Spinning out in a new Volkswagen will become a lot harder later this year. Starting with its 2009 models sold in the U.S., Volkswagen will be adding electronic stability control as a standard feature. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has previously decreed that all vehicles have to be equipped with stability control from 2012 onwards, but VW is getting there early. That makes the German automaker the first non-luxury brand to meet the new standard.

Electronic stability control, or Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) as VW prefers to call it, takes the hardware used for anti-lock brakes and traction control and adds steering angle, yaw rate and acceleration sensors. The sensors detect the difference between where the driver is requesting the car to go and where it's actually headed and applies the brakes selectively to individual wheels to get the car following the driver's intended path. Stability control has already been optional or standard on all VWs for several years. If NHTSA estimates are to be believed (and when haven't they?), standard stability control could save 10,000 lives a year.

[Source: Volkswagen]


PRESS RELEASE

VOLKSWAGEN INSTALLS ELECTRONIC STABILIZATION PROGRAM ACROSS THE LINE IN 2009

Volkswagen ahead of industry and the government's deadline

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that its Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) will be standard equipment on every 2009 model year Volkswagen vehicle – passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, and minivans. By offering ESP as a standard feature, Volkswagen is the first non-luxury manufacturer to include an electronic stabilization system at no additional cost on every vehicle it sells – well ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) deadline requiring all 2012 model year vehicles to have such systems.

"Volkswagen has long been a leader in making high technology accessible to all," said Volkswagen of America, Inc. CEO Stefan Jacoby. "ESP has been available on all Volkswagens in the US for several years. Now, making ESP standard across our entire line reinforces Volkswagen's commitment to safety for all our customers, and further shows why we are a market leader in offering some of the safest vehicles on the road today."

NHTSA predicts nearly 10,000 lives could be saved each year if all automakers included electronic stabilization systems as standard equipment.

Volkswagen's ESP system uses a number of electronic vehicle controls to make a safe car even safer and helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle during dynamic driving conditions. The ESP system works in conjunction with the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Anti-slip Regulation (ASR), components of the Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) system, and additional sensors.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, GLI, Passat, Passat wagon, Eos, and Touareg through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at vw.com.