DEARBORN, Aug. 14, 2006 -- Ford Motor Company is responding to consumers' desire for increased vehicle safety by adding more standard safety features to its 2007 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineups.

The company has made side air curtains or its advanced Safety Canopy system with rollover sensor standard equipment on 14 vehicles for the 2007 model year, including the all-new Ford Edge, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.

"Making families even safer is the goal of our pledge to drive innovation in safety technology," said Cisco Codina, Ford group vice president, North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "That commitment and the customer focus at the heart of the Way Forward plan led us to accelerate our plans to make side airbags standard."

As part of its straightforward pricing strategy, Ford is adding the safety content while adjusting the manufacturer's suggest retail price of the vehicles to help improve resale values.

According to Ford research, safety features is one of the most important purchase considerations among consumers, right behind quality and value. The percent of customers who say safety is extremely important grew from 51 percent in 2005 to 54 percent in 2006, according to the company.

Ford's Safety Canopy air curtain system was key to the 2006 Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego earning the IIHS highest "Top Safety-Gold" rating after achieving the highest ratings in rear, frontal offset and side-impact crash protection.

The 2007 Ford Expedition offers some of the company's most advanced safety features as standard equipment, including seat-mounted front side air bags and a three-row Safety CanopyTM rollover detection system. Ford's exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control) also is standard on both Expedition and Expedition EL. The system is so advanced that Ford has 82 active patents and 197 pending patents.

"Expedition's confident handling paired with standard class-exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC® actively helps drivers prevent accidents from occurring. Should an accident occur, Expedition features a comprehensive package of passive safety features to help enhance safety protection," says Stephen Kozak, Ford safety chief engineer.

The 2000 Expedition was the first full-size SUV to earn five-star front safety NCAP ratings for the driver and passenger from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a recognition it has maintained every year since 2000.