Ford Motor Co. says it will make electronic stability control standard on all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury retail cars and trucks by the end of 2009.

Ford currently has more than 4 million vehicles equipped with ESC on the road globally, the auto maker says. More than 1 million feature Ford’s AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, a patented system that utilizes two gyroscopic sensors to actively measure and help control yaw and roll movements.

Ford’s first application of the technology debuted in the ’00 model year.

The announcement is part of Ford’s ongoing strategy to install more safety standard features in its vehicles.

“This is an acceleration of our plans to standardize safety features and is in line with our goal to be America’s car company,” says Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, product development-The Americas.

“That commitment and an intense customer focus at the heart of the Way Forward plan led us to accelerate our plans to standardize electronic stability control systems.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. on Sept. 14 is expected to comment on a proposal to require ESC on vehicles sold in the U.S. However, no timetable has been announced for an implementation of the requirement.

Ford says it does not know when the NHTSA regulation will take effect, but a spokesman says, “We anticipate being ahead of any federal regulations.”

A recent study conducted by NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds ESC systems can reduce single-vehicle crashes by more than 40% and fatal accidents by 56%, Ford says.