AUBURN HILLS, Mich. --- Volkswagen of America Inc. announced that its Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) will be standard equipment on every 2009 model-year Volkswagen vehicle --- passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and minivans.

By offering ESP as a standard feature, Volkswagen is well ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) deadline requiring all 2012 model year vehicles to have such systems.

"ESP has been available on all Volkswagens in the U.S. for several years. Now, making ESP standard across our entire line reinforces Volkswagen’s commitment to safety for all our customers, and further shows why we are a market leader in offering some of the safest vehicles on the road today," said Volkswagen of America CEO Stefan Jacoby.

NHTSA predicts nearly 10,000 lives could be saved each year if all automakers included electronic stabilization systems as standard equipment.

Volkswagen's ESP system uses a number of electronic vehicle controls to make a safe car even safer and helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle during dynamic driving conditions. The ESP system works in conjunction with the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Anti-slip Regulation (ASR), components of the Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) system, and additional sensors.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michi. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, GLI, Passat, Passat wagon, Eos, and Touareg through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.