A side impact study carried out on a particular vehicle has been described and used as a case study to represent a methodology for incorporating side crashworthiness in a new vehicle concept design. In the automotive design environment, it has proved difficult to include side crashworthiness satisfactorily in the initial stages of the passenger car design. Lack of vehicle data at such a stage does not allow detailed finite element analysis. It is, however, possible to suggest the required collapse properties for individual components within the structure so that, through a coarse finite element idealization, a design for crashworthiness can be carried out. The crash properties of the structure can be arrived at by parametric studies of individual components that are absorbing the major portion of the crash energy.This paper describes a methodology that, as a tool, can be used at the start of a vehicle program enabling the side impact performance to be monitored continuously and thus the structure to be designed in the most efficient way for a specified level of side crashworthiness. This has major advantages over current methods where a late finite element analysis or a late crash test is the first indication of how well a vehicle meets a specified standard and, if unsatisfactory, the necessary structural modifications are normally costly and result in inefficiencies in design and manufacturing processing.