It may look like marketing hype, but the race between General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to make stability control more widely available will end up saving lives.
Last week, Ford Motor showcased its anti-rollover technology by allowing journalists to drive trucks with refrigerators strapped to the roof. The same day, General Motors struck back with a press release announcing plans to make stability control standard on most mid-sized and large SUVs.
Never mind the hype - the consumer will end up the winner.
Electronic stability control automatically applies brake pressure to help drivers keep control of their vehicles in emergencies. Studies suggest the device cuts the risk of deadly crashes by a third.
Yet the technology is standard on only 20 percent of 2005 models and is an often-costly option on another 20 percent. If the heat of competition encourages automakers to make stability control more widely available, everyone wins.