Does anyone else out there think it strange that when the MINI was introduced into Australia that the authorities made such a huge fuss about the centrally mounted speedo, but didn't mention anything about having the indicator stalk on the left of the column.
I know that all European (and therefore by default UK) cars have the indicator stalk on the left, but in my opinion this is wrong.
If the steering wheel is on the RHS of the car, your left hand is for gear changing, your right for using the indicator.
In Australia, where local cars are produced as right hand drive cars (with indicator stalks on the right); the same being true of Asian cars, I find it odd that the powers that be in relation to ADRs do not insist that all cars have the same layout of steering column stalks.
Jumping between my classic Minis, my MCS and my wife's Subaru is very frustrating and at sometimes could be quite dangerous, especially when you have to very quickly indicate your intention to turn and the wipers come on.
its is very anoying Dave, I've been in my Mini since May 06 and i am still accidentually flipping the wipers on. It wouldn't be hard to swap the mechanisms over but getting the stalks to show correctly would be a challenge
The left hand is for the accessories, the right hand is for steering. Coming up to a corner you take your left hand off the wheel to indicate and then you adjust the gear to suit. Right hand stays on the wheel.
I have been driving cars with the indicator on the left on a daily basis for about 15 years now. I don't have a problem switching to the right on the odd occasion that I have to drive a right switched car. That just seems to come naturally. Getting BACK into my daily driver always has me stuffed though. Which is pretty weird.
I kinda like it on the left but agree that if they are picky enough about the centre speedo, they should be picky enough for standardising which side the stalk is on.
[QUOTE: Originally Posted by Paul_T (original)
I think it's more natural on the left.
The left hand is for the accessories, the right hand is for steering. Coming up to a corner you take your left hand off the wheel to indicate and then you adjust the gear to suit. Right hand stays on the wheel.]
I don't think you should need to take your hand off the wheel to use the steering column stalks; after all, that's why they are there in the first place.
I find it comfortable to have my right hand on the wheel and use my fingers to flick the indicator stalk (on my classic Mini) then my left hand is free to change gear.
Sure in most cases you have time to indicate first and then change gear as appropriate, but not always. I would prefer not to have to juggle two operations with the one hand
Australia is hardly a big enough market that we could start forcing changes upon manufacturers like this, the re-tooling costs are significant, and I suspect there would be a fair few niche cars that manufacturers just wouldn't bother bringing in if they had to make these sorts of changes.
I think a bigger issue is the ridiculous situation with 4wd's where they have the lights in the bumper since the original lights in the bodywork aren't visible from a certain angle with a tyre on the back... yet the lights on the bodywork still look exactly the same and don't light up.
Australia does not have any specific design rules regarding the placement of control stalks on steering wheel columns. As Miky said, as a result of only has a small share of annual global car sales, Australia is not in a position to dictate highly specific design rules to global manufacturers – they’d just tell us to stick it and not bother selling their cars here.
I bet your now asking ‘well why did they have to swap the speedo over?’. The answer is basically that Australia did have design rules stipulating where the speedo was to be placed up until a couple of years ago (ie this rule was still in force when vehicle compliance/homologation work was done on our MINI’s). This rule was a hang over from an era when Australia had a significantly more protected automotive sector than today (unique standards are one way to discourage importation of vehicles). Since trade barriers began to be removed, Australia chose to align its automotive design rules with European design standards. Homologation/certification costs are therefore significantly less than they were previously and we now have a significantly wider range of cars to choose from.
Having said all that, I’m led to believe that MINI could have sought type approval for the centre mounted speedo and that it would likely have been approved (as it was for other cars at the time like the Toyota Prius) but obviously they decided that it was cheaper to have a unique speedo/thaco arrangement in Australia than go through all the approval processes.
When we had the Subie switching between the MINI and the Outback was not really a drama. I found I would always get the indicator stalks right, but oddly, if I ever needed to turn on the lights or wipers I would generally bugger that up.
Personally, I don't really mind having the indicator on the left. For some road users it is actually a good thing if they have to put their indicator on BEFORE they have actually turned the corner. I know, I must be living in some sort of dreamland to expect that sort of behaviour.
Yeah, that occured to me too Lima. I cannot recall any time in the last 15 years of driving left stalked cars that I have needed my left hand for both indicator AND gear changes. Then again, I am pathological about people who indicate at the last minute.
I agree with Dave, it is much more natural to have the indicator on the right, and wipers on the left. This is the way it is on the majority of cars in Australia and Asia.
With the majority of people being right-handed, and they should be using the indicators more than the wipers, this makes much more sense. The left hand is used for the wipers and gears.
And it isn't just the Australian market that this effects, it would also effect all of Asia, so if the Japanese kicked up a stink, you could bet it would be changed over. Unfortunately, as people have said, we aren't a big enough market, and are just to apathetic to complain to much. Plus, a lot of Australians think that if it is the way that Europeans do cars, it must be best
I actually considered not buying SMURFN because of this, and also considered seeing if I could get someone to switch them around (although sense got the better of me there).
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