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The Economics of Auto Safety

Early-production Citroen with hydropneumatic suspension. The DS was launched in 1955, and continued for 20 years.

The 1950s and ‘60s were defining decades in the evolution of automotive safety in the United States. Prior to the ‘50s, little thought was given by the industry to passively protecting passengers in the event of a crash. But despite resistance from the American auto industry, safety eventually won out, by popular demand of the U.S. consumer.

Some auto manufacturers’ names evoke a visceral sense of safety. SAAB, Volvo, Citroën, Mercedes, Rover and others devoted much of their energies to designing and building cars that were both inherently safe and crash-worthy…


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