to strengthen its brands, build on our history of innovation and leverage our global capabilities,” GM North America President Gary Cowger told GM dealers at the recent National Automobile Dealers Association convention.
“Only GM offers a full range of cars, trucks and SUVs that provide safety protection before, during and, thanks to OnStar, after a crash,” he said.
OnStar, currently available on more than 50 GM models, is recognized as the automotive industry benchmark for safety, security, and information services and has been credited with helping to save scores of lives. OnStar features include alerting emergency services when airbags deploy, assisting authorities in locating stolen vehicles and remotely unlocking doors when keys are left inside.
StabiliTrak helps a driver maintain vehicle control during challenging or unexpected driving conditions, such as ice, snow, wet pavement, and emergency lane changes or avoidance maneuvers. It is credited in several independent studies with dramatically decreasing the number of single-vehicle crashes, especially those resulting from a loss of control.
“Except for the growing use of safety belts, we have rarely seen a technology that brings such a positive safety benefit as electronic stability control,” Cowger said. “Offering OnStar and StabiliTrak standard is another way to provide our customers an impressive combination of value, safety and peace of mind.”
Recent studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) both indicated that the widespread application of electronic stability control could result in a significant safety benefit.
“Electronic stability control is a technology with significant safety potential," said Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). "We at NHTSA commend General Motors for this progressive action to improve the safety of its customers."
Based on stability systems now in use, NHTSA’s study reported a 67-percent risk reduction in single-vehicle crashes for SUVs. The IIHS said as many as 800,000 of the 2 million single-vehicle crashes that occur each year could be avoided if stability control was standard on all vehicles sold in the United States.
GM began offering OnStar services and StabiliTrak in 1997 and has more than 3 million OnStar subscribers and 2 million ESC-equipped vehicles on the road.
General Motors Corp., the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 324,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks globally, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company’s history. GM’s global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com