The Chrysler group said Thursday that it will make a safety system that helps prevent rollovers standard equipment on its SUVs, beginning next year.
The stability control system, which Chrysler calls Electronic Stability Program, or ESP, is available on only four models now - the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, Chrysler Crossfire and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The application on the Grand Cherokee adds a tilt sensor to activate the system when it senses a potential rollover.
Chrysler plans to make the system standard on all its SUVs in 2006. It will start adding the system to late next year to the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Durango.
The move follows rivals Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, which have committed to making stability control systems standard on their SUVs and full-sized vans over the next two years.
Adding a stability control system does not require major re-engineering because it typically uses components already in place, such as the anti-lock brake and traction control systems.
Rollover protection detects when a vehicle is about to tip over and applies the brake to one or more wheels while at the same time cutting power from the engine.
Chrysler officials would not say how much the cost of adding the system will add to sticker prices. But a Chrysler group engineer said that on previous vehicles, to recover costs for development, testing and validation and parts, the price to consumers has been about $500 to $600.