Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 00:03:13 GMT
From: "Silas Denyer" <>
Subject: Re: Warning about sticking ignition switches in some models

"Kenneth S." <> wrote in message > I've heard the safety argument before, but I'm very skeptical. If that > is recognized to be a safer place for the ignition switch, why does no > other manufacturer put it there? In a word, cost. Even Saab themselves ditched it for a while on the 9000. AFAIK, when the NG900 was being designed under GM, GM tried very hard to dissuade Saab from doing this on the basis of having to design a lock mechanism specifically for the 900, as opposed to using a "standard" parts-bin component. Given how little cash Saab had then, this was not done just "because it had always been done". Additional points to the ones already made as to why this is a good idea: 1. Malfunctioning locking mechanism cannot lock steering whilst driving (this really does happen, although much less than it used to - think of the vibration sent through the steering column and the consequent wear to the mechanism) 2. Harder for thieves to overcome (many steering locks can be snapped by the simple expedient of threading a metal bar through the steering wheel to increase leverage and so - very easily - shear off the locking pin) 3. Guaranteed security and failsafe braking: up until the latest 9-3 you had to engage reverse gear in order to remove the key; that way you always had a fall-back position if the parking brake failed, and always had to engage the security lock 4. Noise: who wants their bunch of keys waving around in the wind and rattling rather than nestling safely in the console? The general ergonomics point has been touched upon, but the parking brake - seat belt - ignition argument is slightly over-simplistic. On a properly set-up car (which, sadly, means left hand drive, since right hand drive cars - except Japanese ones - have the stalks the wrong way round), the left hand (for LHD) should always be on the wheel, whilst the right hand should be the "control" hand, manipulating gears, wipers, heater, audio, etc. The Saab approach keeps that logic intact, whereas most other approaches do not. In terms of general ergonomics, however, GM seem to have ruined the concept. In a "proper" 900 if you drop your arm it naturally hovers around the key, and the angle of the key is appropriate to the angle of the wrist. On the newer cars, however, the centre console is raised and the angle of the key makes it downright uncomfortable to use, not to mention its relative vulnerability. Frankly I think it is now just a marketing tool, and one that hasn't been troubled by the attentions of the sort of rigorous thinkers who made Saab famous in the first place. Anyhow, just my two pen'north. Silas

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