• Mar 6th 2008 at 4:31PM
  • 29
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]



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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Another excuse not to teach real driving skills. Don't worry the car will save you from your lack of driving skills.

      2007: 42,642 deaths that's with all the already government mandated safety requirements along with the supposed safety of large vehicles and invincible all wheel drive. Thats about the same number as 2005.

      How did we ever live long enough to post on Autoblog without safety equipment?

      As to not costing anything, it all costs something base price may go up but it's "standard" and it all adds complexity and weight even if ounces.

      I wish the government would stop "helping me".
        • 7 Years Ago

        Don't totally disagree, but you know, I'd like to decide what I'd like on my vehicles, personally I dislike ESP, ABS and air bags.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Maybe this article can shed some light...

        "In 2006, 42,642 people died in traffic crashes, a drop of 868 deaths compared to 2005. This 2 percent decline contributed to the historic low fatality rate of 1.42 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, Peters said."
        • 7 Years Ago
        Personally, I think that it is because of added safety features that the overall death tally year on year in the US has remained fairly static recently (a good thing)- the miles driven per driver, as well as number of drivers on the road, continues to increase, and IIRC, fairly dramatically over the past 10 years here in the US.

        You can't just look at one number (total deaths count) and draw a conclusion, IMHO, without also considering other factors.

      • 7 Years Ago
      This is going to save a lot of lives. Seatbelts save the most lives and ESC saves the second most. I don't know why all companies have to provide it! B/C when you have ESC you also must have ABS.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In Germany ESP is standart since a long time at all VW models..
      72% off all new registered cars in Germany have ESP standart(1/2007).
      Only 15.4% of the cars offered in Germany are not avaible with ESP, funny that nearly all of that cars without ESP come from asia.
      13.4% of all car models offered in Germany have ESP as option, the rest of the models offered in Germany comes standart with ESP.

      To the VW hater... VW sold 2007 1.16million Golf/Jetta(+6.5% compared to 2006)... it is realy amazing that the Golf/Jetta is together with the Toyota Corolla/Auris the most build car in the world and it always find consumer all around the world willing to pay for it.

      Volkswagen is on the way to throw Ford from the 3th place of the largest car producer in the world... in 2007 Volkswagen sold 6.182million cars and made with over $9,000,000,000 the highest win in Volkswagen history... 6million vehicles is the same number Ford sold in 2006 (cars + trucks!)...
      2008 Volkswagen leaves Ford behind on 4th place, thats for sure, currently Volkswagen is doing extremly well in sales and production...
      • 7 Years Ago
      It seems as if the perception that VWs are unreliable is an exclusively US thing. Practically everywhere else they're considered well-built, well-engineered, durable and reliable cars. In the 2007 JD Powers reliability survey (UK), VAG vehicles came in 2nd, 7th, 13th, and 20th. Skoda beat Toyota, Audi beat BMW, Volkswagen beat Nissan, Subaru, and Ford, and Seat beat Chevrolet and Chrysler.

      Currently in the US, all VWs except for the Rabbit and Beetle come with ESP standard. Someone mentioned Ford as taking a leadership role, but you can't even get stability control, not even as options, on the 2008 Focus, Fusion, F-150, Mustang, and more.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In addition to applying brakes, it can also cut the fuel to the engine, and in my particular VW, it's in no damn hurry to bring the fuel-supply back on.
      • 7 Years Ago
      my 07 GTI has been more reliable then my 06 xB was. after 20k miles the xB had 2 MAFs, a AC Control unit, two factory 7in LCD screens and a passenger side window switched replaced and was on its 2nd windshield (which was chipped after just 1500 miles). My GTI has been flawless in 15k miles.
        • 7 Years Ago
        i would also like to say that the Toyota dealership experience flat out sucks. they think there cars are perfect and any problems are "Driver Error". it took many trips to get anything fixed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I applaud VW for its decision. I am the beneficiary of this technology and can attest to its positive contribution to personal safety. Currently, I happen to be the owner of a BMW, Ford and Volkswagen. I'd like to chime in on reliability and satisfaction. While the BMW ('04 325it) is a new arrival, this is my second recent model Ford ('05 F-350) and second recent-model VW ('03 Golf TDI). The Ford has had too many warranty claims to call it "reliable". The same for the Volkswagen (the jury isn't in on the BMW because it's so new to me). Without being too wordy, I'll sum up my experiences: The first Golf, an '01 1.8T, had repetitive failures in the ABS wheelspin sensors, which is directly relevant to the ESP discussion. The '03 Golf TDI has had repetitive glow plug failures. Both of these issues would have been in the $200 range if I had no warranty. The first Ford, an '00 F-350 Diesel, had reptitive ECU failures, which would have set me back several thousand dollars (I did get stranded though). The current Ford has had numerous emission sensor failures and several resulting trips to the dealer. The BMW has been flawless. Nevertheless, despite the reliability issues (which virtually every marque out there has some), I am happy to say that I have still found the ownership experiences with both the Fords and Volkswagens to be rewarding. That's the bottom line for me. Part of this satisfaction, especially with the VWs, leads from the benefits of having ESP.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Regarding the presence of ESP as standard, as well as any "mandatory" safety feature, there are many, many unspoken people who have had life-saving experiences. But I would also like to chime in on the dealer issue. My perception is that no one marque has consistently good or consistently bad dealer service. It depends on the dealer in general, and it depends on the staff at the dealer. I've had fantastic Ford dealers (kudos to the dealer off I-80 in Omaha), and I've had terrible Ford dealers (no names mentioned). Same with VW, I've had both good and bad. In fact, our local California VW dealer was both. It has gone from "the absolute worst, most abysmal" service anyone could ever offer, to being superbly helpful and satisfying. This was over the course of four weeks (they fired everybody bad and hired one new guy...a savior indeed). Dealing with a seemingly minor warranty issue on a brake switch issue with an upstate NY VW dealer, I was extremely surprised when they said that a computer code told them the catalyst was defective. They replaced it without me ever mentioning it to them. While I've had some dissatisfying service issues at that dealership, this is an above-and-beyond example that I applaud. The point of all this goes back to the third sentence of this post: it depends on the dealer, and it depends on the staff. Same goes for the BMW, I've had them go both ways (good and bad).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Don't listen to the VW haters. This is a great idea, every car maker should do the same.

      Like I posted the other day, you can't put a 5 yr. 60k warranty on a car that needs constant repairs. VW/Audi would go out of business. The haters need to vent, they do not have a lot of facts to back up their complaints though.
        • 7 Years Ago
        VW gets around this by having, up until recently, a combination of a short warranty and one of the worst reputations for denying and/or stonewalling warranty work.

        One of the reasons Ford has improved in reliability perceptions (and why Saturn has generally done well in surveys) is that they're by far the best of the domestics in honouring warranty claims, both in how they treat the customer and how they treat dealers. VW has not learned this--if you're going to screw dealers and stonewall customers, your product better be reliable.

        It's not like they're truly awful cars--they're really excellent--it's that they're also glitchy, especially towards they end of their coverage. Outside of the notoriously sycophantic German press, this is backed up time and again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Intrusive non-defeat ESC ala Toyota can really take a lot of the fun out of driving irresponsibly.

      The other 99% of the time it's an unqualified good thing. Some insurance companies will even give you a discount.

      That said, adding even more gadgets to a car with a history of awful reliability isn't going to get me down to their showroom any time soon.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ESC or ESP (as VW calls it) saved my butt twice yesterday on black ice up here in Central NY - in my 2006 Jetta TDI.

      VW was an early adopter of this tech in its least expensive models - which makes me more likely to forgive reliability bugaboos ...which are not unique to VWs by any means.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ESP saved my butt and my Audi yesterday too - in frozen Canada. I lost control completely in snow, and without ESP bringing the car back into line, I would have been in the ditch for sure.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Great, just added more items to an already long list that will cause headaches to an already pricey-to-maintain vw.
        • 7 Years Ago
        My point is, having owned a half dozen new models the last few years, and been through recalls, I don't recall any large scale recalls for ESC. coil packs? sure, done fixed, no recalls on the MKVs. Brake switches? sure, done fixed, no recalls on the MKVs. But ESC? Not familiar with any. Though I've only owned them the last decade so maybe there was a wholly relevant ESC issue pre 1998 that very easily translates to current platforms today?
        • 7 Years Ago
        This isn't going to cost jack, the rabbit has it standard for f* sakes. (x2 to XJ)
        • 7 Years Ago
        "This isn't going to cost jack, the rabbit has it standard for f* sakes."

        As the proud new owner of an '08 Rabbit - it doesn't. It comes with ASR, an anti-skid system that keeps the front tires in check. ESP is an option ($400) that should be opted for. However, in my attempt to get one, the only ones available had non-removable $200 rubber mats, $300 iPod adapters, etc.

        I ended up going without (and got $900 under MSRP!). ASR should be good for me. Too bad they didn't announce this last night before I bought though :P.
        • 7 Years Ago
        This is not a surprise really. VWs generally have a higher level of equipment than competing brands, and for years even the lowliest VW generally has better quality interior materials than even some other luxury brands. I have been very pleased with all my VWs in the past 10 years and so have family and friends who own them. ESC should be on all cars. It is only bad planning and cheapness that you can't even get it optionally on so many vehicles.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ESC is a relatively inexpensive saftey feature to add to a vehicle. Unfortunatley, when ESC is optional you sometimes need to buy an options package that could cost several thousands. Making it standard will eliminate this.

        And added weight is minimal. Also, many manufacturers give the driver the ability to turn if off with a push of a button so you can have it both ways.

        I think the benefits of making ESC standard far outweigh the costs.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sam I think you are confusing this article with a Ford or BMW. Vw has great reliability and you are simply spouting off typical auto envy rhetoric. I know many many people who own - have owned and always will own VW's and have very few if any probs with their vehicles. Yes all car companies have issues but none are extreme at this point in the game. Sorry you are so vw angry but who cares move on!
        • 7 Years Ago
        This thread is old and I should just let it die off, but it drives me bonkers that there can't be a single VW article w/o the first comment being...blah blah poor reliability blah.

        I actually own a 2007 Jetta and took Sam's advice to check with carsurvey.org. My "shocking" discovery? These are the 7 actual subject lines for reviews on the 2007:

        Four out of five stars - It's a very likeable car
        I love the car
        Quick, responsive and hot looks
        Very well built, although previous year reviews has me very worried
        Economical and fun to drive!
        I'm going to miss her- but excited for my new one!
        A great combination of performance and economy
        Awesome Deal!
        The car does everything well a great value!
        The original is better

        I know that IN THE PAST there were problems, but please, people! Can't we move on?!

        Didn't C&D even award the Jetta something like most desirable used car? And highest resale value? If they're falling apart left and right I'd think they'd depreciate quicker and be harder to resell.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Bruno...I'm not disputing the benefits of this technology, I'm only questioning that in a vw, how long will it work, how often will it fail, and how expensive will it be to fix. Go to carsurvey.org and read through some of the actual experiences of vw owners...I do this every time I get the urge to pick up a used vw, and every time I go through this exercise, I get cold feet after reading owner's comments. I love the cars, but would only truly feel comfortable buying a new one with a warranty. As well, would only ever buy a TDI, as the standard 2.5 is nothing special in terms of power and efficiency.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh, if your point was that VW was unreliable, then my bad. I just think having ESC standard on all vehicles is a no-brainer.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I know something else that causes headaches. Your head hitting concrete and steel as you spin into a lamp post after another guy cut you off and forced you to drop a tire off the road and you overcorrected.

        You can watch the videos of it in action on the web. Professional test drivers from Saab, BMW, etc could not keep cars on the course in some slick conditions where ESC kept them going in reasonable control. So I doubt a typical driver could either.

        I'm anti complexity myself, but in this case it's well worth it.

      • 7 Years Ago
      actually VW has less reliability than Fords etc. In fact it's near the bottom of the list.

      According to JD Power and Associates, check it out for yourself
      (google jd power)
      [All of this matters if you listen to JD power]
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