By on May 21, 2009

As it struggles to find its way through bankruptcy, Chrysler Corp. has announced its most recent cut back. The automaker is eliminating turn signals from its vehicles. In a written statement, a Chrysler spokesperson said that with turn signal usage falling below 10 percent, slicing the cost from each car (estimated at $22) would save the Fiat division over $44 million a production year (based on sales of over two million cars in 2007). “Our studies of vehicle equipment usage found that sixty-five percent of drivers were unaware that their cars actually had a turn signal device,” the press release revealed. “Of the thirty-five percent that were aware of the devices, only half even knew how to use them.” To counter safety advocates’ criticism of the equipment deletion, and bolster its case for a NHTSA waiver, Chrysler released the results of a driver survey.

33% No free hand, one on the wheel other on cell phone

28% I own the road, it’s my way on the highway

22% turn signals are so old school

12% clicking sound is so annoying

5% turned wipers on by mistake one too many times

Professor James W. Faber of the Toronto Institute for Turn Signal Safety confirmed the integrity of the survey results. He said Chrysler’s actions were not surprising; his own studies also showed little support in the United States for the usage of turn signals.

On January 7, 2008, we had our test driver cover a twenty-two-mile track and count turns and lane changes for turn signal usage in West Palm Beach, Florida. The results were as follows:

Total lane changes/turns: 107 vehicles

Turn signals utilized: 37 vehicles

Turn signals ignored: 70 vehicles

The usage rate of 35% was surprisingly high. In some northeastern cities, we see rates of usage in the low 20 percent. In fact, the only areas where usage exceeds fifty percent is in retirement communities. However, it appears that some of the data may be skewed, as half of the vehicles appeared to have their turn signals permanently flashing.

Professor Patterson stated that the results for his own country were vastly different than the states. In Canada, 103 percent of drivers used their turn signals. He attributed to the statistically impossible result by claiming that excessively polite Canadians signal even when they’re not actually driving.

Chrysler advised that it was not totally abandoning the use of turn signals in its vehicles. “We will provide each driver, upon written request, and with a small shipping and handling fee, an instruction manual showing the appropriate hand signals used for signaling turns and lane changes.” The spokesperson kindly added that for the first forty years of driving cars didn’t have flashing turn signals, and if it worked back then it should be okay today.

Chrysler is not the only manufacturing addressing the use (or lack thereof) of turn signals in America. Volvo announced a prototype ESPS system. The Swedish brand’s extra sensory perception signal system reads a driver’s mind prior to each turn or lane change and automatically activates the signals requiring no driver intervention.

Volvo says the ESPS system was currently being tested. It should be available for domestic use in 2012. They added that safety is neat and they were glad to solve this difficult problem with technology.

BMW has already addressed one of the annoying problems with conventional turn signals. On most cars, the signal stalk is a physical move up for a right signal and down for a left signal and stays in either position until either a turn is completed or, in the case of a lane change, the driver manually turns off the turn signal. This design aesthetic was not in keeping with BMW’s flame surface treatment introduced by head designer Chris Bangle.

“Our signals are fixed oceans, only cresting for an instance to signal intent, and then returning to their level nesting place adding beauty and functionality to the over aesthetic while still maintaining the overall starkness of the vehicles interior,” Bangle said. He declined to comment on whether this radical change to a sixty-year-old system would encourage less use of turn signals, instead referring readers to BMW’s legal disclaimer page on their website.

Will the turn signal go the way of the vinyl record, rotary dial phone and pet rocks? Only time will tell. But from this writer’s experience its use is doomed to be one of the future lost arts. Will my son someday sit in a bar and brag how his old man was a “turn signal user” or will he be vilified by his peers for the cranky views of his safety obsessed father? We shall see.

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47 Comments on “Chrysler Eliminates Turn Signals From Its Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    holydonut

    Where’s the URL link to theonion.com?

  • avatar
    Lokki

    The rear view mirror is next!

    You should be looking where you’re going and who cares where you’ve been?

  • avatar
    TZ

    Applying for a position with theonion.com?

  • avatar
    AdamYYZ

    I wish they would eliminate that ridiculous feature where the headlight turns off when signaling. That throws me off. Is that everywhere? Or just here in Canada on Chrysler garbage?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Irvine

    I wonder how much they’ve already saved by eliminating the amber turn signals and just using the red brake lights to signal a turn.

    “He’s stopping, yes, no. Ohh one bulb is out. Oh no, he’s turned into me!!!!!”

    If Chrysler dealers (the two that are left) get the repair business, I can see the upside. Actually if we remove all the lights from the rear of cars we have a much cleaner canvas for all new bum designs. Go for it.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    AdamYYZ:

    We’ve got 2 (American) Chryslers, a 98 Stratus and an 06 Town and Country. Neither of them do any funny business with the headlights when signaling.

  • avatar
    lutonmoore

    I thought they did this years ago.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I can’t believe that someone hasn’t already thought of this, but I’d like to have a cupholder that already has the beverage in the cup.

    It would be preferable if the car already knew what I wanted so that it would be ready for me as soon as I sat down. But if compromises are necessary, the presets on the stereo could be used for selecting the beverage.

    This could be a real selling point for Fiat. Most of us would expect better coffee from an Italian car than we would from a Chevy.

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    Is “Professor James W. Faber of the Toronto Institute for Turn Signal Safety” related to Emile Faber, founder and namesake of Faber College? You may remember him for his profound observation, “Knowledge is Good”.

    Source: “Animal House”

  • avatar
    kovachian

    If I didn’t know any better, I could swear-to-God that turn signals were actually deemed illegal in the US.

  • avatar
    pete

    I got the distinct impression that Chrysler were trying to eliminate the whole vehicle, not just the turn signals!

    Future
    Indicators (or lack of use thereof)
    Attest
    Truth

  • avatar
    menno

    In other news, Preston Tucker’s grandson announced today that he has TARP funding to build the new Tucker Ten. This indicates the year-model that the car will be introduced, the base price (in thousands of US dollars), the 0-60 time and 1/10th of it’s MPG (that works out to 100 mpg US, calculated on any combustible liquid – including unleaded, diesel or E85). “This allows our purchasers to buy whatever is cheapest.”

    The car will somewhat resemble his grandad’s Tucker 48, but will have many futuristic features well ahead of time, including a micro-turbine and hydraulic hybrid system; ESP (Electronic Steering Program – somewhat of a misnomer since the collaborative Garmin, Apple, Tucker system simply DRIVES THE CAR FOR YOU, allowing you to text, talk on the cell phone, join the mile high club or whatever else you want to do while motoring).

    The car is very lightweight, using technology licensed from the once East Germans as previously seen in the world-famed Wartburg. Crash worthiness is enhanced with 12″ thick padding in the interior of the car and 187 airbags. Powered gullwing doors are featured, and the car is to be sold initially as a 4 door sedan, then also as a convertible which will have powered scissor doors and power metallic top using technology garnered from Klaatu, an engineer recently released by President One after being held in a secretive base called “area 51″ since, ironically, 1951.

    A flux capacitor along with various colors, is the only optional extra. Rumor has it that this also is Klaatu technology, but Mr. Tucker is not yet talking.

    Dealers being broomed by GM and Chrysler are rapidly signing up for the new Tucker franchises and are busy sending checks to Nigeria at this time.

  • avatar
    IGB

    They’ve been optional equipment in South Carolina for years. I think around the same time as front license plates.

  • avatar
    menno

    I’m from Michigan. Turn signals?

    What’s turn signals?

  • avatar
    Scorched Earth

    [sarcastic quip about lack of turn signal usage in my geographical area]

    The Bangle shit was pretty funny, but overall this article undermines any serious journalistic intensions this site has.

  • avatar
    arapaima

    Turn signals are like yellow lights, the guy behind them had better speed up so he can make it.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    This isn’t as good as GM’s Instant Win Airbags.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/general_motors_introduces_new

  • avatar
    apt34

    They might make more money if they only sold turn signals.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Is this what this place has been reduced to? Are we so fixated on the travails of Chrysler’s Chapter 11 journey that on slow days resort to crafting ChryCo fanfics to satisfy our macabre desires?

  • avatar
    hal

    I got a dodge caravan loaner while my KIA van is being serviced. I had a hard time believing they were still making vans with no central locking in this century.

  • avatar
    akear

    Soon they will be cutting mirrors and windshield wipers.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    I would’ve thought Chrysler would start doing this after the Daimler acquisition since I’ve never seen turn signals on any european car, which just goes to show how that was never a merger of equals.

    Once I was riding in a Mercedes, and asked the owner why she never signaled to turn even tho I can clearly see the stalk on the left side, and she said that one you use by pulling back on to indicate to plebes ahead that a superior automobile is approaching and that they shall move aside.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    To paraphrase Sue Simmons, “The fuck is this about!?”

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    In the case of BMW, I think they have already installed a quad-band Doppler radar and five 64bit processors which continually track the traffic around the vehicle and only turn the indicators on AFTER the maneuver has been made and the guy in the car behind is shaking his fist in anger.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    God, just today I was talking to my dad. And said this “Do people that buy Chryslers know they have turn signals?”

    Here in Metro Detroit, we actually have a lot of Chrysler drivers. And for the most part, they are the worst drivers. Avoid anyone in a last generation minivan. Anyone in any Sebring…drive the other way.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    Funny stuff.

    check this story out: i had a rabbit in front of me slightly to the left, signaling to the left, it stopped in the middle of the street, and like any man would normally think it would turn left, so i proceeded to pass the rabbit on the right, than all of a sudden i noticed the front wheel at a complete right lock and as i was about to pass the car (very low speed) the rabbit just lunged across the road and parked in a slot on the right. i was shocked, so i opened the window, waited till the woman walked out of her car looking at me as if i did something wrong. i said to her, what the hell were you doing woman, you almost ran into me, you don’t signal left and go right!! you’re lucky i wasn’t going any faster….

    she replies, the signal was for you to go left, not me!!! who the hell taught you how to drive…

    my jaw had hit the throttle and i was off, and still to this day about 10 years later, i am amazed that there are people like that out there, surreal…

  • avatar
    T2

    I heard that delinquent payments to their supplier has resulted in a severe shortage of car horns at Chrysler.

    Great !! So now we can expect even their cars not to be giving a hoot either.

  • avatar
    sutski

    Sounds like a http://www.sniffpetrol.com story to me!!

  • avatar

    Lokki said:
    The rear view mirror is next!

    As Raul Julia said in Gumball Rally, “First rule of Italian driving, (rips off rear view mirror and throws it out of the car) what-sa behind you, is NOT important!

  • avatar
    AdamYYZ

    CommanderFish:

    I solved the mystery. Chrysler make the daytime running headlight turn off on the side with the active turn signal. Since America doesn’t use daytime running lights, you wouldn’t have this feature. At night, with full headlight system on, this feature is disabled for driver safety. They do this here, I suppose to make it “easier” for us Canadians to see the turn signal during the day. Our flapping heads and beady little eyes can’t really distinguish bright flashing amber light from the urban landscape.

    http://img160.exs.cx/img160/5954/southpark031of.jpg

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    No worries everyone – given the number of burned out lights I’ve seen on 2008 and 2009 Chryslers, Dodges, and Jeeps, they won’t work anyway.
    Might as well save the .18 on the lever…

  • avatar
    AKM

    +21 for “The Onion”

    Now that they’ve infiltrated “The Economist”, might TTAC be next?

    http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13692860

  • avatar

    Lokki
    The rear view mirror is next!

    Lotus tried. From the latest Auto(everyother)Week:

    The 2009 Louts Exige S 260 Sport has no rear window, just a solid panel. Lotus engineers believed this meant they did not need to install an interior rearview mirror, but federal regulations mandate otherwise.

    “We initially thought the rule was if you could see light through that rear panel, you had to have a rearview mirror, and if you couldn’t, you didn’t,”‘ said a Lotus spokesperson. “We thought wrong. We will be installing the mirrors even though there’s no rear window.”

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    @AdamYYZ –

    Is there truth to the rumo(u)r that most Canadian cars will have the square wheel and tire package? :)
    (…kidding, kidding!!!)

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Being Chrysler, eliminating an electrical feature like the turn signals should give a moderate boost to the quality ratings. If they would go the next step and eliminate the rest of the electrical system in the vehicle, quality ratings would skyrocket.

    And am I the only one who misses the old fender-mounted turn signals shown in the photo?

  • avatar
    windswords

    quasimondo:

    “Is this what this place has been reduced to? Are we so fixated on the travails of Chrysler’s Chapter 11 journey that on slow days resort to crafting ChryCo fanfics to satisfy our macabre desires?”

    Ha! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Wait till GM declares bankruptcy. Maybe we’ll even be blessed with some “just let GM die!” comments.

    Funny article. Liked the Bangle “quotes”, even though he doesn’t work for BMW anymore.

  • avatar

    Did we travel back in time to April 1st? On a serious note, I do remember in the ’80s when automakers elminated the passenger side mirrors to save money.

  • avatar
    NickR

    This is a good place to add this little gem. I was bombing along the highway yesterday, and came up behind a black M3 convertible (roof up). I wanted to go a little faster than the posted limit so I pulled left to pass. As I eased past, I looked over only to discover that the driver had the visor down, vanity mirror open, and was using two hands to apply eyeliner (one hand to pull her eyelid down and the other to ‘paint’). At 100km/h. Nah, that’s not dangerous.

    Speaking of turn signals, I saw a new Mustang the other day (using its turn signals) and saw they have a sequential design. It’s a small thing, but I kind of like it, and it is a nice nostalgic touch. Thing is, I can’t remember how many cars had this…

  • avatar
    wsn

    The real problem is that, even if they can reduce cost by not having turn signals, that would result in a reduced selling price as well. And yes, people do pay for features that they never use, like … turn signals.

    The real solution is to install fake turn signals. This way the car buyer can brag about his new car and its turn signal feature. But according the statistic, the buyer won’t use it and thus will never know it’s fake.

  • avatar

    I didn’t mean any disrespect to Chrysler, as this is a phenomenon to all drivers regardless of make. While most is just made up, (check the acronym for the Canadian institute), the actual count of non-use was real. Every day I see drivers changing lanes w/o using their signals, which just frost my ass. Is it really so hard to do?

  • avatar
    kps

    I honestly don’t understand why the traffic tax collectors don’t ding everyone who doesn’t signal. The untapped revenue is huge.

  • avatar
    Joey8360

    Dear Mr. Fargo,

    As someone with a mental disorder (Aversion to Satire Syndrome) that renders me incapable of recognizing (much less appreciating) satire, I find this article and other recent articles highly disturbing and confusing. Please knock it off, and get off my lawn!

    Sincerely,

    Pierre Minot-Bismark III

  • avatar

    Yes its true, my son, Pierre Minot-Bismark III does suffer from Assbergers Syndrome. Satire causes him to drool, lisp and for large mucus secretions to run out of his droopy eye. You should see what happens when he reads a metaphor!! Due to this being a family website (and heavily monitored by the NSA) I can’t describe the fetid response. Anyway, sorry for his intrusion, but as part of his Assberger Syndrome, he can’t help but complain.

    Pierre Minot-Bismark, Jr.

  • avatar
    Boraxo

    Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the motorcycle, a driver doesn’t see me (because they’re looking for something the size of a car) and they roll right in to my lane without signaling.

    Roll up next to them at the next light, look admiringly at their vehicle, “Say, that’s a really nice car!”

    They grin and say, “thanks!”

    I say, “So, do they make a version that comes with turn signals?”

  • avatar
    Joey8360

    Dear Mr. Fargo,

    Please retract my earlier complaint and accept my most humble apology. You see, what my father did not mention is that I am institutionalized and under psychiatric care. My shrink, Dr. J Duluth Grandforks of the Chipotle Mayo Clinic has invented a special tinfoil hat for me to wear to help alleviate the symptoms of my disorder. Naturally, this device is called the “ASS-Hat”, and I had mine on ass-backwards when I first read this article and those of Jack Baruth. Now that I am wearing the hat correctly and have it hooked up to the 9-volt battery with proper polarity, everything is OK. My little rectal-cranial insertion-inversion episode is over now, and I am in a happy place. Well, as happy as a sanitorium in Winnipeg can be. The lawn I asked you to get off is not mine. The large expanse of grass I see outside my window belongs to the sanitorium.

    Pierre Minot-Bismark III

  • avatar
    shaker

    Joey8360, mjposner

    Nurse Ratched is NOT AMUSED

    (But I am)

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Had they written a similar article five years ago saying they would eliminate the spare tire, I would have thought it as ridiculous as this one. Now…


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