x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The Air Bag: Good design and safety on roads top of Christmas wish list

Motoring's editor writes his Christmas letter to Santa Claus, wishing for a better year for the industry. Oh, and a few concept cars to be put into production.

Yes, Santa, I know, it's a little late to send you a Christmas wish list now, seeing as you've probably packed your sleigh already and are just sitting down for your pre-flight cocoa with the elves. But I've got a few wishes that I wouldn't mind you working on in the next year or two, if you can. And I hope you can overlook my speeding fines and general hooliganism on the roads this past year; being bad is such a relative term, don't you think?

First of all, Santa, remember all those employees that worked for Saab? They're likely to be out of a job now that the Swedish car maker has filed for bankruptcy. What was once one of the quirkiest and most innovative manufacturers in the world has slid down into oblivion, and it's not the workers' fault; they have nothing to be ashamed of and could use a little help out there. I have a feeling it won't be a very nice Christmas for them, even with all their snow.

And can you help the rest of the car companies? I don't mean bailing them out - that's the job of various governments around the world - so don't worry, that's taken care of. No, I mean with their cars. Some of them need a little of that Christmas magic in the design department. These days, the quality and the drive of most cars is so close that the thing that makes them special is their look, and some of them really don't have it. Some do, and I want to thank the designers of Jaguar, Kia, Audi, Ferrari and a few other companies for making spirits bright; maybe they deserve a little extra in their stocking this year. And considering a few of the hideous offerings from the past 12 months, I'd keep a few lumps of coal handy, too.

While you're at it, you might even want to have them build a few of those wild, outlandish concept cars that appear at all the shows. Wouldn't it be nice to see a Cadillac Ciel on the Corniche or the Land Rover DC100 climbing over a dune in the desert? I'm glad to say a few of them will eventually be built, such as the Alfa Romeo 4C and the Jaguar C-X16 sport coupés; it would be a Christmas gift to finally get behind the wheel of one of those. I'm counting on you, Santa.

But it would be a real gift if you can do something about safety on our roads here in the UAE. Santa, there are just too many people being injured and killed in cars, and needlessly, too. At this special time of the year - and whatever time may be special to our readers - drivers careless enough to be texting behind the wheel or not having their kids buckle up will think twice about the possible consequences of their actions and how devastated families would be to lose a loved one. The best gift of all, Santa, is to have everyone enjoy a safe holiday spent with families and loved ones.

And finally, Santa, I have just one wish for myself, being as selfless as I am. You wouldn't happen to have an extra flying sleigh sitting around your workshop, would you? It would make my daily commute so much easier. I'll leave some extra cookies under the tree, just in case.