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Side impact design

Brett, you hit the nail right in the head.  Americans and Japanese tend to
design cars fom the outside in.  They come up with stylish clay models and
then go about quickly designing the structure any way it will fit the form. 
Needless to say, function doesn't always follow form too well.  But as long as
it passes US federal standards, it's 'good enough' right? ;-)

Euro manufacturers OTOH (Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Saab, etc. etc.) design
their cars to survive real world hi-speed crashes.  And of course they meet US
federal standadrs - The big three spend a lot of money insuring the standards
remain low.  A quick trip to any junk yard will confirm this.  The japanese
are begining to slowly change their mindset about U.S. safety standards (as
evidenced in the tests by the Tercell), but unfortunatelly GM refuses to
accept that cars crash in real public roads and most of the time it's not a
square hit against a wall.

BTW, Brett, did you see an offset-front test of small and mid-size pick-up
trucks not too long ago?  I feel sorry for those who feel safe in them.  Turns
out that the front structure of the truck is so stiff that the crumple zone is
actually the cabin!!  Particularly bad was the Chevy model, where the cabin
folded in like an accordion about a foot (not to mention steering wheels
rocketing off towards the driver's face!)  Coincidently, the 'best' performer
was a Toyota Tacoma - and was only awarded a rating of good - not a single
model was rated excellent.

Luis Marques
'87 4kcsq

Brett Dikeman <quattro@arthur.malebolge.com> wrote:

<<< PS:Anyone see the side impact testing results?  They _rated_ the cars
instead of pass/fail; guess who objected the most to the new kind of test
during the hearings for funding the new tests?  GM.  Guess which car did the
worst(the agency got funding and did the tests)?

The GM-made cavalier and sunfire(same body.)  Guess which did the best?
Japanese made Tercell.  Yet the Tercell weighs significatly less than the
cavalier; obvious proof that superior engineering does win out.

What's sad is all the cars passed, even the Cavalier, in which it was
estimated that "severe trauma and injury, with likely death" was the
outcome of the driver/passenger side collision test. >>>