The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, non-profit, research and communications organization in the US that primarily conducts crash tests and accesses vehicle safety.
Recently they have adopted a new crash test system where the 2012 Audi A4, 2012 Lexus ES, 2012 Lexus IS, and 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class were rated "poor". The new test is designed to simulate the effects of hitting a tree or pole at 64km/h, which only impacts a quarter of the car's front end near the A-pillar area. These collisions are dangerous, and mostly miss the crash structures built into the car's frame.
"These are severe crashes, and our new test reflects that," said IIHS President Adrian Lund in a statement. "Most automakers design their vehicles to ace our moderate overlap frontal test and NHTSA's full-width frontal test, but the problem of small overlap crashes hasn't been addressed. We hope our new rating program will change that."
Volvo, a brand known for safety was given a "good" rating for its S60, with the Acura TL and Infiniti G sedan coming close.
While this might not affect us directly, automakers by large try to accommodate the various stringent test standards, because honestly, who would want to buy a car that is as fragile as a sponge cake?
Here's a video that explains the new test standards: