DETROIT -- The Big 3 US automakers will add rollover protection to 2.5 million vehicles annually in the next two years, creating a windfall for some suppliers.
Likely winners are Continental Teves, Robert Bosch, Delphi and TRW Automotive.
For years, suppliers such as Germany's Continental Teves and Robert Bosch have tried to convince automakers, consumers and safety regulators in the US that stability control systems should be standard.
SUVs are more prone to rollover accidents than passenger cars.
Last year, Continental joined with Bosch to form the Electronic Stability Control Coalition, which touts the benefits of stability control.
The Chrysler group plans to make anti-rollover technology standard on all its SUVs sold in the US by 2006. General Motors is making stability control standard on 1.3 million 2005 model SUVs.
Ford will make its rollover protection system standard on the 2005 Ford Explorer, Lincoln Navigator and Aviator, Mercury Mountaineer and Volvo XC90. That will account for 500,000 new vehicles in 2005.
What sparked the change? Competition, possible litigation costs and the potential to save 10,000 lives annually in the US alone, says one supplier.
North American automakers did not want to add the technology until they were sure of the benefits, says William Kozyra, CEO of Continental Teves, North American region.
"Continental had the benefit of studies done in Europe and Japan to know that the effectiveness of the technology was quite significant," Kozyra says.
In the US, stability control gained respect after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released studies that concluded it saved lives.
It will cost automakers about E75 per vehicle to add rollover protection, says Bill Rinna, manager of North American component forecasts for CSM Worldwide in Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA. Once production volume increases, he says costs will decline.