Automotive engineers use sensitive electronic equipment to inspect automobiles during the design and manufacture of a new car. All of the systems in an automobile, including the engine, brakes, steering and suspension, are carefully checked for quality and safety throughout the production process.
In the early 1960s the Big Three American automakers rolled out compact cars, including the unconventional Chevrolet Corvair, with an air-cooled six-cylinder rear engine. Because of the rear engine placement, the car tended to oversteer, or turn more sharply at higher speeds. In high-speed turns, the rear end tended to lift, and the first prototype flipped over on the test track. More than one million Corvairs had been sold before corrections could be made. American lawyer Ralph Nader publicized the defects of the Corvair and condemned the auto industry in his book Unsafe at Any Speed (1965; revised edition, 1972), though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would later declare the car as safe as other contemporary vehicles. Automakers responded by improving structural safety and adding features such as seat belts, collapsible steering columns, and safety windshields in their cars.