Reduced visibility due to thicker A pillars is due to more stringent crash testing/requirements. 'NCAP tests' in Europe. And a god NCAP rating really does help sell cars. But it also makes them heavier and harder to see out of. The steadily improving motor vehicle injury stats have been coming at the expense of those outside (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists) for some time now. At least in Europe TPTB have finally understood that trying to improve the numbers by simply discouraging those other modes is counter-productive in so many other ways (obesity, congestion, noise, expense and general public realm issues), but rowing back from 50 years of 'the car is king' thinking and development is hard to do. Visibility, crash ratings and excessive tech in cars are just small parts of a much wider issue.
I've been holding on to my 1997 pre-ECU vehicle for a while now, despite its relative inefficiency, hoping to get something with free software in it so I had a least a chance of keeping some control over quality. It looks like it'll have to last at least a few more years before I can actually buy anything I might consider acceptable. But there are at least signs of useful progress in this sphere.