On Jan. 7, 1990, Ford Motor Company announced plans to install supplemental air bags for the driver and front seat passenger as standard equipment on all Ford and Lincoln-Mercury cars sold in North America by the mid-1990s. Ford was the first U.S. auto maker to announce such an objective and achieved it on June 1, 1993. The following July 29, a Ford Taurus built at the Atlanta Assembly Plant became the company’s one millionth vehicle built with dual air bags.
In the 1990 announcement at the Automotive News World Congress, Vice Chairman Harold Poling said that automakers must demonstrate their leadership by responding to safety and environmental challenges in advance of government regulatory deadlines.
Ford’s safety leadership record includes the introduction of the first experimental air bags on the 1971 Mercury Monterey; the first production driver air bag, available on the 1985 Ford Tempo; the inclusion of driver air bags as standard equipment on nine car lines in 1989; and the first fleet-wide, de-powered air bags in 1998.
Side air bags are now available on most Ford products sold in North America. Ford’s comprehensive Personal Safety System is being expanded to include seat-weight sensors to minimize unnecessary air bag deployments. And Ford’s Safety Canopy TM is the industry’s first rollover protection system available on mid-size sport utility vehicles.