- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2005

NEW ORLEANS — General Motors Corp. plans to put two safety features — OnStar in-vehicle communications service and electronic stability control — in all vehicles by the end of 2010, the company says.

GM believes it would be the first automaker to make both features standard across its entire fleet, a spokesman said.

The world’s largest automaker said OnStar will be included on all vehicles in 2007. Stability control will be standard on all GM sport utility vehicles and vans before 2008 and on all GM vehicles before 2011. GM North America President Gary Cowger says the technology “is another way to provide our customers an impressive combination of value, safety and peace of mind.”

“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,” Mr. Cowger said. He declined to discuss the cost of adding the safety equipment or how it will affect a vehicle’s price tag.

The first year of OnStar service will be free. After that, owners will have to pay $199 for a year or $16.95 a month to maintain the service. OnStar officials said the retention rate is 60 percent after the first year. OnStar alerts emergency services when air bags deploy or the sides of the vehicle are hit in a moderate to severe crash.

About 3 million GM owners now have OnStar, which was first offered in 1997.

Electronic stability control systems first appeared in Europe in 1995 and are now standard on some luxury brands.

Several recent studies have indicated the systems help drivers avoid accidents.

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