Continental AG will supply stability control systems as a standard feature in four different Ford sport utility vehicle models, the company reportedly said.

Starting in 2005, the Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, and both the Lincoln Navigator and Aviator will be equipped with Continental Teves’s AdvanceTrac electronic stability programme (ESP) and Roll Stability Control (RSC), Reuters said, adding that the Ford Expedition will offer both systems as an optional feature.

The news agency said the stability control systems could help put an end to a rash of lawsuits and negative publicity that have troubled the Explorer, the industry’s best-selling SUV.

Early in June, a California jury ordered Ford to pay at least $US122 million in damages to a woman who was left a paraplegic after her Explorer rolled over, Reuters noted, adding that, only days later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the SUV an average score in rollover safety tests despite tipping on two wheels during the test.

Thanks to increasing penetration rates for the safety feature, Continental sold more than 30% more ESP units in the first half of 2004, and the product remains one of its most profitable, Reuters said.

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