I can't imagine what being a car designer is like these days. We love to reminisce about the wild and gorgeous designs from the sixties and fifties. Don't forget that those old cars are about as safe as skiing down a near vertical slope through a bunch of trees. Today cars are much safer, but all those safety regulations don't leave a ton of room for aesthetics. When was the last time you looked at a 5-star safety rated vehicle and considered that car to look "sexy?"
Plus, as a car gets safer, it doesn't always get lighter. Have you ever held an airbag unit? It is a pretty hefty little piece of equipment. Really safe cars have as many as ten airbags throughout the vehicle. It adds up in the end.
It is difficult to get that balance between performance, safety, and fuel economy. It is something that automakers have been struggling with for years. Recent events do point out that safety isn't something that can be sacrificed.
Take this accident in Utah for example. While the cause of the accident is up for debate, because it was a Toyota Camry that appears to have "unintentionally accelerated," the results are devastating. The driver, a 66 year old man, lost control of the vehicle carrying him, his wife, his son and his son's fiance. The son and wife were injured, while the driver and the son's fiance were killed. Imagine losing both your father and your wife-to-be in a matter of seconds.
It happens too frequently. A couple of people were killed in my hometown this past week due to an accident on an interstate I have traveled along a countless amount of times. Do you ever get into a car and think, "this could be the last time I ever see these people alive." Of course not, unless you are a severely anxious person. It is a risk that you take any time you get into a car. Cars are built to be safe so we don't have to worry about life and death each time we buckle up.
As much as I love performance, I would never trade it for the lives of the people closest to me.