General Motors plans to make OnStar and electronic stability control standard in all of its US market vehicles by the end of 2010, the company said on Sunday.

GM believes it would be the first automaker to make both features standard across its entire fleet, a spokesman told the Associated Press (AP).

GM reportedly said OnStar will be included on all vehicles in 2007 while stability control will be standard on all GM sport utility vehicles and vans by the end of 2007 and on all cars and trucks by the end of 2010.

GM made the announcement during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans.

According to AP, GM North America president Gary Cowger said 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," Cowger reportedly said.

Cowger declined to discuss with AP the cost of adding the safety equipment or how it will affect a vehicle's price tag.

According to the report, the first year of OnStar service will be free but, after that, owners will have to pay $US199 for a year or $16.95 a month to maintain the service - OnStar officials said the retention rate is 60% after the first year.

AP noted that OnStar alerts emergency services when air bags deploy or the sides of the vehicle are hit in a moderate to severe crash - around three million GM owners now have OnStar, which was first offered in 1997.

The Associated Press also noted that electronic stability control systems first appeared in Europe in 1995 and are now standard on some luxury brands, including Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Infiniti.

In November, GM and Ford announced they were making the systems standard on most SUVs. Chrysler Group quickly followed, saying it would make stability control standard on all its SUVs by 2006.

Twenty-one percent of 2005 vehicles sold in the United States have the systems and an additional 19% offer them as an option, the Associated Press said, citing the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

AP noted that Several recent studies have indicated the systems help drivers avoid accidents

IIHS, which is funded by insurers, reportedly found stability control could save up to 7,000 lives each year if it were standard equipment on all vehicles while, last September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found stability control reduced one-car crashes by 35% when compared to the same models sold in prior years without the technology. The rate climbed to 67% for SUVs.

Separately, in a statement, IIHS chief operating officer Adrian Lund welcomed GM's move.

"GM's decision to make electronic stability control standard equipment across its product line is a model we hope other automakers will follow," he said.

"If all passenger vehicles had ESC, we would prevent thousands of deaths each year."