Vehicle Identification Number Requirements, 23367-23385 [08-1197]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations PART 175—CARRIAGE BY AIRCRAFT 6. The authority citation for part 175 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 49 U.S.C. 5101–5128, 44701; 49 CFR 1.45, 1.53. 7. In § 175.10, new paragraph (a)(18) is added to read as follows: I mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES § 175.10 Exceptions for passengers, crew members, and air operators. (a) * * * (18) Portable electronic devices (for example, cameras, cellular phones, laptop computers, and camcorders) powered by fuel cell systems, and not more than two spare fuel cell cartridges per passenger or crew member, when transported in carry-on baggage by aircraft under the following conditions: (i) Fuel cell cartridges may contain only Class 3 flammable liquids (including methanol), Class 8 formic acid, Class 8 borohydride materials, or Division 2.1 butane; (ii) The maximum quantity of fuel in any fuel cell cartridge may not exceed: (A) 200 mL (6.76 ounces) for liquids, (B) 120 mL (4 fluid ounces) for liquefied gases in non-metallic fuel cell cartridges, or 200 mL for liquefied gases in metal fuel cell cartridges; (C) 200 g (7 ounces) for solids; (iii) No more than two spare fuel cell cartridges may be carried by a passenger; (iv) Fuel cell systems containing fuel and fuel cell cartridges including spare cartridges are permitted in carry-on baggage only; (v) Fuel cell cartridges may not be refillable by the user. Refueling of fuel cell systems is not permitted except that the installation of a spare cartridge is allowed. Fuel cell cartridges that are used to refill fuel cell systems but that are not designed or intended to remain installed (fuel cell refills) in a portable electronic device are not permitted; (vi) Fuel cell systems and fuel cell cartridges must conform to IEC/PAS 62282–6–1 (IBR; see § 171.7 of this subchapter); (vii) Interaction between fuel cells and integrated batteries in a device must conform to IEC/PAS 62282–6–1. Fuel cell systems for which the sole function is to charge a battery in the device are not permitted; (viii) Fuel cell systems must be of a type that will not charge batteries when the portable electronic device is not in use; and (ix) Each fuel cell cartridge and system that conforms to the requirements in this paragraph (a)(18) must be durably marked by the manufacturer with the wording: VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 ‘‘APPROVED FOR CARRIAGE IN AIRCRAFT CABIN ONLY’’ to certify that the fuel cell cartridge or system meets the specifications in IEC/PAS 62282–6–1 and all other applicable requirements of this subchapter. * * * * * Issued in Washington, DC, on April 22, 2008, under the authority delegated in 49 CFR part 1. Carl T. Johnson, Administrator. [FR Doc. E8–9203 Filed 4–29–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 565 [Docket No. NHTSA 2008–0022] RIN 2127–AJ99 Vehicle Identification Number Requirements National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This document amends 49 CFR Part 565, Vehicle Identification Number Requirements, to make certain changes in the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) system so that the system will remain viable for at least another 30 years. This rule was initiated by a petition from SAE International (formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers), which was concerned that the available supply of VINs, and particularly the manufacturer identifier part of the VIN, might run out. This final rule will ensure that there will be a sufficient number of unique manufacturer identifiers and VINs to use for at least another 30 years. DATES: Effective Date: October 27, 2008. Compliance Dates: Amendments made in this rule apply to motor vehicles manufactured on or after October 27, 2008 whose VINs have a letter ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position of the VIN, and to all motor vehicles manufactured on or after April 30, 2009. Petitions for Reconsideration: Petitions for reconsideration of this rule must be received by June 16, 2008. ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration should refer to the docket and notice number above and be submitted to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23367 See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION portion of this document (Section IV, Rulemaking Analyses and Notices) for DOT’s Privacy Act Statement regarding documents submitted to the agency’s dockets. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may contact Mr. Kenneth O. Hardie, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards (NVS–120), NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590 (Telephone: 202–366–6987) (FAX: 202–366–7002). For legal issues, you may contact Ms. Rebecca Schade, Office of the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590 (Telephone: 202–366–2992) (FAX: 202– 366–3820). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Executive Summary II. Background A. History and Overview of the VIN System B. Petition for Rulemaking C. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking III. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments A. Summary of Public Comments B. Summary of Amendments Adopted in This Final Rule IV. Rulemaking Analyses and Notice I. Executive Summary In response to a petition for rulemaking, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is amending 49 CFR Part 565, Vehicle Identification Number Requirements (Part 565), so that the supply of manufacturer identifiers and vehicle identification numbers available under this regulation will be sufficient for at least the next 30 years. To accomplish this, NHTSA is revising the requirements for where certain information must be communicated in a vehicle identification number (VIN) as well as the characters that may be used in some of the 17 positions of the VIN for passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less. These changes will have two primary effects. First, the need to issue new manufacturer identifiers, particularly for large manufacturers, should be drastically reduced, thus preserving for a longer period of time the remaining combinations of characters that are available to be issued. Second, the changes will substantially increase the number of combinations of characters available in positions 4 through 8 of the VIN, as well as combinations of those characters with characters in the other VIN positions, so E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES 23368 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations vehicle manufacturers have in complying with Part 565 are as follows: • Vehicle ‘‘make’’ will no longer be required to be identified in the manufacturer identifier of the VIN. • Vehicle ‘‘make’’ will now need to be identified, along with other information items included in the previous version of Part 565, in the second section of the VIN, which consists of VIN positions 4–8. • In generating VINs for vehicles that comply with Part 565, manufacturers of passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less will have an expanded number of characters available in positions 4, 5, and 6 of the VIN. All three of these positions may now be either numeric or alphabetic. These manufacturers will also be required to use an alphabetic character in position 7 of the VIN. that the number of available VINs will significantly increase, enabling the current 17-character system to continue for another 30 years and possibly longer. The final rule published today differs very little from the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on October 2, 2007.1 The differences are as follows. • The date and conditions under which this rule becomes effective have been changed in response to comments that indicated a need for prompt implementation of this rule. • While this rule now makes clear that Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs) require a VIN, LSVs have been dropped from the list of vehicles that would require, and be limited to the use of an alphabetic character in position 7 of the VIN. This was done in response to comments noting that the need for only an alphabetic character in position 7 applies mainly to passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, not all other vehicles covered by 49 Part 565, such as trailers and low speed vehicles. Comments received in response to the NPRM generally supported the proposed changes to Part 565. Two commenters sought clarification as to how the new rule would apply to trailers. A small number of the comments recommended changes to what was proposed. These comments, however, reflected a less than complete understanding of the proposed changes and, in one case, the purpose of our proposal in helping to sustain the current 17-character VIN system over the next 30 years. Many of the comments raised issues that were either not specifically addressed in the NPRM or involved suggested uses of the VIN system that are outside the scope of either NHTSA’s authority or the purpose and scope of the VIN system. For these reasons, changes to Part 565 suggested by the comments have not been made. A common suggestion of this type was that NHTSA include (in the information that must be communicated in the VIN) whether or not a vehicle is certified to California emission standards. In summary, the new VIN requirements apply to vehicles that are manufactured on or after October 27, 2008 whose VINs have a letter ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position of the VIN, and to all vehicles manufactured on or after April 30, 2009. The principal changes to Part 565 issued today that impact the options A. History and Overview of the VIN System Since 1954, American automobile manufacturers have used a vehicle identification number (VIN) to describe and identify each of the motor vehicles they manufacture. The early VINs came in a wide array of configurations and variations, depending on the individual manufacturer. A move to create a more systematic VIN scheme was made in 1968, with the enactment of Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 115, which took effect January 1, 1969. That standard required each passenger car to have a VIN that is permanently ‘‘sunk or embossed’’ on a part of the vehicle visible through the glazing by a person standing at the left windshield pillar. Manufacturers were required to avoid having a VIN be repeated within a 10-year period. In response to a petition from the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association and Volkswagen of America, Inc., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1976 began considering an even more structured and standardized system of VINs as well as expanding the system to additional classes of vehicles. This process led to the current system of 17character VINs. A final rule implementing the new system was published on August 17, 1978.2 The rule stipulated that beginning with the 1981 model year, NHTSA would require that all over-the-road-vehicles sold must contain a 17-character VIN in a fixed format. The standard further required that the VINs of any two vehicles manufactured within a 30 year period not be identical. On June 7, 1996, NHTSA issued a final rule consolidating all VIN requirements into 49 CFR Part 565.3 Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 115 was eliminated. Part 565 requires the manufacturer to assign a unique VIN to each passenger car, multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, bus, trailer (including trailer kit), incomplete vehicle, and motorcycle that it produces. One of the original purposes of the VIN system was to enhance public safety by deterring vehicle theft based on the assumption that drivers of stolen vehicles are more likely to operate those vehicles unsafely and thus be involved in vehicle crashes. The current 17character VIN system embodied in Part 565 continues to serve this purpose and, as stated in Part 565, also serves ‘‘to increase the accuracy and efficiency of vehicle recall campaigns.’’ Recalls are a critical tool for correcting safety defects in vehicles. The VIN has also become the key identifier in data systems that track such things as compliance with federal importation regulations, vehicle registrations, insurance coverage, and motor vehicle crashes. Entities that today utilize VINs in data systems include NHTSA, state motor vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, organizations involved in motor vehicle research, and manufacturers. Characters in a VIN are used in one of three ways. Some specific VIN positions represent a single item of information related to a vehicle. Other groups of VIN positions may be used individually or in combination to represent information that must be deciphered from a key that the manufacturer provides to NHTSA as required by Part 565. Utilizing combinations of at least some VIN positions has been necessary for some vehicles because the amount of information about a vehicle required by Part 565 to be represented in the first (positions 1–3) and second (positions 4– 8) sections of the VIN in some cases exceeds the number of positions available in those sections. Finally, the last digits of the VIN are used by manufacturers to sequentially number groups of similar vehicles that are manufactured. Small annual volume manufacturers use the last three digits to number vehicles. Large annual volume manufacturers use the last six digits. 1 72 FR 56027 (Oct. 2, 2007) (Docket No. NHTSA– 2007–27830–0001). 2 43 FR 36448 (Aug. 17, 1978) (Docket No. 1–22; Notice 5). 3 61 FR 29031 (June 7, 1996) (Docket No. NHTSA–95–85; Notice 2). VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 II. Background PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations The VIN has four sections. The first consists of the first three VIN characters. For large manufacturers, these three positions represent a manufacturer identifier, which meets both the requirements of Part 565 and International Standard 3780: Road vehicles ‘‘ World manufacturer identifier (WMI) code (Small manufacturers must use a six character manufacturer identifier consisting of the first three VIN positions and positions 12–14). In International Standard 3780, adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1980, the first three digits of the VIN are referred to as the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). Although it is common to refer to the first three digits of the VIN as the WMI, the first three digits will be referred to here as the ‘‘manufacturer identifier’’ because Part 565 does not use the term ‘‘WMI.’’ Also, Part 565’s requirements for the first three digits of the VIN differ somewhat from those of International Standard 3780 and it is Part 565’s requirements that are affected by the final rule. NHTSA currently contracts with the SAE International (SAE) to coordinate and issue manufacturer identifiers that comply with Part 565 to U.S. manufacturers. In issuing these identifiers, SAE also ensures that the identifiers comply with the requirements of International Standard 3780 for WMIs. Part 565 currently requires that manufacturers identify manufacturer, make and type of motor vehicle in the first three digits of a VIN. To comply with International Standard 3780, this section of the VIN must also indicate the country in which the vehicle was manufactured. The proliferation of vehicle makes for passenger vehicles has resulted in large manufacturers with multiple makes of vehicles having to obtain multiple manufacturer identifiers. This, in combination with large manufacturer identifiers issued to large manufacturers of other types of vehicles, has resulted in a drain on the supply of manufacturer identifiers/WMIs available for large U.S. manufacturers. The five characters in the second section (positions 4 through 8) of a VIN must identify attributes of the specific type of vehicle involved. These attributes are indicated in Table I in Part 565.15 (formerly 565.6). The third VIN section consists of one character, called a check digit, in the ninth VIN position. It reflects a calculation specified in Part 565 that is based on the other VIN characters and that serves as a check against VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 typographical errors in transcribing a VIN. The fourth section consists of positions 10–17. The first two, positions 10 and 11, are for the model year and plant of manufacture respectively. For large manufacturers, the last six characters are used to sequentially number vehicles in groups of similar vehicles that are manufactured by a given manufacturer. For manufacturers initially intending to produce fewer than 500 vehicles of a given type, VIN positions 12, 13, and 14 are additional characters used for the manufacturer’s manufacturer identifier. Under the current version of Part 565, this means manufacturers that produce fewer than 500 vehicles of a given type have a sixdigit manufacturer identifier consisting of the first three positions of the 17character VIN, with the third position in practice always being a 9, and positions 12, 13, and 14. These small manufacturers use only the last three digits of the VIN to sequentially number similar vehicles they produce. When the current version of Part 565 went into effect beginning with the 1981 model year, it was anticipated that the permutations available under the 17character system described in Part 565 would provide a sufficient number of unique VINs and manufacturer identifiers so that, as required by Part 565, ‘‘the VINs of any two vehicles manufactured within a 30-year period shall not be identical.’’ B. Petition for Rulemaking In a letter dated October 31, 2005,4 the SAE Vehicle Identification Number/ World Manufacturer Identifier Technical Committee 5 petitioned NHTSA to make certain changes to the current VIN system. The committee proposed ‘‘minor revisions’’ to Part 565 that it believed would both preserve the current 17-character VIN format while significantly expanding the universe of available unique manufacturer identifiers and VINs (At NHTSA’s request, SAE submitted a subsequent letter dated February 23, 2006,6 clarifying certain items in the original 4 Docket No. NHTSA–2007–27830–0030. represented on the committee included: General Motors, International Truck and Engine Corporation, RL Polk & Company, The Hill Group, Freightliner Truck Division, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, American Suzuki Motor Corporation, Harley Davidson Motor Company, Motorcycle Industry Council, Ford Motor Company, Transport Canada, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), DaimlerChrysler Corporation, and NHTSA. Representatives from Clifford Thames IMS in the United Kingdom, the Highway Loss Data Institute, and Caterpillar, Inc. also participated. 6 Docket No. NHTSA–2007–27830–0031. 5 Organizations PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23369 petition). The petition proposed changes that would keep the current 17character VIN, but would add to the characters that may appear in some of the VIN positions for passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, thus adding significantly to the number of available unique VINs for these vehicles. In addition to changes that would expand the number of available manufacturer identifiers and VINs, the petitioners asked NHTSA: (1) To add to the Part 565 list of vehicle attributes those that must be communicated in, and decipherable from, the VIN of a low speed vehicle (LSV); (2) to clarify the way the ‘‘check digit’’ as defined in Part 565 is determined; (3) to expand the restraint system information that must be decipherable from a passenger car VIN; and (4) to add language that further explains the typefaces permitted for a VIN. The petitioners further proposed that these changes take effect beginning with the 2010 model year due to concerns over the supply of manufacturer identifiers and the possibility of duplicate VINs being issued beginning with that model year. C. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking NHTSA granted the petition by letter to the SAE dated March 7, 2006 and published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on October 2, 2007 (72 FR 56027). That notice proposed to adopt most, but not all of the changes to Part 565 suggested by SAE. The changes that were proposed in the NPRM were to: • Expand to 60 years (the current 30 year period that is about to expire plus an additional 30 years) the period during which the VINs of any two vehicles subject to Part 565 may not be identical; • Eliminate vehicle ‘‘make’’ from what needs to be communicated in, and decipherable from, the manufacturer identifier; • Include ‘‘make’’ in what needs to be communicated in, and decipherable from, the second section of the VIN (positions 4–8) for all vehicles subject to Part 565; • Change Part 565 so that alphabetic or numeric characters may be used in positions 4, 5 and 6 for passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less (Currently positions 4 and 5 must be alphabetic and position 6 must be numeric for these vehicles. Either alphabetic or numeric characters have always been allowed in these positions E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES 23370 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations for other vehicles covered by the standard); • Require that VIN position 7 be alphabetic for passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less (This position currently must be numeric for these vehicles. Either an alphabetic or numeric character can be used in this position for other vehicles covered by the standard); • Make clear that Part 565 applies to Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs); • Include in Part 565 specific attributes for LSVs that must be communicated in, and decipherable from, a VIN; • Require that the VIN plate for LSVs be placed in the same location as passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less; • Expand from ‘‘passenger cars’’ to ‘‘passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, low speed vehicles, and trucks’’ the vehicles that would be covered by the requirements of current Part 565.5—Motor vehicles imported into the United States; • Add regulatory language to call attention to the fact that the number ‘‘9’’ in the third VIN position means that the vehicle is produced in sufficiently low quantities that a small manufacturer identifier is appropriate and positions 12–14 are therefore part of the manufacturer identifier; • Change restraint system information that must be communicated in the VIN of a passenger car from ‘‘restraint system type’’ to ‘‘all restraint devices and their location’’ and require this same information for LSVs; • Add to Part 565 a table with an explanatory note that indicates the digit that should appear in the ninth position of the VIN (This was requested to address the fact that the formula that is used in determining what appears in the ninth position is often calculated electronically and therefore does not produce the fractional remainders that are currently used in Part 565 to determine the digit that goes in position 9); • Revise the ‘‘Year Codes for VIN’’ table in Part 565 to include character designations for years up to, and including, the year 2039, to account for the expanded period of time during which the current VIN system will remain in existence under the changes proposed; • Change the contact details for the SAE in Part 565. The changes that were requested by SAE that were not included in the VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 NPRM or that were included in modified form were to: • Specify in Part 565 that a positive identification style font face is a typeface permitted under the regulation’s broad requirement for a san serif font typeface for a VIN. • Set the dividing line between manufacturers requiring a large manufacturer identifier and those requiring a small manufacturer identifier at 900 vehicles produced annually. The NPRM proposed 1,000 vehicles as the level at which a manufacturer must begin using a large manufacturer identifier. III. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments A. Summary of Public Comments The agency received comments from the following: the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (ODMV), Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), Daimler A.G. (Daimler), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDE), General Motors (GM), Ford, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, BMW of North America, The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM), the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), Ferrari, Prevost (a division of Volvo Group Canada, Inc.), the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), and several individuals. 1. General and Issue Specific Support All commenters supported revising the VIN regulation in one way or another, in some instances suggesting ways the VIN could be further expanded. Amendments Aimed at Extending Life of Current System The Alliance stated that it ‘‘fully supports both proposed amendments that are directly related to extending the utility of the VIN system beyond 2010.’’ AIAM and TMA also expressed support for the proposed changes, as did Ferrari and NATM with some exceptions and PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 concerns. NYDEC offered its general support for the efforts ‘‘to ensure that there will be a sufficient number of unique manufacturer identifiers and VINs for the current 17-character VIN system for at least another 30 years.’’ Harley-Davidson also offered its ‘‘general support,’’ noting, ‘‘The regulatory proposal as written will provide a solution to the issue for the next few decades.’’ BMW supported NHTSA’s efforts to revise Part 565, but had concerns, as did Daimler A.G., about the proposed changes for position 7 of the VIN. NICB offered its support, but expressed concern that the effective date should be November 1, 2008. NESCAUM, which is an association of state air pollution control agencies in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, offered general support for the rulemaking and made suggestions concerning information that the VIN should communicate. Specific suggestions, exceptions, and concerns expressed by those offering general support for the proposed changes to Part 565 are discussed below under the relevant heading. Large Manufacturer Threshold The Alliance and Prevost commented directly on this subject. The Alliance specifically supported the proposed change that would require a manufacturer to make 1,000 vehicles a year rather than the current 500 before a manufacturer will be considered a large manufacturer and be required to be issued and use a large manufacturer identifier. Prevost expressed a concern about manufacturers of buses with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kg (10,000 lb), stating that production of these manufacturers may vary significantly so the threshold between small and large manufacturer should be smaller than 500 with the possibility to use either a 3 or a 6 character WMI up to 1,000. Alphabetic and Numeric Characters in Second Section of VIN The Alliance specifically supported the proposal to allow the VINs of passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less to use either alphabetic or numeric characters in positions 4, 5 and 6, as opposed to only alphabetic characters in positions 4 and 5 and numeric characters in position 6. As noted above, some manufacturers did not agree with the proposed changes for position 7 of the VIN. AIAM objected to a requirement that ‘‘all restraint E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations devices and their location’’ be decipherable from the VIN. Moving ‘‘Make’’ From First to Second Section The Alliance and AIAM supported moving vehicle ‘‘make’’ from the manufacturer identifier to the second section (positions 4–8) of the VIN. On the other hand, NATM believed that there is no need to assign or designate the ‘‘make’’ of a trailer. Vehicle Characteristics for VINs of Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs) Advocates supported the proposal to include in Part 565 a list of vehicle attributes that must be communicated in, and decipherable from, the VINs of LSVs. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES Costs Resulting From Software Modifications NICB said its software can be modified to accommodate the proposed changes ‘‘without undue burden or expense.’’ 2. Suggested Changes to the Information To Be Communicated by the VIN Comments: Several commenters suggested adding various kinds of information to what is currently required in 49 CFR Part 565 to be communicated in, and decipherable from, a VIN. ODMV, ODEQ, WDE, NESCAUM, and NACAA all urged NHTSA to incorporate into the VIN a means by which States could determine whether or not a vehicle is certified to meet California emission standards. NYDEC urged a more detailed approach, asking for not only an indication of the emission standard to which a vehicle is certified, but also the level of certification. NYDEC and NYDMV also suggested that a vehicle’s fuel type or type of hybrid technology be communicated through the VIN to help support State inspection and maintenance programs. In some cases, information that is already included in the VIN and that relates to the administration of State inspection and maintenance programs, is not treated consistently by manufacturers and is, therefore, hard to access, according to NYDEC. Advocates said ‘‘the VIN requirements should also include a means for encoding the type of power source that the engine can utilize.’’ Yuli Chew, an individual submitting comments, suggested that the seventh digit in the VIN be used to designate emission certification and offered a detailed chart of proposed characters to designate various emission VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 certifications. He also proposed that the eighth digit be used to indicate engine type and similarly offered a detailed chart of engine types and characters to represent them. WisDOT asked that the VIN include some method for determining the maximum speed capability of low-speed motor-driven cycles, such as mopeds. Whether or not a cycle can travel at speeds greater than 30 mph impacts driver training requirements in Wisconsin and whether passengers may be carried on the cycle. WisDOT provided a list of 28 other States in which speed of the cycle determines its classification and related requirements. WisDOT also noted that the Uniform Vehicle Code contains a similar distinction. NESCAUM and NACAA recommended that the information communicated by the VIN include motor vehicle test group and engine family, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 40 CFR Part 86. The information that would be available to States as a result of this, NESCAUM said, ‘‘could be used to support air quality monitoring efforts.’’ NESCAUM and NACAA also asked for several additional changes to the information a VIN must communicate. They asked NHTSA to change the definition of ‘‘engine type’’ that now appears in 49 CFR 565(d). They maintained that the effect of the definition’s second sentence, which specifically calls for a VIN to represent ‘‘the specific make and manufacturer’’ of an engine if it powers a ‘‘passenger car or multipurpose passenger vehicle, or truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less’’ is to exclude Class 3 through 8 heavyduty trucks from the requirement to report engine manufacturer and make. The commenters said this information would make it easier for States to determine the emissions and fuel economy characteristics of their heavyduty truck fleets. NESCAUM also asked that the VIN identify the GVWR rating class for any vehicle in Class G–2 or above, saying this information would greatly simplify States’ efforts to identify whether a particular vehicle is subject to its emissions inspection program and the type of test required under that program. Finally, NESCAUM urged that the VIN requirements for Class 3 through 8 heavy-duty vehicles incorporate the exact gross vehicle weight, a change it said would enable States to better characterize their heavy duty fleets. Agency Analysis and Response: PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23371 The primary purpose of the VIN system is to assure a unique identifier for each vehicle sold in the United States and, in so doing, to deter theft and facilitate vehicle recall campaigns. Deterring theft reduces the number of drivers on the road who are more likely to operate motor vehicles in an unsafe manner. Recall campaigns are conducted to remedy defects related to motor vehicle safety and incidents of noncompliance with Federal motor vehicle safety standards that are determined to exist in a vehicle. The current VIN system has for nearly 30 years fulfilled the need for unique vehicle identifiers and with today’s final rule should continue to do so for at least the next 30 years. The agency is not adopting at this time amendments to address any of the recommendations for the VIN to include additional information elements, not because those recommendations lack merit, but instead because there is a pressing need for today’s rule to be in place to assure the uninterrupted continuation of the VIN system. The agency acknowledges that the additional information requirements recommended in the comments, such as those relating to California emission certification, reflect the fact that there has been little change over the decades in the information that must be conveyed by a VIN despite the development of new circumstances that may lend themselves to the inclusion of new or different information. As such, the agency plans to initiate a separate comprehensive review focused on the information requirements of the VIN system. This will address whether those requirements should be changed, and, if so, how those changes should be made. 3. All Restraint Devices and Their Location Comments: Several comments were received concerning the proposal to change language in Table 1 of 49 CFR 565.6(b) relating to the restraint system information required to be communicated in the VIN of passenger cars. The relevant language currently reads, ‘‘Passenger car: Line, series, body type, engine type and restraint system type.’’ The replacement language proposed by the petitioner and included in the NPRM reads, ‘‘Passenger car: Make, line, series, body type, engine type, and all restraint devices and their location.’’ The agency also requested ‘‘comments on whether this information should be required for all passenger vehicles, not just passenger cars.’’ E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES 23372 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations The Alliance opposed this proposed change and suggested that the original language be retained. It said the proposed language would create an ‘‘unnecessary and unjustified burden on manufacturers’’ because each running change relating to a vehicle’s restraint system could require a new VIN. The AIAM also opposed the proposed change, on the basis that evolving combinations of restraint devices could ‘‘require development of a complex coding scheme which may ultimately prove impractical due to the number of possible combinations of these elements.’’ Ferrari also opposed the proposed language change citing the same argument as that offered by AIAM. Advocates supported both the proposed language change and extending the information requirement beyond passenger cars to include ‘‘all passenger and non-passenger light vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less,’’ on the basis that this information would be valuable for safety research and data analysis. Agency Analysis and Response: The current language in Part 565 was sufficient when the range of restraint equipment that was either required or was available in the marketplace consisted primarily of seat belts and front seat airbags. Today, in addition to seat belts, front seat air bags are mandatory and restraint equipment technology has advanced to the point where there are many variations both in required equipment and in equipment, such as side air bags, that is offered in the marketplace. The new language is intended to capture and make available, through a vehicle’s VIN, more complete and accurate information regarding occupant restraint in each vehicle manufactured for sale in the U.S. The agency does not agree with the Alliance and the AIAM that this change is overly burdensome. The agency is aware that some major manufacturers represented by these two organizations are already submitting comprehensive restraint related VIN deciphering information to NHTSA under 49 Part 565.7(c) that would comply with the amended requirements. This suggests to the agency that if a manufacturer knows well in advance of restraint system changes that will occur during a vehicle’s production run, creating a VIN to account for those changes would be no more difficult than accounting for the different engines that can be installed in a particular vehicle model. In those cases where an unanticipated running change in a vehicle’s restraint system occurs, a company could retain the VINs of the vehicles involved and VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 provide NHTSA with revised VIN deciphering information as provided in 49 Part 565.7(c). In such a case, vehicles numbered sequentially above a certain number in the last digits of the fourth section of the VIN would have the revised restraints devices and locations, which could be indicated in the company’s amended deciphering information. The agency agrees with Advocates that there is value in having the VINs of certain vehicles in addition to passenger cars communicate the type and location of the restraint devices with which those vehicles are equipped . The agency is requiring the VINs of passenger cars, multipurpose vehicles, and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less to communicate that information. 4. VIN Position 7 Comments: The NPRM proposed that for passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less the seventh position of the VIN be changed from a numeric character to an alphabetic character. Daimler and BMW asked that the seventh position be either numeric or alphabetic, with BMW indicating this would ‘‘minimize the cost impact’’ and achieve the same goal. Ferrari called the proposed change for position 7 ‘‘acceptable,’’ but asked why position 7 could not be either numeric or alphabetic. Daimler also asked that the manufacturer be allowed to choose ‘‘one of the five positions to be changed from alphabetic to numeric or vice versa.’’ (Daimler did not specify the five characters to which it was referring. The agency assumes the company was referring to VIN positions 4 through 8, the positions referred to in Part 565 as the second section, which includes position 7.) The Alliance and GM both specifically supported the proposed change from numeric to alphabetic characters in position 7. In addition, the Alliance asked that a footnote be included in Table VII—Year Codes for VIN in 49 CFR Part 565. That footnote would read, ‘‘If position 7 is numeric, the Model Year (in position 10) is 1980– 2009; if alphabetic, the Model Year (in Position 10) is 2010–2039.’’ AIAM and Ferrari supported this proposal. Prevost suggested the addition of a footnote to Table VII as well. It asked that the footnote communicate the fact that since position 7 may be alphabetic or numeric for vehicles over 10,000 PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 pounds and certain other types of vehicles covered by Part 565, such as trailers, that character does not indicate the 30-year period in which the vehicle was manufactured. Agency Analysis and Response: The reason for the proposed change in position 7 of the VIN was not only to create additional permutations to increase the number of available VINs, but also to enable VIN users to determine in which 30-year period a vehicle was manufactured. The suggestion by Daimler and BMW that manufacturers have the option of using either an alphabetic or numeric character in position 7 would eliminate a VIN user’s ability to make this determination and would create considerable confusion for VIN system users. (Daimler’s suggestion that the manufacturer have the option of choosing which character in the second section of the VIN to change from alphabetic to numeric or vice versa, would be even more confusing to VIN users). Under the approach suggested by Daimler and BMW, VIN users would be unable to use the seventh VIN character to determine the model year of makes and models of vehicles manufactured in both the 30 year span of the current VIN system and in the 30 year span contemplated for the VIN system established by today’s final rule. While having the option of either an alphabetic or numeric character in position 7 might ‘‘minimize the cost impact’’ on manufacturers as BMW suggests, it would also very likely add costs to other users of the VIN system and not be as efficient as having position 7 clearly indicate the 30 year period in which a vehicle was manufactured. The agency is therefore adopting the proposal in the NPRM to require that only an alphabetic character be allowed in VIN position 7 for passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less under the revised Part 565. The agency agrees with the Alliance, GM and Prevost that a footnote to Table VII will further clarify the purpose of position 7 being an alphabetic character. The agency is therefore adding a footnote to Table VII, but is adopting language different from that proposed by the Alliance and GM to both further clarify the role of VIN position 7 and to make clear, as suggested by Prevost, that the requirement for an alphabetic character in position 7 applies only to passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less. The footnote will now read, ‘‘For passenger cars, and for E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, if position 7 is numeric, the Model Year in position 10 of the VIN refers to a year in the range 1980–2009. If position 7 is alphabetic, the Model Year in Position 10 of the VIN refers to a year in the range 2010–2039.’’ mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES 5. Off Road Vehicles Comment: NACAA said the VIN system should be extended to ‘‘nonroad vehicles (primarily those for recreational use).’’ Referring to a numbering system for off-road vehicles named, ‘‘PIN: Product Identification Number System for OffRoad Recreation Vehicles,’’ NYDMV noted that identifiers under this system will always differ from VINs in the ninth position. A VIN will contain either a number or an X. A PIN will contain a letter and never an X. NYDMV suggested language for Part 565 that would prohibit VINs from duplicating PINs for off-road vehicles. Agency Analysis and Response: NHTSA has authority to regulate only vehicles that are manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways. Jurisdiction to regulate vehicles of the type discussed by NACAA rests with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which at this time does not have a system in place to provide identifiers for off-road vehicles. As indicated by the NYDMV, a voluntary system has been created and is operating to address the need for identifiers for off-road vehicles. That system is administered by SAE International, the same organization that administers the VIN system. NHTSA does not have the authority to extend the VIN system to off-road vehicles. It therefore did not address the issue in the NPRM and is not making this suggested change in this final rule. NHTSA is also not including language in Part 565 to prohibit a VIN from duplicating a PIN as suggested by NYDMV. We do not regulate PINs. Additionally, the agency believes that if, as the NYDMV indicates, a PIN has an alphabetic character and never an X in its ninth position, a VIN should never duplicate a PIN. This is because a VIN is required to have either a numeric character or an X in that position. 6. Trailers NATM, which represents companies that manufacture trailers with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) of 26,000 lb or less, submitted detailed comments addressing issues unique to trailer manufacturers. RVIA submitted brief VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 comments on behalf of its trailer manufacturer members concurring with the NATM comments. NATM generally supported the proposed changes to Part 565, but raised the following two concerns. Character Prescriptions as They Relate to Trailers First, NATM noted that Section 565.6(b) currently applies to ‘‘passenger cars and * * * multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lbs.) or less’’ insofar as it identifies the characters that must be used in specific positions of the second section of the VIN (positions 4–8). NATM further noted, ‘‘There is, however, no mention of what characters, alphabetic or numeric, manufacturers of other types of vehicles—larger trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles—are required or permitted to use in those same positions. By its silence, we assume Section 565.6(b) allows manufacturers of those other types of vehicles to use either an alphabetic or a numeric character, at their election, in all four of the first four positions in Section 2 of the VIN, positions 4, 5, 6, and 7. The current regulation goes on to state: ‘The fifth character [position] may be either alphabetic or numeric.’ It is not clear whether this statement is intended to govern VIN use only in the three vehicle types specified in the preceding sentence, namely automobiles, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and light-duty trucks, or whether it is intended to apply to all motor vehicle types to which Part 565 applies.’’ Agency Analysis and Response: The characters that may be used in a vehicle’s VIN are identified in § 565.4(g). These are the characters that may be used in a VIN unless there are specifications elsewhere in Part 565 as to the characters that may be used in a particular VIN position. The NATM’s interpretation of the current version of Part 565.6(b) is correct. The specifications in the current version of this section as to the type of characters that must appear in specific positions of the second section of the VIN apply only to the vehicles cited— passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less—not larger trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles. Therefore, the current regulation allows manufacturers of larger trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles to use either an alphabetic or a numeric character in all four of the first four positions in the second section of the VIN, positions 4, 5, 6, and 7. Position 8 under the current PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23373 regulation may be either an alphabetic or numeric character for any type of vehicle. Nothing will change for these vehicles under this final rule. In this final rule, only position 7 will be limited to an alphabetic character for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less. All other positions in the second section of the VIN will be allowed to have either alphabetic or numeric characters no matter what type of vehicle is involved and position 7 may be alphabetic or numeric for larger trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles. Trailer ‘‘Make’’ NATM’s second concern was over NHTSA’s intention to move vehicle ‘‘make’’ from being a characteristic that needs to be communicated in the manufacturer identifier to a characteristic that needs to be communicated in the second section of the VIN. ‘‘Unlike automobiles, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and light-duty trucks, light-duty and medium-duty trailers generally do not have separately assigned or designated ‘makes,’ much less undergo frequent changes in ‘makes,’ ’’ NATM said. The NATM further stated that under the current regulation, the company name in the manufacturer identifier is, in essence, the make of the trailer. In addition to commenting that ‘‘make’’ is not a concept used in the trailer industry, NATM expressed concern that requiring ‘‘make’’ in the second section of the VIN would require trailer manufacturers to give up what it characterized as an ‘‘undesignated’’ position in the second section of the VIN to communicate the ‘‘make.’’ That position, NATM said, is currently generally used in the trailer industry to indicate the GVWR of trailers, which is not an information item that Part 565 requires for trailers in the second section of the VIN. Agency Analysis and Response: The agency’s experience with VINs for trailers generally reflects the NATM comments. That is, for most trailer manufacturers, the manufacturer’s name has been the equivalent of the ‘‘make’’ of the trailer, although there are surely instances in which information that is arguably a ‘‘make’’ has been communicated. In most cases, only the manufacturer’s name has been communicated in the manufacturer identifier of trailer manufacturers under the current Part 565. There has been a tacit recognition of what NATM observed, that the manufacturer’s name is the equivalent of the ‘‘make.’’ The manufacturer’s name has E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES 23374 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations simultaneously fulfilled the requirement that the manufacturer identifier communicate the manufacturer and the ‘‘make.’’ The agency has decided not to make an exception for trailers and to include ‘‘make’’ in the information that must be communicated in, and decipherable from, the second section of the VIN for trailers. It seems clear from the NATM comments that generating VINs for trailers is relatively straightforward in comparison to doing so for other types of vehicles subject to Part 565. By referring to one of the positions in the second section of the VIN as an ‘‘undesignated’’ position, NATM suggests that trailer manufacturers use each of the positions in the second section of the VIN to represent one of the four information items currently listed in Part 565 as having to be communicated in, and decipherable from, the second section of the VIN. This approach leaves one position of the VIN’s second section unused or ‘‘undesignated’’ as the NATM’s comments state. According to NATM, this unused position is widely used in the trailer manufacturing industry to designate GVWR. The NATM comments suggest that trailer manufacturers fear that if they are required to communicate a vehicle’s make in the second section of the VIN, even though the manufacturer name is the make for most trailer manufacturers, they will have to use the position now widely used for GVWR to indicate the manufacturer’s name for a second time (the manufacturer’s name will continue to be required in the manufacturer identifier). The agency notes that one option available to trailer manufacturers whose manufacturer name is the same as the make is to continue to use a character in the position that is now, by practice, used for GVWR. In the information for deciphering the VIN submitted to NHTSA under § 565.7(c) trailer manufacturers can simply indicate that if any character appears in that position, then the make name is the same as the manufacturer name. It should be noted that if a trailer manufacturer produces 33 or fewer variations of trailers (i.e. combinations of make, type of trailer, body type, length and axle configuration—the information items required for trailers in the second section of the VIN as revised), this information could be communicated by a single character in one position of the second section of the VIN. What that single character refers to would simply have to be indicated in the information provided to NHTSA by the manufacturer under § 565.7(c). In VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 fact, a trailer manufacturer could communicate up to 132 different variations in the trailers it manufactures and use only four of the five positions in the VIN’s second section by taking full advantage of the 33 characters available for each of those positions and submitting to NHTSA a full and complete description of what a given character means if it appears in a given position. A ‘‘B’’ in the first position of the second section, for example, could stand for the make, type of trailer, body type, length and axle configuration of one variation of trailer made by a given manufacturer while a ‘‘C’’ could stand for that same information relating to a different trailer. The NATM comments made the agency aware of the fact that there is no current need to include low speed vehicles (LSVs) in the vehicles that must use an alphabetic character in position number 7 of the VIN as required by today’s final rule. These vehicles will now be treated the same as larger trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles. 7. Modification in Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Classes Comment: NESCAUM asked for a change in ‘‘Table II—Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Classes’’ of 49 CFR Part 565.6(b) by adding a break point at 8,500 pounds in one of the classes listed to distinguish whether or not a truck is light or heavy duty. Agency Analysis and Response: The classification system in Table II of Part 565 has been in existence for nearly 30 years and a great deal of data has accumulated in various places based on this system. The agency’s experience with this classification system suggests that the change advocated by NESCAUM could have a significant effect on the various data systems that are built on this system. Any change to this system would require a complete and thorough analysis of the possible impact of that change on these data systems. This was not an issue addressed in the petition that initiated this rulemaking or in the NPRM. The agency is not acting on this recommendation at this time, not because the recommendation is deemed to lack merit, but instead because of the need to publish this final rule promptly. This issue will be part of the comprehensive review of the VIN information requirements discussed in ‘‘2. Suggested Changes to the Information to be Communicated by the VIN.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8. Supply of Manufacturer Identifiers In the NPRM, NHTSA specifically asked for comments ‘‘on the likelihood and implications of manufacturers releasing previously-issued identifiers that are no longer in use.’’ Comments: On this issue the Alliance expressed the understanding that, ‘‘this proposal would require no change to currently assigned and used WMIs, and would only affect WMIs assigned in the future. Manufacturers will be able to continue to use the WMIs they are currently using in production or that have been assigned to them.’’ The Alliance also observed that ‘‘a general review of assigned and reserved WMI’s that the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has requested the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to undertake should ensure adequate availability for future needs.’’ GM said, it ‘‘does not anticipate manufacturers releasing previously assigned WMIs; however, the proposed modification will reduce the need for additional WMIs allocation to manufacturers.’’ Ford said it anticipates many manufacturer identifiers that are ‘‘assigned to countries with little or no current vehicle manufacturing will be reassigned to other countries, thus resolving the potential shortage’’ of manufacturer identifiers. Ford further indicated that ‘‘many organizations, including law enforcement, rely on consistency’’ in manufacturer identifiers to identify vehicle manufacturers. Ford said it does not plan to relinquish manufacturer identifiers that are assigned to that company ‘‘at this time.’’ Ferrari stated, ‘‘Regarding the possibility to distribute old manufacturer identifiers no longer in use, we believe that they should be retained by the same manufacturer to avoid possible confusion in case they are given to other manufacturers.’’ Agency Analysis and Response: The agency does not see a need to take any action at this time beyond adopting the changes discussed in this final rule. As previously noted, vehicle make has been moved from the manufacturer identifier to the second section of the VIN. This should substantially reduce the need to issue new large manufacturer WMIs, thus extending the remaining supply of 400– 450 of these manufacturer identifiers. In addition, the agency, through its contract with SAE for the issuance of manufacturer identifiers, has begun the process of identifying companies with large manufacturer identifiers that are no longer in business so that those E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations identifiers may be returned to the system. The agency is also identifying companies that were issued large manufacturer identifiers that, through publicly available data, the agency knows do not produce more than 500 vehicles a year, the current threshold for being considered a large manufacturer, or 1,000 vehicles a year, the threshold in this final rule, under Part 565. The agency anticipates that a number of large manufacturer identifiers will be returned to the system as a result of this process as well. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES 9. Posident Typeface Comments: While NHTSA did not propose any specific action relating to the ‘‘positive identification style’’/‘‘posident’’ typeface, the subject was addressed in the NPRM and two commenters specifically commented on it. Citing the interpretation noted in the NPRM, which specifically states that the ‘‘positive identification style’’/ ‘‘posident’’ typeface is permitted under Part 565, GM indicated that it plans to continue its use of the typeface in its VIN marking. Harley-Davidson suggested that language in the NPRM regarding the ‘‘positive identification style’’/ ‘‘posident’’ typeface ‘‘could be interpreted to mean that NHTSA was not inclined to encourage use of the posident font.’’ Additionally, HarleyDavidson said the terms ‘‘positive identification style font’’ and ‘‘posident’’ refer to the same thing and noted that it uses the typeface on some frame stampings, although not in its VIN markings. Agency Analysis and Response: In 1978, NHTSA issued an interpretation stating that there is no bar to using the ‘‘posident’’ typeface in a VIN under Part 565. That interpretation may be found at http:// isearch.nhtsa.gov/gm/78/nht78– 2.2.html. The agency is neither encouraging nor discouraging the use of this typeface. The agency has not changed its position with regards to this interpretation. The ‘‘posident’’ typeface is therefore still permitted under the amendments to 49 CFR Part 565 issued today. 10. Location Change for Vehicle Make: Possible Impact on State Regulatory Programs Comment: NYDEC said it is unclear if vehicle make would become more difficult to obtain if the agency’s proposal is finalized as written. It added, ‘‘Vehicle make must be readily available to State regulatory programs from the VIN.’’ VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 Agency Analysis and Response: The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) was a member of the SAE committee that petitioned NHTSA to commence this rulemaking. If moving the vehicle make from the first to the second section of the VIN has an impact on State regulatory programs, the AAMVA would presumably have discussed that matter with the committee. The agency does not believe that moving vehicle make from the first to the second section of the VIN will have any impact on the availability of this information to state programs. The agency is therefore taking no action today in response to this comment. 11. Alternative Characters Comment: Harold R. Brink, a private individual, submitted comments recommending that symbols, such as ‘‘!@∧%&,’’ be used in the VIN to expand the number of unique VINs available. Agency Response We do not believe that it is necessary to adopt the use of symbols at this time. The changes proposed in the petition and those adopted in this final rule provide a sufficient number of unique VINs to assure the continued existence of the current VIN system, with the use of only numeric and alphabetic characters, for at least 30 additional years. 12. Direction VIN Plate Should Face Comment: NYDMV asked that Part 565.4(f) be amended to require that the characters of the VIN plate face the front of the vehicle because it has encountered grey market vehicles with the VIN facing the driver, which, in some cases, makes the VIN difficult to read. Agency Analysis and Response: Section 565.4(f) specifies the approximate location of the VIN, the minimum size for the type, and the requirement that the VIN must be ‘‘readable.’’ The section does not prescribe the direction in which the VIN plate must face. The agency is not aware of driver facing VIN plates creating unworkable difficulties in any broad category of other situations. NYDMV acknowledged in its comments that even in cases of grey market vehicles with driver facing VIN plates it has encountered, the VIN remains readable, although with some difficulty. As such, the agency is not specifying the direction in which the VIN plate must face in this rule. PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23375 13. Companies That Vacillate Between High-Volume and Low-Volume Production Comment: Prevost described a situation that it indicated may be unique to bus/motor coach manufacturers. Because there are so few manufacturers in this category and the market is relatively small, a manufacturer, at least under the current Part 565 with its 500 vehicle dividing line between small and large manufacturers, may one year be a small manufacturer and the next a large manufacturer. As a small manufacturer under current Part 565, it is required to use a six character manufacturer identifier. As a large manufacturer, it is required to use a three character manufacturer identifier. Prevost recently became a large manufacturer under the current Part 565 and is concerned that it might have to return to using a small manufacturer identifier and change its whole VIN structure. It urged that the dividing line between low-volume manufacturers and high-volume manufacturers be set at a threshold lower than the current 500 vehicles for manufacturers of vehicles greater than 4536kg GVWR. Agency Analysis and Response: Prevost is principally concerned that it have one consistent approach to VINs and not have to switch between lowvolume manufacturer VINs and highvolume manufacturer VINs. The agency believes that raising the threshold between low-volume manufacturer and high-volume manufacturer to 1,000 vehicles will address the situation described by Prevost, at least for some bus/motor coach manufacturers. However, the agency believes that if we lower the threshold between lowvolume manufacturers and high-volume manufacturers, such an action would jeopardize the limited supply of manufacturer identifiers for highvolume manufacturers, which was one of the driving concerns for the petition that initiated this rulemaking and for the agency’s proceeding with this rulemaking. If, after the implementation of this final rule, there continue to be manufacturers that vacillate between low-volume and high-volume status, the best place to address this will be in the administration of the VIN system. In this way, NHTSA can better monitor the supply of large manufacturer identifiers and be sure that they are issued only in situations where it is appropriate to do so. 14. Effective Date of the Rule Comments: There were numerous comments concerning the effective date of the final E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES 23376 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations rule, particularly the need for the final rule to be implemented quickly with a clear indication that it applies to all model year 2010 vehicles. One commenter said the revised Part 565 should apply to model year 2010 vehicles regardless of when they are manufactured. The Alliance, AIAM, and Ferrari said the rule should begin with 2010 model year. The Alliance noted, ‘‘Some manufacturers are already approaching the deadline to implement changes to VIN structure for model year 2010.’’ It suggested that there be a period, applicable to the 2009 model year, during which a manufacturer would be allowed to comply with either the old or new system. TMA also urged quick adoption. NICB provided detailed comments that focused entirely on the issue of effective date. It said the changes to the VIN system are needed ‘‘urgently’’ and that a failure to implement the new structure within the next year would lead to ‘‘serious consequences.’’ NICB said NHTSA’s VIN regulation ‘‘will soon allow more than one vehicle to have the same Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). If the agency allows the VIN to become anything other than a truly unique identifier, it will cripple enforcement of the Anti-Car Theft Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act and a host of other Congressional mandates to protect Americans from car theft, salvage fraud and death or injury on the nation’s highways. It would also jeopardize counter-terrorism efforts, especially the investigation of car bombings.’’ NICB urged the immediate adoption of a final rule with an effective date of November 1, 2008. NICB said, ‘‘NHTSA’s proposed effective date for MY 2010 cars— September 1, 2009—is far too late because VINs for any new model year get assigned months before new cars arrive in dealers’ showrooms. NICB’s Shipping and Assembly File, which includes nearly all motor vehicles produced for sale in the United States, typically receives from manufacturers some pre-production VIN assignments before the end of the calendar year that is two years before the model year. In other words, NICB will begin to receive assignments for MY 2010 cars in November 2008. In any case, manufacturers assign VINs toward the beginning of the production process, not on their date of sale, so NICB will receive large numbers of MY 2010 VINs by April, 2009, in anticipation of consumer sales in September, 2009.’’ Failure to have a new regulation in effect by November 2008 ‘‘will cause VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 unneeded confusion, expense, time to obtain and add decoding for two MY 2010 formats and possible computer conflicts with VIN decoding for MY 2010 vehicles,’’ NICB said. Ford cautioned that delay of publication of the final rule will cause the company to incur costs and/or cause delays in the manufacturing of vehicles assigned VINs under the current Part 565. The company noted that under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation, 40 CFR 86.082–2, 2010 model year vehicles may be introduced as early as January 1, 2009 and production may begin even earlier. Ford also noted that adequate lead time is needed so that Transport Canada can modify CMVSS 115, which specifies the current Part 565 VIN structure and content. Agency Analysis and Response: The effective date of this final rule is two-fold. It becomes mandatory in one year. That is, all vehicles manufactured on or after the date one year from today must have VINs that meet the requirements of this final rule. However, it also applies to vehicles manufactured 180 days after the date of publication of this rule that have the letter code ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position of the VIN. Its application to any particular vehicle based on a manufacturer using the letter ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position of the VIN under Part 565 allows for implementation of the new VIN requirements earlier than 1 year. The effective date will be different for different manufacturers and different vehicles manufactured by the same manufacturer because of the different times those vehicles are manufactured within the same model year. In 1 year VINs will have to conform to the new VIN requirements of this final rule. Before the 1 year date, a VIN will have to conform to the new requirements if there is a letter ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position. Under the current Part 565, a chart indicates the numbers and letters that are required in the 10th position for particular model year vehicles. The 2010 model year is the first time a character in this chart, in this case an ‘‘A’’, would be repeated in the 10th position, which under the current Part 565 allows for both the possibility of duplicate VINs and a situation in which a VIN user would not be able to tell whether a vehicle was manufactured as a 2010 model year vehicle or a model year 30 years earlier when ‘‘A’’ was last used in the 10th position. Under the amended Part 565, however, an ‘‘A’’ or a ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position must be newly accompanied by an alphabetic character in the 7th position, which ensures that the VIN will not be PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 duplicative of a VIN issued for model year vehicle 30 years ago. The agency has therefore adopted the use of ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position as the trigger by which a manufacturer must apply the new requirements of today’s rule. These new requirements will both avoid duplicate VINs and enable a VIN user to distinguish the 30 year period in which a vehicle was manufactured. NHTSA very much appreciates the concerns expressed over the need for the timely publication of this final rule. We believe the effective date of the rule gives regulated parties ample time to make the changes necessary to comply with the revised requirements of Part 565. The current VIN requirements need to be retained for an interim period during the changeover to the new VIN requirements, for the benefit of any manufacturer that might be using the current Part 565 VIN regulation. The agency is moving the current VIN requirements to a subpart in part 565, and applying that regulation to vehicles manufactured between today and a date 1 year from today’s date that do not have an ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position of the VIN. B. Summary of Amendments Adopted in This Final Rule • The current 30 year period during which the VINs of any two vehicles subject to Part 565 may not be identical has been extended to 60 years. • A vehicle’s ‘‘make’’ must now be communicated in, and decipherable from, the second section of the VIN (positions 4–8), rather than being included in the manufacturer identifier. • For passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs) or less, positions 4, 5, and 6 may now be either alphabetic or numeric. • For passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lbs.) or less, VIN position 7 must now be alphabetic. Numeric or alphabetic characters continue to be permitted in position 7 for all other vehicles. • The ‘‘Year Codes for VIN’’ table in Part 565 has been revised to include character designations for years up to, and including, 2039 to account for the expanded period of time during which the current VIN system will remain in existence under this final rule. • Vehicle attributes to be communicated in, and decipherable from VINs of LSVs are included in Part 565, which now clearly covers LSVs. E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations • Restraint information is added to multipurpose passenger vehicle VINs. • The VINs of LSVs must be in the same location as VINs for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less. • The vehicles to which Part 565.5— Motor vehicles imported into the United States applies have been expanded from ‘‘passenger cars’’ to ‘‘passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, low speed vehicles and trucks of 4536 kg or less GVWR.’’ • Language has been added to Part 565 to indicate that the number ‘‘9’’ in the third VIN position means that the vehicle is produced in sufficiently small quantities that a low-volume manufacturer identifier applies and that positions 12–14 are therefore part of the manufacturer identifier. • A table and an explanatory note have been added to Part 565 that specifically indicates the digit that should appear in the ninth position of the VIN. • New definitions have been added for ‘‘low-volume manufacturer,’’ ‘‘highvolume manufacturer,’’ and ‘‘manufacturer identifier.’’ • The dividing line between highvolume and low-volume manufacturers, which determines whether a three character or six character manufacturer identifier is required, has been set at 1,000 vehicles, with those manufacturers manufacturing 1,000 or more vehicles considered to be highvolume manufacturers. • The contact details for the SAE in Part 565 have been revised. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES IV. Rulemaking Analyses and Notice Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures This rulemaking document was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866. It is not considered to be significant under E.O. 12866 or the Department’s Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979). This document changes the VIN requirements that for the most part provide manufacturers greater flexibility in meeting VIN requirements: • The rule helps to sustain the supply of unique available manufacturer identifiers for large manufacturers, because they will no longer need to request additional manufacturer identifiers for new vehicle makes that they produce. • The rule permits the use of either alphabetic or numeric characters in many positions of the VIN. • The rule permits low-volume manufacturers to manufacture 999 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 vehicles (increased from 499) before a new high-volume manufacturer identifier is required. • The rule reduces or eliminates the waiting period before the time a manufacturer identifier or VIN can be used. • The rule adds low-speed vehicles to the list of vehicles to which Part 565 applies, and adds attributes of LSVs that should be identified by an LSV’s VIN. Vehicle manufacturers, including those of low-speed vehicles, are already required to label their vehicles with a VIN and report to NHTSA information relating to deciphering the characters in the VIN. This rule does not substantially change those requirements. The minimal impacts of today’s amendments do not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation. NHTSA cannot quantify direct safety impacts of this rule. However, NHTSA believes that this rule will have a beneficial effect on safety in that it ensures the continued integrity of the VIN system (ensuring that vehicles will continue to be uniquely identified). There may be some cost impacts in changing data systems to account for features of the VIN that are different than those of current VINs (e.g., the use of alphabetic and numeric characters in certain VIN positions). However, NHTSA does not believe that the costs will be significant. In fact, manufacturers of most vehicles less than 10,000 lb GVWR will need to do nothing more initially than change their systems so that an alphabetic character appears in position 7 of the VIN to comply with today’s rule. For all other VIN positions, these manufacturers may continue to use current systems to generate VIN characters using the old character limitations. Because of the change from a numeric character to an alphabetic character in position 7, unique VINs will be assured. These manufacturers will be able to adjust their systems as needed over time to be able to generate VIN characters under the expanded options for characters contained in the final rule. This ability to adapt slowly to the final rule will further ameliorate the cost impact of the final rule. The members of the committee representing operators of data systems that utilize the 17-character VIN system indicated that there would be some costs involved in making software and other modifications to data systems, but that those costs would be extremely small compared to what would be required to deal with an expanded number of VIN characters. The petition noted that ‘‘any increase in the quantity of characters beyond the current seventeen would require massive PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23377 software changes to all programs that use a motor vehicle VIN, and would affect not only automotive OEM’s, but also state DMV’s, local governments, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, research companies, NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, as well as others.’’ Regulatory Flexibility Act Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions). The Small Business Administration’s regulations at 13 CFR part 121 define a small business, in part, as a business entity ‘‘which operates primarily within the United States.’’ (13 CFR 121.105(a)). No regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. NHTSA has considered the effects of this rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. I certify that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Any small vehicle manufacturers that stand to be affected by this rule are already required to provide a VIN and provide information to NHTSA that enables the VIN to be deciphered. Manufacturers of low-speed vehicles will have to make sure that the VIN reflects the LSV features newly added to Table 1 of Part 565, but the burden associated with that responsibility should be negligible and will not result in a significant economic impact. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism) NHTSA has examined this rule pursuant to Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and concluded that no additional consultation with States, local governments or their representatives is mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency has concluded that the rule does not have federalism implications because the rule does not E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 23378 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES have ‘‘substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.’’ We note that the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) was a member of the SAE committee that submitted the petition prompting this rulemaking. Further, no consultation is needed to discuss the preemptive effect of today’s rule. NHTSA rules can have preemptive effect in at least two ways. First, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express preemption provision: ‘‘When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter.’’ 49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1). In addition to the express preemption noted above, the Supreme Court has also recognized that State requirements imposed on motor vehicle manufacturers, including sanctions imposed by State tort law, can stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of a NHTSA safety standard. When such a conflict is discerned, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes the State requirements unenforceable. See Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000). NHTSA has not outlined such potential State requirements in today’s rulemaking, however, in part because such conflicts can arise in varied contexts, but it is conceivable that such a conflict may become clear through subsequent experience with today’s rule. NHTSA may opine on such conflicts in the future, if warranted. See id. at 883–86. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104–113), ‘‘all Federal agencies and departments shall use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies and departments.’’ Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 consensus standards bodies, such as SAE. The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when we decide not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. This rule will make Part 565’s requirements for manufacturer identifiers and for identifying attributes of the specific vehicle type more consistent with SAE and ISO standards for vehicle identification. The rule will permit the use of alphabetic and numeric characters in certain VIN positions, which is likely to substantially increase harmonization of Part 565 with the ISO identification standard. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million annually (adjusted annually for inflation with base year of 1995). Adjusting this amount by the implicit gross domestic product price deflator for the year 2007 results in $130 million annually (119.682 / 92.106 = 1.30). This final rule will not result in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector in excess of $130 million annually. National Environmental Policy Act NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that implementation of this action will not have any significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) When promulgating a regulation, Executive Order 12988 specifically requires that the agency must make every reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation, as appropriate: (1) Specifies in clear language the preemptive effect; (2) specifies in clear language the effect on existing Federal law or regulation, including all provisions repealed, circumscribed, displaced, impaired, or modified; (3) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, while promoting simplification and burden reduction; (4) specifies in clear language the retroactive effect; (5) specifies whether administrative proceedings are to be required before parties may file PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 suit in court; (6) explicitly or implicitly defines key terms; and (7) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship of regulations. NHTSA has reviewed this rule according to the general requirements and the specific requirements for regulations set forth in Executive Order 12988. This rule does not result in any preemptive effect and does not have a retroactive effect. A petition for reconsideration or other administrative proceeding is not required before parties may file suit in court. Paperwork Reduction Act Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. The Consolidated VIN Requirements have an OMB control number of 2127–0510. Although the agency may require information to be provided in a slightly different way as a result of this final rule (e.g., vehicle make being transferred from the first to the second section of the VIN), the scope of the overall reporting requirements of Part 565 will not change. We emphasize that there will be no increase or decrease in the collection of information because of this rulemaking. Plain Language Executive Order 12866 and the President’s memorandum of June 1, 1998, require each agency to write all rules in plain language. Application of the principles of plain language includes consideration of the following questions: • Have we organized the material to suit the public’s needs? • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? • Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that isn’t clear? • Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand? • Would more (but shorter) sections be better? • Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or diagrams? • What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand? If you have any responses to these questions, please send them to the address provided at the beginning of this document. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier number E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda. Privacy Act Please note that anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477– 78). List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 565 Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements; incorporation by reference. I In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA revises 49 CFR part 565 to read as follows: PART 565—VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (VIN) REQUIREMENTS Subpart A—General Applicability of Subparts Sec. 565.1 Purpose and scope. 565.2 Application. Subpart B—VIN Requirements Sec. 565.10 Purpose and scope. 565.11 Applicability. 565.12 Definitions. 565.13 General requirements. 565.14 Motor vehicles imported into the United States. 565.15 Content requirements. 565.16 Reporting requirements. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES Subpart A—General Applicability of Subparts Purpose and scope. This part specifies the format, content and physical requirements for a vehicle 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 Application. (a) Subpart B of this part 565 applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers (including trailer kits), incomplete vehicles, low speed vehicles, and motorcycles manufactured on or after October 27, 2008 whose VINs have a letter ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position, and to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers (including trailer kits), incomplete vehicles, low speed vehicles, and motorcycles manufactured on or after April 30, 2009. Vehicles imported into the United States under 49 CFR 591.14(f), other than by the corporation responsible for the assembly of that vehicle or a subsidiary of such a corporation, are excluded from requirements of § 565.13(b), § 565.13(c), § 565.13(g), § 565.13(h), § 565.14 and § 565.15. (b) Subpart C of this part 565 sets forth alternative VIN requirements for certain vehicles manufactured on or after April 30, 2008 and before April 30, 2009. For those vehicles, a manufacturer may, at its option, comply with the requirements of Subpart C instead of the requirements of Subpart B of this part, provided that the vehicle identification number (VIN) does not have a letter ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position of the VIN. § 565.10 Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, 30141, 30146, 30166, and 30168; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. VerDate Aug<31>2005 § 565.2 Subpart B—VIN Requirements Subpart C—Alternative VIN Requirements In Effect for Limited Period 565.20 Purpose and scope. 565.21 Applicability. 565.22 Definitions. 565.23 General requirements. 565.24 Motor vehicles imported into the United States. 565.25 Content requirements. 565.26 Reporting requirements. § 565.1 identification number (VIN) system and its installation to simplify vehicle identification information retrieval and to increase the accuracy and efficiency of vehicle recall campaigns. Purpose and scope. This part specifies the format, content and physical requirements for a vehicle identification number (VIN) system and its installation to simplify vehicle identification information retrieval and to increase the accuracy and efficiency of vehicle recall campaigns. § 565.11 Applicability. See Subpart A of this part 572 regarding the general applicability of this subpart. This part applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers (including trailer kits), incomplete vehicles, low speed vehicles, and motorcycles manufactured on or after October 27, 2008 whose VINs have a letter ‘‘A’’ or ‘‘B’’ in the 10th position, and to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers (including trailer kits), incomplete vehicles, low speed vehicles, and motorcycles manufactured on or after April 30 2009. Vehicles PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23379 imported into the United States under 49 CFR 591.14(f), other than by the corporation responsible for the assembly of that vehicle or a subsidiary of such a corporation, are excluded from requirements of § 565.13(b), § 565.13(c), § 565.13(g), § 565.13(h), § 565.14 and § 565.15. § 565.12 Definitions. (a) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Definitions. Unless otherwise indicated, all terms used in this part that are defined in 49 CFR 571.3 are used as defined in 49 CFR 571.3. (b) Body type means the general configuration or shape of a vehicle distinguished by such characteristics as the number of doors or windows, cargocarrying features and the roofline (e.g., sedan, fastback, hatchback). (c) Check digit means a single number or the letter X used to verify the accuracy of the transcription of the vehicle identification number. (d) Engine type means a power source with defined characteristics such as fuel utilized, number of cylinders, displacement, and net brake horsepower. The specific manufacturer and make shall be represented if the engine powers a passenger car or a multipurpose passenger vehicle, or truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less. (e) High-volume manufacturer, for purposes of this part, means a manufacturer of 1,000 or more vehicles of a given type each year. (f) Incomplete vehicle means an assemblage consisting, as a minimum, of frame and chassis structure, power train, steering system, suspension system and braking system, to the extent that those systems are to be part of the completed vehicle, that requires further manufacturing operations, other than the addition of readily attachable components, such as mirrors or tire and rim assemblies, or minor finishing operations such as painting, to become a completed vehicle. (g) Line means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles within a make which have a degree of commonality in construction, such as body, chassis or cab type. (h) Low-volume manufacturer, for purposes of this part, means a manufacturer of fewer than 1,000 vehicles of a given type each year. (i) Make means a name that a manufacturer applies to a group of vehicles or engines. (j) Manufacturer means a person— (1) Manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment; or E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 23380 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations (2) Importing motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment for resale. (k) Manufacturer identifier means the first three digits of a VIN of a vehicle manufactured by a high-volume manufacturer, and the first three digits of a VIN and the twelfth through fourteenth digits of a VIN of a vehicle manufactured by a low-volume manufacturer. (l) Model means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles of the same type, make, line, series and body type. (m) Model year means the year used to designate a discrete vehicle model, irrespective of the calendar year in which the vehicle was actually produced, provided that the production period does not exceed 24 months. (n) Plant of manufacture means the plant where the manufacturer affixes the VIN. (o) Series means a name that a manufacturer applies to a subdivision of a ‘‘line’’ denoting price, size or weight identification and that is used by the manufacturer for marketing purposes. (p) Trailer kit means a trailer that is fabricated and delivered in complete but unassembled form and that is designed to be assembled without special machinery or tools. (q) Type means a class of vehicle distinguished by common traits, including design and purpose. Passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers, incomplete vehicles, low speed vehicles, and motorcycles are separate types. (r) VIN means a series of Arabic numbers and Roman letters that is assigned to a motor vehicle for identification purposes. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES § 565.13 General requirements. (a) Each vehicle manufactured in one stage shall have a VIN that is assigned by the manufacturer. Each vehicle manufactured in more than one stage shall have a VIN assigned by the incomplete vehicle manufacturer. Vehicle alterers, as specified in 49 CFR 567.16, shall utilize the VIN assigned by the original manufacturer of the vehicle. (b) Each VIN shall consist of seventeen (17) characters. (c) A check digit shall be part of each VIN. The check digit shall appear in position nine (9) of the VIN, on the vehicle and on any transfer documents containing the VIN prepared by the manufacturer to be given to the first owner for purposes other than resale. (d) The VINs of any two vehicles subject to the Federal motor vehicle safety standards and manufactured within a 60-year period beginning with VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 the 1980 model year shall not be identical. (e) The VIN of each vehicle shall appear clearly and indelibly upon either a part of the vehicle, other than the glazing, that is not designed to be removed except for repair or upon a separate plate or label that is permanently affixed to such a part. (f) The VIN for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, low speed vehicles, and trucks of 4536 kg or less GVWR shall be located inside the passenger compartment. It shall be readable, without moving any part of the vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight lighting conditions by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. Each character in the VIN subject to this paragraph shall have a minimum height of 4 mm. (g) Each character in each VIN shall be one of the letters in the set: [ABCDEFGHJKLMNPRSTUVWXYZ] or a numeral in the set: [0123456789] assigned according to the method given in § 565.14. (h) All spaces provided for in the VIN must be occupied by a character specified in paragraph (g) of this section. (i) The type face utilized for each VIN shall consist of capital, sanserif characters. § 565.14 Motor vehicles imported into the United States. (a) Importers shall utilize the VIN assigned by the original manufacturer of the motor vehicle. (b) All passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, low speed vehicles and trucks of 4536 kg or less GVWR certified by a Registered Importer under 49 CFR part 592 whose VINs do not comply with Part 565.13 and 565.14 shall have a plate or label that contains the following statement, in characters that have a minimum height of 4 mm and the identification number assigned by the vehicle’s original manufacturer inserted in the blank: SUBSTITUTE FOR U.S. VIN: lllll SEE 49 CFR PART 565. The plate or label shall conform to § 565.13 (h) and (i). The plate or label shall be permanently affixed inside the passenger compartment. The plate or label shall be readable, without moving any part of the vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight conditions by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. It shall be located in such a manner as not to cover, obscure, or overlay any part of any identification PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 number affixed by the original manufacturer. Motor vehicles conforming to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 115 are exempt from this paragraph. § 565.15 Content requirements. (a) The first section shall consist of three characters that occupy positions one through three (1–3) in the VIN. This section shall uniquely identify the manufacturer and type of the motor vehicle if the manufacturer is a highvolume manufacturer. If the manufacturer is a low-volume manufacturer, positions one through three (1–3) along with positions twelve through fourteen (12–14) in the VIN shall uniquely identify the manufacturer and type of the motor vehicle. These characters are assigned in accordance with § 565.16(a). A ‘‘9’’ shall be placed in the third position of the VIN if the manufacturer identifier is six characters. A ‘‘9’’ in the third position always indicates the presence of a six-character manufacturer identifier. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers access to manufacturer identifier assignments via its search engine at the following Internet Web site: http:// www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/ manufacture. (b) The second section shall consist of five characters, which occupy positions four through eight (4–8) in the VIN. This section shall uniquely identify the attributes of the vehicle as specified in Table I. For passenger cars, and for multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, the fourth character (position 7) of this section shall be alphabetic. The characters utilized and their placement within the section may be determined by the manufacturer, but the specified attributes must be decipherable with information supplied by the manufacturer in accordance with § 565.16(c). In submitting the required information to NHTSA relating gross vehicle weight rating, the designations in Table II shall be used. The use of these designations within the VIN itself is not required. Tables I and II follow: TABLE I.—TYPE OF VEHICLE AND INFORMATION DECIPHERABLE Passenger car: Make, line, series, body type, engine type, and all restraint devices and their location. Multipurpose passenger vehicle: Make, line, series, body type, engine type, gross vehicle weight rating, and for multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4536kg (10,000 lb) or less all restraint devices and their location. E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 23381 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations TABLE I.—TYPE OF VEHICLE AND INFORMATION DECIPHERABLE—Continued TABLE II.—GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING CLASSES—Continued Class H—Greater than 4082 kg. to 4536 kg. (9,001–10,000 lbs.) Class 3—Greater than 4536 kg. to 6350 kg. (10,001–14,000 lbs.) Class 4—Greater than 6350 kg. to 7257 kg. (14,001–16,000 lbs.) Class 5—Greater than 7257 kg. to 8845 kg. (16,001–19,500 lbs.) Class 6—Greater than 8845 kg. to 11793 kg. (19,501–26,000 lbs.) Class 7—Greater than 11793 kg. to 14968 kg.(26,001–33,000 lbs.) Class 8—Greater than 14968 kg. (33,001 lbs. and over) Truck: Make, model or line, series, chassis, cab type, engine type, brake system, gross vehicle weight rating, and for trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less all restraint devices and their location. Bus: Make, model or line, series, body type, engine type, and brake system. Trailer, including trailer kits and incomplete trailer: Make, type of trailer, body type, length and axle configuration. Motorcycle: Make, type of motorcycle, line, engine type, and net brake horsepower. Incomplete vehicle other than a trailer: Make, model or line, series, cab type, engine type, and brake system. Low speed vehicle: Make, engine type, brake system, restraint system type, body type, and gross vehicle weight rating. Note to Table I: Engine net brake horsepower when encoded in the VIN shall differ by no more than 10 percent from the actual net brake horsepower; shall in the case of motorcycle with an actual net brake horsepower of 2 or less, be not more than 2; and shall be greater than 2 in the case of a motorcycle with an actual brake horsepower greater than 2. (c) The third section shall consist of one character, which occupies position nine (9) in the VIN. This section shall be the check digit whose purpose is to provide a means for verifying the accuracy of any VIN transcription. After all other characters in VIN have been determined by the manufacturer, the check digit shall be calculated by carrying out the mathematical computation specified in paragraphs (c) (1) through (4) of this section. (1) Assign to each number in the VIN its actual mathematical value and assign to each letter the value specified for it in Table III, as follows: TABLE II.—GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING CLASSES TABLE III.—ASSIGNED VALUES Class A—Not greater than 1360 kg. (3,000 lbs.) Class B—Greater than 1360 kg. to 1814 kg. (3,001–4,000 lbs.) Class C—Greater than 1814 kg. to 2268 kg. (4,001–5,000 lbs.) Class D—Greater than 2268 kg. to 2722 kg. (5,001–6,000 lbs.) Class E—Greater than 2722 kg. to 3175 kg. (6,001–7,000 lbs.) Class F—Greater than 3175 kg. to 3629 kg. (7,001–8,000 lbs.) Class G—Greater than 3629 kg. to 4082 kg. (8,001–9,000 lbs.) A=1 B=2 C=3 D=4 E=5 F=6 G=7 H=8 J=1 K=2 L=3 M=4 N=5 TABLE III.—ASSIGNED VALUES— Continued P=7 R=9 S=2 T=3 U=4 V=5 W=6 X=7 Y=8 Z=9 (2) Multiply the assigned value for each character in the VIN by the position weight factor specified in Table IV, as follows: TABLE IV.—VIN POSITION AND WEIGHT FACTOR 1st ....................................... 2d ........................................ 3d ........................................ 4th ....................................... 5th ....................................... 6th ....................................... 7th ....................................... 8th ....................................... 9th ....................................... 10th ..................................... 11th ..................................... 12th ..................................... 13th ..................................... 14th ..................................... 15th ..................................... 16th ..................................... 17th ..................................... 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 10 (check digit) 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 (3) Add the resulting products and divide the total by 11. (4) The check digit is based on either the Fractional Remainder or the Decimal Equivalent Remainder as reflected in Table V. All Decimal Equivalent Remainders in Table V are rounded to the nearest thousandth. The check digit, zero through nine (0–9) or the letter ‘‘X’’ shall appear in VIN position nine (9). TABLE V.—NINTH POSITION CHECK DIGIT VALUES [Rounded to the nearest thousandth] Fractional Remainder ............................... Decimal Equivalent Remainder ................ Check Digit ............................................... 0 0 0 1/11 0.091 1 2/11 0.182 2 3/11 0.273 3 4/11 0.364 4 5/11 0.455 5 6/11 0.545 6 7/11 0.634 7 8/11 0.727 8 9/11 0.818 9 10/11 0.909 X (5) A sample check digit calculation is shown in Table VI as follows: mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES TABLE VI.—CALCULATION OF A CHECK DIGIT Vin Position ........... Sample VIN .......... Assigned Value ..... Weight Factor ....... VerDate Aug<31>2005 1 1 1 8 16:56 Apr 29, 2008 2 G 7 7 3 4 4 6 Jkt 214001 4 A 1 5 PO 00000 5 H 8 4 Frm 00061 6 5 5 3 7 9 9 2 Fmt 4700 8 H 8 10 9 ........ ........ 0 Sfmt 4700 10 5 5 9 11 G 7 8 E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 12 1 1 7 30APR1 13 1 1 6 14 8 8 5 15 3 3 4 16 4 4 3 17 1 1 2 23382 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations TABLE VI.—CALCULATION OF A CHECK DIGIT—Continued Multiply Assigned value times weight factor ...... 8 49 24 5 32 15 18 80 0 45 56 7 6 40 12 12 2 Add products: 8+49+24+5+32+15+18+80+0+45+56+7+6+40+12+12+2 = 411. Divide by 11: 411/11 = 37 4/11 or 37.3636. If the fourth digit is 5 or greater, round up. If the fourth digit is 4 or smaller, round down. In the example above, the remainder is 4/11 or 0.364 when rounded up. Looking up the remainder in Table V—Ninth Position Check Digit Values indicates that ‘‘4’’ is the check digit to be inserted in position nine (9) of the VIN for this sample digit calculation. International, 400 Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, Pennsylvania, 15096, Attention: WMI Coordinator Year Code (telephone: 724–776–4841). Any requests for identifiers submitted to 2039 ..................................................... 9 NHTSA will be forwarded to SAE. Note to Table VII: For passenger cars, and Manufacturers may request a specific for multipurpose passenger vehicles and identifier or may request only trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of assignment of an identifier(s). SAE will 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, if position 7 is nu- review requests for specific identifiers meric, the Model Year in position 10 of the VIN refers to a year in the range 1980–2009. to determine that they do not conflict If position 7 is alphabetic, the Model Year in with an identifier already assigned or Position 10 of the VIN refers to a year in the block of identifiers already reserved. range 2010–2039. SAE will confirm the assignments in (2) The second character of the fourth writing to the requester. Once confirmed section shall represent the plant of by SAE, the identifier need not be manufacture. resubmitted to NHTSA. (3) The third through the eighth (b) Manufacturers of vehicles subject characters of the fourth section VIN to this part shall submit, either directly (positions 12 through 17) shall represent or through an agent, the unique Code the number sequentially assigned by the identifier for each make and type of manufacturer in the production process vehicle it manufactures at least 60 days 5 if the manufacturer is a high-volume before affixing the first VIN using the 6 manufacturer. If a manufacturer is a identifier. Manufacturers whose unique 7 low-volume manufacturer, the third, identifier appears in the fourth section 8 fourth, and fifth characters of the fourth of the VIN shall also submit the three 9 section (positions 12, 13, and 14), characters of the first section that A combined with the three characters of constitutes a part of their identifier. B the first section (positions 1, 2, and 3), (c) Manufacturers of vehicles subject C shall uniquely identify the manufacturer to the requirements of this part shall D and type of the motor vehicle and the submit to NHTSA the information E sixth, seventh, and eighth characters of necessary to decipher the characters F the fourth section (positions 15, 16, and contained in its VINs. Amendments to G 17) shall represent the number this information shall be submitted to H sequentially assigned by the J manufacturer in the production process. the agency for VINs containing an amended coding. The agency will not K routinely provide written approvals of L § 565.16 Reporting requirements. these submissions, but will contact the M The information collection N requirements contained in this part have manufacturer should any corrections to these submissions be necessary. P been approved by the Office of R Management and Budget under the (d) The information required under S provisions of the Paperwork Reduction paragraph (c) of this section shall be T Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. ) and have submitted at least 60 days prior to V been assigned OMB Control Number offering for sale the first vehicle W 2127–0510. identified by a VIN containing that X (a) The National Highway Traffic information, or if information Y Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concerning vehicle characteristics 1 contracted with the SAE International to sufficient to specify the VIN code is 2 coordinate the assignment of unavailable to the manufacturer by that 3 manufacturer identifiers to date, then within one week after that 4 manufacturers in the United States. information first becomes available. The 5 Manufacturer identifiers will be information shall be addressed to: 6 supplied by SAE at no charge. All Administrator, National Highway 7 requests for assignments of Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New 8 manufacturer identifiers should be Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC forwarded directly to: SAE 20590, Attention: VIN Coordinator. (d) The fourth section shall consist of eight characters, which occupy positions ten through seventeen (10–17) of the VIN. The last five (5) characters of this section shall be numeric for passenger cars and for multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less, and the last four (4) characters shall be numeric for all other vehicles. (1) The first character of the fourth section shall represent the vehicle model year. The year shall be designated as indicated in Table VII as follows: TABLE VII.—YEAR CODES FOR mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033 2034 2035 2036 2037 2038 ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 TABLE VII.—YEAR CODES FOR VIN— Continued PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations Subpart C—Alternative VIN Requirements In Effect for Limited Period § 565.20 Purpose and scope. This part specifies the format, content and physical requirements for a vehicle identification number (VIN) system and its installation to simplify vehicle identification information retrieval and to increase the accuracy and efficiency of vehicle recall campaigns. § 565.21 Applicability. See Subpart A of this part 572 regarding the applicability of this subpart. This part applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers (including trailer kits), incomplete vehicles, and motorcycles. Vehicles imported into the United States under 49 CFR 591.24(f), other than by the corporation responsible for the assembly of that vehicle or a subsidiary of such a corporation, are excluded from requirements of § 565.23(b), § 565.23(c), § 565.23(g), § 565.23(h), § 565.24 and § 565.25. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES § 565.22 Definitions. (a) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Definitions. Unless otherwise indicated, all terms used in this part that are defined in 49 CFR 571.3 are used as defined in 49 CFR 571.3. (b) Body type means the general configuration or shape of a vehicle distinguished by such characteristics as the number of doors or windows, cargocarrying features and the roofline (e.g., sedan, fastback, hatchback). (c) Check digit means a single number or the letter X used to verify the accuracy of the transcription of the vehicle identification number. (d) Engine type means a power source with defined characteristics such as fuel utilized, number of cylinders, displacement, and net brake horsepower. The specific manufacturer and make shall be represented if the engine powers a passenger car or a multipurpose passenger vehicle, or truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less. (e) Incomplete vehicle means an assemblage consisting, as a minimum, of frame and chassis structure, power train, steering system, suspension system and braking system, to the extent that those systems are to be part of the completed vehicle, that requires further manufacturing operations, other than the addition of readily attachable components, such as mirrors or tire and rim assemblies, or minor finishing operations such as painting, to become a completed vehicle. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 (f) Line means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles within a make which have a degree of commonality in construction, such as body, chassis or cab type. (g) Make means a name that a manufacturer applies to a group of vehicles or engines. (h) Manufacturer means a person— (1) Manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment; or (2) Importing motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment for resale. (i) Model means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles of the same type, make, line, series and body type. (j) Model Year means the year used to designate a discrete vehicle model, irrespective of the calendar year in which the vehicle was actually produced, provided that the production period does not exceed 24 months. (k) Plant of manufacture means the plant where the manufacturer affixes the VIN. (l) Series means a name that a manufacturer applies to a subdivision of a ‘‘line’’ denoting price, size or weight identification and that is used by the manufacturer for marketing purposes. (m) Trailer kit means a trailer that is fabricated and delivered in complete but unassembled form and that is designed to be assembled without special machinery or tools. (n) Type means a class of vehicle distinguished by common traits, including design and purpose. Passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers, incomplete vehicles and motorcycles are separate types. (o) VIN means a series of Arabic numbers and Roman letters that is assigned to a motor vehicle for identification purposes. § 565.23 General requirements. (a) Each vehicle manufactured in one stage shall have a VIN that is assigned by the manufacturer. Each vehicle manufactured in more than one stage shall have a VIN assigned by the incomplete vehicle manufacturer. Vehicle alterers, as specified in 49 CFR 567.26, shall utilize the VIN assigned by the original manufacturer of the vehicle. (b) Each VIN shall consist of seventeen (17) characters. (c) A check digit shall be part of each VIN. The check digit shall appear in position nine (9) of the VIN, on the vehicle and on any transfer documents containing the VIN prepared by the manufacturer to be given to the first owner for purposes other than resale. PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23383 (d) The VINs of any two vehicles manufactured within a 30-year period shall not be identical. (e) The VIN of each vehicle shall appear clearly and indelibly upon either a part of the vehicle, other than the glazing, that is not designed to be removed except for repair or upon a separate plate or label that is permanently affixed to such a part. (f) The VIN for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks of 4536 kg or less GVWR shall be located inside the passenger compartment. It shall be readable, without moving any part of the vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight lighting conditions by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. Each character in the VIN subject to this paragraph shall have a minimum height of 4 mm. (g) Each character in each VIN shall be one of the letters in the set: [ABCDEFGHJKLMNPRSTUVWXYZ] or a numeral in the set: [0123456789] assigned according to the method given in § 565.24. (h) All spaces provided for in the VIN must be occupied by a character specified in paragraph (g) of this section. (i) The type face utilized for each VIN shall consist of capital, sanserif characters. § 565.24 Motor vehicles imported into the United States. (a) Importers shall utilize the VIN assigned by the original manufacturer of the motor vehicle. (b) A passenger car certified by a Registered Importer under 49 CFR part 592 shall have a plate or label that contains the following statement, in characters with a minimum height of 4 mm, with the identification number assigned by the original manufacturer provided in the blank: SUBSTITUTE FOR U.S. VIN:lllSEE PART 565. The plate or label shall conform to § 565.23 (h) and (i). The plate or label shall be permanently affixed inside the passenger compartment. The plate or label shall be readable, without moving any part of the vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight lighting conditions by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. It shall be located in such a manner as not to cover, obscure, or overlay any part of any identification number affixed by the original manufacturer. Passenger cars conforming to Canadian Motor Vehicle E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 23384 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations Safety Standard 115 are exempt from this paragraph. § 565.25 Content requirements. The VIN shall consist of four sections of characters which shall be grouped accordingly: (a) The first section shall consist of three characters that occupy positions one through three (1–3) in the VIN. This section shall uniquely identify the manufacturer, make and type of the motor vehicle if its manufacturer produces 500 or more motor vehicles of its type annually. If the manufacturer produces less than 500 motor vehicles of its type annually, these characters along with the third, fourth and fifth characters of the fourth section shall uniquely identify the manufacturer, make and type of the motor vehicle. These characters are assigned in accordance with § 565.26(a). (b) The second section shall consist of five characters, which occupy positions four through eight (4–8) in the VIN. This section shall uniquely identify the attributes of the vehicle as specified in Table VIII. For passenger cars, and for multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, the first and second characters shall be alphabetic and the third and fourth characters shall be numeric. The fifth character may be either alphabetic or numeric. The characters utilized and their placement within the section may be determined by the manufacturer, but the specified attributes must be decipherable with information supplied by the manufacturer in accordance with § 565.26(c). In submitting the required information to NHTSA relating to gross vehicle weight rating, the designations in Table IX shall be used. The use of these designations within the VIN itself is not required. Tables VIII and IX follow: TABLE VIII.—TYPE OF VEHICLE AND INFORMATION DECIPHERABLE Passenger car: Line, series, body type, engine type and restraint system type. Multipurpose passenger vehicle: Line, series, body type, engine type, gross vehicle weight rating. Truck: Model or line, series, chassis, cab type, engine type, brake system and gross vehicle weight rating. Bus: Model or line, series, body type, engine type, and brake system. Trailer, including trailer kits and incomplete trailer: Type of trailer, body type, length and axle configuration. Motorcycle: Type of motorcycle, line, engine type, and net brake horsepower. Incomplete Vehicle other than a trailer: Model or line, series, cab type, engine type and brake system. Note to Table VIII: Engine net brake horsepower when encoded in the VIN shall differ by no more than 10 percent from the actual net brake horsepower; shall in the case of motorcycle with an actual net brake horsepower of 2 or less, be not more than 2; and shall be greater than 2 in the case of a motorcycle with an actual brake horsepower greater than 2. TABLE IX.—GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING CLASSES mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES Class A—Not greater than 1360 kg. (3,000 lbs.) Class B—Greater than 1360 kg. to 1814 kg. (3,001–4,000 lbs.) Class C—Greater than 1814 kg. to 2268 kg. (4,001–5,000 lbs.) Class D—Greater than 2268 kg. to 2722 kg. (5,001–6,000 lbs.) Class E—Greater than 2722 kg. to 3175 kg. (6,001–7,000 lbs.) Class F—Greater than 3175 kg. to 3629 kg. (7,001–8,000 lbs.) Class G—Greater than 3629 kg. to 4082 kg. (8,001–9,000 lbs.) Class H—Greater than 4082 kg. to 4536 kg. (9,001–10,000 lbs.) Class 3—Greater than 4536 kg. to 6350 kg. (10,001–14,000 lbs.) Class 4—Greater than 6350 kg. to 7257 kg. (14,001–16,000 lbs.) Class 5—Greater than 7257 kg. to 8845 kg. (16,001–19,500 lbs.) Class 6—Greater than 8845 kg. to 11793 kg. (19,501–26,000 lbs.) Class 7—Greater than 11793 kg. to 14968 kg.(26,001–33,000 lbs.) Class 8—Greater than 14968 kg. (33,001 lbs. and over). (c) The third section shall consist of one character, which occupies position nine (9) in the VIN. This section shall be the check digit whose purpose is to provide a means for verifying the accuracy of any VIN transcription. After VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 all other characters in VIN have been determined by the manufacturer, the check digit shall be calculated by carrying out the mathematical computation specified in paragraphs (c) (1) through (4) of this section. (1) Assign to each number in the VIN its actual mathematical value and assign to each letter the value specified for it in Table X, as follows: TABLE X.—ASSIGNED VALUES A=1 B=2 C=3 D=4 E=5 F=6 G=7 H=8 J=1 K=2 L=3 M=4 N=5 P=7 R=9 S=2 T=3 U=4 V=5 W=6 X=7 Y=8 Z=9 PO 00000 Frm 00064 (2) Multiply the assigned value for each character in the VIN by the position weight factor specified in Table XI, as follows: TABLE XI.—VIN POSITION AND WEIGHT FACTOR 1st ......................................... 2d .......................................... 3d .......................................... 4th ......................................... 5th ......................................... 6th ......................................... 7th ......................................... 8th ......................................... 9th ......................................... 10th ....................................... 11th ....................................... 12th ....................................... 13th ....................................... 14th ....................................... 15th ....................................... 16th ....................................... 17th ....................................... 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 10 (check digit) 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 (3) Add the resulting products and divide the total by 11. (4) The numerical remainder is the check digit. If the remainder is 10 the letter ‘‘X’’ shall be used to designate the check digit. The correct numeric remainder, zero through nine (0–9) or the letter ‘‘X,’’ shall appear in VIN position nine (9). (5) A sample check digit calculation is shown in Table XII as follows: Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 84 / Wednesday, April 30, 2008 / Rules and Regulations 23385 TABLE XII.—CALCULATION OF A CHECK DIGIT VIN Position 12 ..... Sample VIN .......... Assigned Value ..... Weight Factor ....... Multiply Assigned value times ........ 1 1 1 8 2 G 7 7 3 4 4 6 4 A 1 5 5 H 8 4 6 5 5 3 7 9 9 2 8 H 8 10 9 ... ... 0 10 5 5 9 11 G 7 8 12 1 1 7 13 1 1 6 14 8 8 5 15 3 3 4 16 4 4 3 17 1 1 2 8 49 24 5 32 15 18 80 0 45 56 7 6 40 12 12 2 Add products: 8+49+24+5+32+15+18+80+0+45+56+7+6+40+12+12+2 = 411. Divide by 11: 411/11 = 37 4/11. The remainder is 4; this is the check digit to be inserted in position nine (9) of the VIN. (d) The fourth section shall consist of eight characters, which occupy positions ten through seventeen (10–17) of the VIN. The last five (5) characters of this section shall be numeric for passenger cars and for multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less, and the last four (4) characters shall be numeric for all other vehicles. (1) The first character of the fourth section shall represent the vehicle model year. The year shall be designated as indicated in Table XIII as follows: TABLE XIII.—YEAR CODES FOR VIN mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with RULES Year Code (3) The third through the eighth characters of the fourth section shall represent the number sequentially assigned by the manufacturer in the production process if the manufacturer produces 500 or more vehicles of its type annually. If the manufacturer produces less than 500 motor vehicles of its type annually, the third, fourth and fifth characters of the fourth section, combined with the three characters of the first section, shall uniquely identify the manufacturer, make and type of the motor vehicle and the sixth, seventh, and eighth characters of the fourth section shall represent the number sequentially assigned by the manufacturer in the production process. § 565.26 Reporting requirements. The information collection 1980 ..................................................... A requirements contained in this part have 1981 ..................................................... B been approved by the Office of 1982 ..................................................... C Management and Budget under the 1983 ..................................................... D provisions of the Paperwork Reduction 1984 ..................................................... E Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and have 1985 ..................................................... F been assigned OMB Control Number 1986 ..................................................... G 1987 ..................................................... H 2127–0510. (a) The National Highway Traffic 1988 ..................................................... J 1989 ..................................................... K Safety Administration (NHTSA) has 1990 ..................................................... L contracted with the SAE International 1991 ..................................................... M (SAE) to coordinate the assignment of 1992 ..................................................... N manufacturer identifiers. Manufacturer 1993 ..................................................... P identifiers will be supplied by SAE at 1994 ..................................................... R no charge. All requests for assignments 1995 ..................................................... S of manufacturer identifiers should be 1996 ..................................................... T 1997 ..................................................... V forwarded directly to: SAE 1998 ..................................................... W International, 400 Commonwealth 1999 ..................................................... X Drive, Warrendale, Pennsylvania 15096, 2000 ..................................................... Y Attention: WMI Coordinator. Any 2001 ..................................................... 1 requests for identifiers submitted to 2002 ..................................................... 2 NHTSA will be forwarded to SAE. 2003 ..................................................... 3 Manufacturers may request a specific 2004 ..................................................... 4 identifier or may request only 2005 ..................................................... 5 assignment of an identifier(s). SAE will 2006 ..................................................... 6 2007 ..................................................... 7 review requests for specific identifiers 2008 ..................................................... 8 to determine that they do not conflict 2009 ..................................................... 9 with an identifier already assigned or 2010 ..................................................... A block of identifiers already reserved. 2011 ..................................................... B SAE will confirm the assignments in 2012 ..................................................... C writing to the requester. Once confirmed 2013 ..................................................... D by SAE, the identifier need not be resubmitted to NHTSA. (2) The second character of the fourth (b) Manufacturers of vehicles subject section shall represent the plant of to this part shall submit, either directly manufacture. or through an agent, the unique VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:50 Apr 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 identifier for each make and type of vehicle it manufactures at least 60 days before affixing the first VIN using the identifier. Manufacturers whose unique identifier appears in the fourth section of the VIN shall also submit the three characters of the first section that constitutes a part of their identifier. (c) Manufacturers of vehicles subject to the requirements of this part shall submit to NHTSA the information necessary to decipher the characters contained in its VINs. Amendments to this information shall be submitted to the agency for VINs containing an amended coding. The agency will not routinely provide written approvals of these submissions, but will contact the manufacturer should any corrections to these submissions be necessary. (d) The information required under paragraph (c) of this section shall be submitted at least 60 days prior to offering for sale the first vehicle identified by a VIN containing that information, or if information concerning vehicle characteristics sufficient to specify the VIN code is unavailable to the manufacturer by that date, then within one week after that information first becomes available. The information shall be addressed to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, Attention: VIN Coordinator. Issued: April 24, 2008. Nicole R. Nason, Administrator. [FR Doc. 08–1197 Filed 4–25–08; 10:50 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P E:\FR\FM\30APR1.SGM 30APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 84 (Wednesday, April 30, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 23367-23385]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 08-1197]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 565

[Docket No. NHTSA 2008-0022]
RIN 2127-AJ99


Vehicle Identification Number Requirements

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This document amends 49 CFR Part 565, Vehicle Identification 
Number Requirements, to make certain changes in the 17-character 
vehicle identification number (VIN) system so that the system will 
remain viable for at least another 30 years. This rule was initiated by 
a petition from SAE International (formerly known as the Society of 
Automotive Engineers), which was concerned that the available supply of 
VINs, and particularly the manufacturer identifier part of the VIN, 
might run out. This final rule will ensure that there will be a 
sufficient number of unique manufacturer identifiers and VINs to use 
for at least another 30 years.

DATES: Effective Date: October 27, 2008.
    Compliance Dates: Amendments made in this rule apply to motor 
vehicles manufactured on or after October 27, 2008 whose VINs have a 
letter ``A'' or ``B'' in the 10th position of the VIN, and to all motor 
vehicles manufactured on or after April 30, 2009.
    Petitions for Reconsideration: Petitions for reconsideration of 
this rule must be received by June 16, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration should refer to the docket and 
notice number above and be submitted to: Administrator, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.
    See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION portion of this document (Section 
IV, Rulemaking Analyses and Notices) for DOT's Privacy Act Statement 
regarding documents submitted to the agency's dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may contact 
Mr. Kenneth O. Hardie, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards (NVS-120), 
NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590 (Telephone: 
202-366-6987) (FAX: 202-366-7002).
    For legal issues, you may contact Ms. Rebecca Schade, Office of the 
Chief Counsel, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590 
(Telephone: 202-366-2992) (FAX: 202-366-3820).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
II. Background
    A. History and Overview of the VIN System
    B. Petition for Rulemaking
    C. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
III. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments
    A. Summary of Public Comments
    B. Summary of Amendments Adopted in This Final Rule
IV. Rulemaking Analyses and Notice

I. Executive Summary

    In response to a petition for rulemaking, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is amending 49 CFR Part 565, 
Vehicle Identification Number Requirements (Part 565), so that the 
supply of manufacturer identifiers and vehicle identification numbers 
available under this regulation will be sufficient for at least the 
next 30 years.
    To accomplish this, NHTSA is revising the requirements for where 
certain information must be communicated in a vehicle identification 
number (VIN) as well as the characters that may be used in some of the 
17 positions of the VIN for passenger cars and multipurpose passenger 
vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg 
(10,000 lb) or less. These changes will have two primary effects. 
First, the need to issue new manufacturer identifiers, particularly for 
large manufacturers, should be drastically reduced, thus preserving for 
a longer period of time the remaining combinations of characters that 
are available to be issued. Second, the changes will substantially 
increase the number of combinations of characters available in 
positions 4 through 8 of the VIN, as well as combinations of those 
characters with characters in the other VIN positions, so

[[Page 23368]]

that the number of available VINs will significantly increase, enabling 
the current 17-character system to continue for another 30 years and 
possibly longer.
    The final rule published today differs very little from the notice 
of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on October 2, 2007.\1\ The 
differences are as follows.
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    \1\ 72 FR 56027 (Oct. 2, 2007) (Docket No. NHTSA-2007-27830-
0001).
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     The date and conditions under which this rule becomes 
effective have been changed in response to comments that indicated a 
need for prompt implementation of this rule.
     While this rule now makes clear that Low Speed Vehicles 
(LSVs) require a VIN, LSVs have been dropped from the list of vehicles 
that would require, and be limited to the use of an alphabetic 
character in position 7 of the VIN. This was done in response to 
comments noting that the need for only an alphabetic character in 
position 7 applies mainly to passenger cars and multipurpose passenger 
vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg 
(10,000 lb) or less, not all other vehicles covered by 49 Part 565, 
such as trailers and low speed vehicles.
    Comments received in response to the NPRM generally supported the 
proposed changes to Part 565. Two commenters sought clarification as to 
how the new rule would apply to trailers. A small number of the 
comments recommended changes to what was proposed. These comments, 
however, reflected a less than complete understanding of the proposed 
changes and, in one case, the purpose of our proposal in helping to 
sustain the current 17-character VIN system over the next 30 years.
    Many of the comments raised issues that were either not 
specifically addressed in the NPRM or involved suggested uses of the 
VIN system that are outside the scope of either NHTSA's authority or 
the purpose and scope of the VIN system. For these reasons, changes to 
Part 565 suggested by the comments have not been made. A common 
suggestion of this type was that NHTSA include (in the information that 
must be communicated in the VIN) whether or not a vehicle is certified 
to California emission standards.
    In summary, the new VIN requirements apply to vehicles that are 
manufactured on or after October 27, 2008 whose VINs have a letter 
``A'' or ``B'' in the 10th position of the VIN, and to all vehicles 
manufactured on or after April 30, 2009.
    The principal changes to Part 565 issued today that impact the 
options vehicle manufacturers have in complying with Part 565 are as 
follows:
     Vehicle ``make'' will no longer be required to be 
identified in the manufacturer identifier of the VIN.
     Vehicle ``make'' will now need to be identified, along 
with other information items included in the previous version of Part 
565, in the second section of the VIN, which consists of VIN positions 
4-8.
     In generating VINs for vehicles that comply with Part 565, 
manufacturers of passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and 
trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or 
less will have an expanded number of characters available in positions 
4, 5, and 6 of the VIN. All three of these positions may now be either 
numeric or alphabetic. These manufacturers will also be required to use 
an alphabetic character in position 7 of the VIN.

II. Background

A. History and Overview of the VIN System

    Since 1954, American automobile manufacturers have used a vehicle 
identification number (VIN) to describe and identify each of the motor 
vehicles they manufacture. The early VINs came in a wide array of 
configurations and variations, depending on the individual 
manufacturer. A move to create a more systematic VIN scheme was made in 
1968, with the enactment of Federal motor vehicle safety standard 
(FMVSS) No. 115, which took effect January 1, 1969. That standard 
required each passenger car to have a VIN that is permanently ``sunk or 
embossed'' on a part of the vehicle visible through the glazing by a 
person standing at the left windshield pillar. Manufacturers were 
required to avoid having a VIN be repeated within a 10-year period.
    In response to a petition from the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers 
Association and Volkswagen of America, Inc., the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1976 began considering an even 
more structured and standardized system of VINs as well as expanding 
the system to additional classes of vehicles. This process led to the 
current system of 17-character VINs. A final rule implementing the new 
system was published on August 17, 1978.\2\ The rule stipulated that 
beginning with the 1981 model year, NHTSA would require that all over-
the-road-vehicles sold must contain a 17-character VIN in a fixed 
format. The standard further required that the VINs of any two vehicles 
manufactured within a 30 year period not be identical.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ 43 FR 36448 (Aug. 17, 1978) (Docket No. 1-22; Notice 5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On June 7, 1996, NHTSA issued a final rule consolidating all VIN 
requirements into 49 CFR Part 565.\3\ Federal motor vehicle safety 
standard (FMVSS) No. 115 was eliminated. Part 565 requires the 
manufacturer to assign a unique VIN to each passenger car, multipurpose 
passenger vehicle, truck, bus, trailer (including trailer kit), 
incomplete vehicle, and motorcycle that it produces.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ 61 FR 29031 (June 7, 1996) (Docket No. NHTSA-95-85; Notice 
2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One of the original purposes of the VIN system was to enhance 
public safety by deterring vehicle theft based on the assumption that 
drivers of stolen vehicles are more likely to operate those vehicles 
unsafely and thus be involved in vehicle crashes. The current 17-
character VIN system embodied in Part 565 continues to serve this 
purpose and, as stated in Part 565, also serves ``to increase the 
accuracy and efficiency of vehicle recall campaigns.'' Recalls are a 
critical tool for correcting safety defects in vehicles. The VIN has 
also become the key identifier in data systems that track such things 
as compliance with federal importation regulations, vehicle 
registrations, insurance coverage, and motor vehicle crashes. Entities 
that today utilize VINs in data systems include NHTSA, state motor 
vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, 
organizations involved in motor vehicle research, and manufacturers.
    Characters in a VIN are used in one of three ways. Some specific 
VIN positions represent a single item of information related to a 
vehicle. Other groups of VIN positions may be used individually or in 
combination to represent information that must be deciphered from a key 
that the manufacturer provides to NHTSA as required by Part 565. 
Utilizing combinations of at least some VIN positions has been 
necessary for some vehicles because the amount of information about a 
vehicle required by Part 565 to be represented in the first (positions 
1-3) and second (positions 4-8) sections of the VIN in some cases 
exceeds the number of positions available in those sections. Finally, 
the last digits of the VIN are used by manufacturers to sequentially 
number groups of similar vehicles that are manufactured. Small annual 
volume manufacturers use the last three digits to number vehicles. 
Large annual volume manufacturers use the last six digits.

[[Page 23369]]

    The VIN has four sections. The first consists of the first three 
VIN characters. For large manufacturers, these three positions 
represent a manufacturer identifier, which meets both the requirements 
of Part 565 and International Standard 3780: Road vehicles `` World 
manufacturer identifier (WMI) code (Small manufacturers must use a six 
character manufacturer identifier consisting of the first three VIN 
positions and positions 12-14). In International Standard 3780, adopted 
by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1980, 
the first three digits of the VIN are referred to as the World 
Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). Although it is common to refer to the 
first three digits of the VIN as the WMI, the first three digits will 
be referred to here as the ``manufacturer identifier'' because Part 565 
does not use the term ``WMI.'' Also, Part 565's requirements for the 
first three digits of the VIN differ somewhat from those of 
International Standard 3780 and it is Part 565's requirements that are 
affected by the final rule.
    NHTSA currently contracts with the SAE International (SAE) to 
coordinate and issue manufacturer identifiers that comply with Part 565 
to U.S. manufacturers. In issuing these identifiers, SAE also ensures 
that the identifiers comply with the requirements of International 
Standard 3780 for WMIs.
    Part 565 currently requires that manufacturers identify 
manufacturer, make and type of motor vehicle in the first three digits 
of a VIN. To comply with International Standard 3780, this section of 
the VIN must also indicate the country in which the vehicle was 
manufactured.
    The proliferation of vehicle makes for passenger vehicles has 
resulted in large manufacturers with multiple makes of vehicles having 
to obtain multiple manufacturer identifiers. This, in combination with 
large manufacturer identifiers issued to large manufacturers of other 
types of vehicles, has resulted in a drain on the supply of 
manufacturer identifiers/WMIs available for large U.S. manufacturers.
    The five characters in the second section (positions 4 through 8) 
of a VIN must identify attributes of the specific type of vehicle 
involved. These attributes are indicated in Table I in Part 565.15 
(formerly 565.6).
    The third VIN section consists of one character, called a check 
digit, in the ninth VIN position. It reflects a calculation specified 
in Part 565 that is based on the other VIN characters and that serves 
as a check against typographical errors in transcribing a VIN.
    The fourth section consists of positions 10-17. The first two, 
positions 10 and 11, are for the model year and plant of manufacture 
respectively. For large manufacturers, the last six characters are used 
to sequentially number vehicles in groups of similar vehicles that are 
manufactured by a given manufacturer. For manufacturers initially 
intending to produce fewer than 500 vehicles of a given type, VIN 
positions 12, 13, and 14 are additional characters used for the 
manufacturer's manufacturer identifier. Under the current version of 
Part 565, this means manufacturers that produce fewer than 500 vehicles 
of a given type have a six-digit manufacturer identifier consisting of 
the first three positions of the 17-character VIN, with the third 
position in practice always being a 9, and positions 12, 13, and 14. 
These small manufacturers use only the last three digits of the VIN to 
sequentially number similar vehicles they produce.
    When the current version of Part 565 went into effect beginning 
with the 1981 model year, it was anticipated that the permutations 
available under the 17-character system described in Part 565 would 
provide a sufficient number of unique VINs and manufacturer identifiers 
so that, as required by Part 565, ``the VINs of any two vehicles 
manufactured within a 30-year period shall not be identical.''

B. Petition for Rulemaking

    In a letter dated October 31, 2005,\4\ the SAE Vehicle 
Identification Number/World Manufacturer Identifier Technical Committee 
\5\ petitioned NHTSA to make certain changes to the current VIN system. 
The committee proposed ``minor revisions'' to Part 565 that it believed 
would both preserve the current 17-character VIN format while 
significantly expanding the universe of available unique manufacturer 
identifiers and VINs (At NHTSA's request, SAE submitted a subsequent 
letter dated February 23, 2006,\6\ clarifying certain items in the 
original petition). The petition proposed changes that would keep the 
current 17-character VIN, but would add to the characters that may 
appear in some of the VIN positions for passenger cars and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 
4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, thus adding significantly to the number of 
available unique VINs for these vehicles. In addition to changes that 
would expand the number of available manufacturer identifiers and VINs, 
the petitioners asked NHTSA: (1) To add to the Part 565 list of vehicle 
attributes those that must be communicated in, and decipherable from, 
the VIN of a low speed vehicle (LSV); (2) to clarify the way the 
``check digit'' as defined in Part 565 is determined; (3) to expand the 
restraint system information that must be decipherable from a passenger 
car VIN; and (4) to add language that further explains the typefaces 
permitted for a VIN. The petitioners further proposed that these 
changes take effect beginning with the 2010 model year due to concerns 
over the supply of manufacturer identifiers and the possibility of 
duplicate VINs being issued beginning with that model year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Docket No. NHTSA-2007-27830-0030.
    \5\ Organizations represented on the committee included: General 
Motors, International Truck and Engine Corporation, RL Polk & 
Company, The Hill Group, Freightliner Truck Division, American 
Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, American Suzuki Motor 
Corporation, Harley Davidson Motor Company, Motorcycle Industry 
Council, Ford Motor Company, Transport Canada, National Insurance 
Crime Bureau (NICB), DaimlerChrysler Corporation, and NHTSA. 
Representatives from Clifford Thames IMS in the United Kingdom, the 
Highway Loss Data Institute, and Caterpillar, Inc. also 
participated.
    \6\ Docket No. NHTSA-2007-27830-0031.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    NHTSA granted the petition by letter to the SAE dated March 7, 2006 
and published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal 
Register on October 2, 2007 (72 FR 56027). That notice proposed to 
adopt most, but not all of the changes to Part 565 suggested by SAE. 
The changes that were proposed in the NPRM were to:
     Expand to 60 years (the current 30 year period that is 
about to expire plus an additional 30 years) the period during which 
the VINs of any two vehicles subject to Part 565 may not be identical;
     Eliminate vehicle ``make'' from what needs to be 
communicated in, and decipherable from, the manufacturer identifier;
     Include ``make'' in what needs to be communicated in, and 
decipherable from, the second section of the VIN (positions 4-8) for 
all vehicles subject to Part 565;
     Change Part 565 so that alphabetic or numeric characters 
may be used in positions 4, 5 and 6 for passenger cars and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 
4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less (Currently positions 4 and 5 must be 
alphabetic and position 6 must be numeric for these vehicles. Either 
alphabetic or numeric characters have always been allowed in these 
positions

[[Page 23370]]

for other vehicles covered by the standard);
     Require that VIN position 7 be alphabetic for passenger 
cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross 
vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less (This position 
currently must be numeric for these vehicles. Either an alphabetic or 
numeric character can be used in this position for other vehicles 
covered by the standard);
     Make clear that Part 565 applies to Low Speed Vehicles 
(LSVs);
     Include in Part 565 specific attributes for LSVs that must 
be communicated in, and decipherable from, a VIN;
     Require that the VIN plate for LSVs be placed in the same 
location as passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and 
trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or 
less;
     Expand from ``passenger cars'' to ``passenger cars, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, low speed vehicles, and trucks'' the 
vehicles that would be covered by the requirements of current Part 
565.5--Motor vehicles imported into the United States;
     Add regulatory language to call attention to the fact that 
the number ``9'' in the third VIN position means that the vehicle is 
produced in sufficiently low quantities that a small manufacturer 
identifier is appropriate and positions 12-14 are therefore part of the 
manufacturer identifier;
     Change restraint system information that must be 
communicated in the VIN of a passenger car from ``restraint system 
type'' to ``all restraint devices and their location'' and require this 
same information for LSVs;
     Add to Part 565 a table with an explanatory note that 
indicates the digit that should appear in the ninth position of the VIN 
(This was requested to address the fact that the formula that is used 
in determining what appears in the ninth position is often calculated 
electronically and therefore does not produce the fractional remainders 
that are currently used in Part 565 to determine the digit that goes in 
position 9);
     Revise the ``Year Codes for VIN'' table in Part 565 to 
include character designations for years up to, and including, the year 
2039, to account for the expanded period of time during which the 
current VIN system will remain in existence under the changes proposed;
     Change the contact details for the SAE in Part 565.
    The changes that were requested by SAE that were not included in 
the NPRM or that were included in modified form were to:
     Specify in Part 565 that a positive identification style 
font face is a typeface permitted under the regulation's broad 
requirement for a san serif font typeface for a VIN.
     Set the dividing line between manufacturers requiring a 
large manufacturer identifier and those requiring a small manufacturer 
identifier at 900 vehicles produced annually. The NPRM proposed 1,000 
vehicles as the level at which a manufacturer must begin using a large 
manufacturer identifier.

III. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments

A. Summary of Public Comments

    The agency received comments from the following: the Wisconsin 
Department of Transportation (WisDOT), the Oregon Department of Motor 
Vehicles (ODMV), Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), 
Daimler A.G. (Daimler), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers 
(Alliance), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), the 
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the National Insurance 
Crime Bureau (NICB), the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles 
(NYDMV), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 
(NYDEC), the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDE), General 
Motors (GM), Ford, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, BMW of North America, 
The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), the 
Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM), the Truck 
Manufacturers Association (TMA), the National Association of Clean Air 
Agencies (NACAA), Ferrari, Prevost (a division of Volvo Group Canada, 
Inc.), the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), and 
several individuals.
1. General and Issue Specific Support
    All commenters supported revising the VIN regulation in one way or 
another, in some instances suggesting ways the VIN could be further 
expanded.

Amendments Aimed at Extending Life of Current System

    The Alliance stated that it ``fully supports both proposed 
amendments that are directly related to extending the utility of the 
VIN system beyond 2010.'' AIAM and TMA also expressed support for the 
proposed changes, as did Ferrari and NATM with some exceptions and 
concerns. NYDEC offered its general support for the efforts ``to ensure 
that there will be a sufficient number of unique manufacturer 
identifiers and VINs for the current 17-character VIN system for at 
least another 30 years.'' Harley-Davidson also offered its ``general 
support,'' noting, ``The regulatory proposal as written will provide a 
solution to the issue for the next few decades.'' BMW supported NHTSA's 
efforts to revise Part 565, but had concerns, as did Daimler A.G., 
about the proposed changes for position 7 of the VIN. NICB offered its 
support, but expressed concern that the effective date should be 
November 1, 2008.
    NESCAUM, which is an association of state air pollution control 
agencies in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New 
Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, offered general support 
for the rulemaking and made suggestions concerning information that the 
VIN should communicate.
    Specific suggestions, exceptions, and concerns expressed by those 
offering general support for the proposed changes to Part 565 are 
discussed below under the relevant heading.

Large Manufacturer Threshold

    The Alliance and Prevost commented directly on this subject. The 
Alliance specifically supported the proposed change that would require 
a manufacturer to make 1,000 vehicles a year rather than the current 
500 before a manufacturer will be considered a large manufacturer and 
be required to be issued and use a large manufacturer identifier. 
Prevost expressed a concern about manufacturers of buses with a GVWR 
greater than 4,536 kg (10,000 lb), stating that production of these 
manufacturers may vary significantly so the threshold between small and 
large manufacturer should be smaller than 500 with the possibility to 
use either a 3 or a 6 character WMI up to 1,000.

Alphabetic and Numeric Characters in Second Section of VIN

    The Alliance specifically supported the proposal to allow the VINs 
of passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a 
gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less to use 
either alphabetic or numeric characters in positions 4, 5 and 6, as 
opposed to only alphabetic characters in positions 4 and 5 and numeric 
characters in position 6. As noted above, some manufacturers did not 
agree with the proposed changes for position 7 of the VIN. AIAM 
objected to a requirement that ``all restraint

[[Page 23371]]

devices and their location'' be decipherable from the VIN.

Moving ``Make'' From First to Second Section

    The Alliance and AIAM supported moving vehicle ``make'' from the 
manufacturer identifier to the second section (positions 4-8) of the 
VIN. On the other hand, NATM believed that there is no need to assign 
or designate the ``make'' of a trailer.

Vehicle Characteristics for VINs of Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs)

    Advocates supported the proposal to include in Part 565 a list of 
vehicle attributes that must be communicated in, and decipherable from, 
the VINs of LSVs.

Costs Resulting From Software Modifications

    NICB said its software can be modified to accommodate the proposed 
changes ``without undue burden or expense.''
2. Suggested Changes to the Information To Be Communicated by the VIN
    Comments:
    Several commenters suggested adding various kinds of information to 
what is currently required in 49 CFR Part 565 to be communicated in, 
and decipherable from, a VIN.
    ODMV, ODEQ, WDE, NESCAUM, and NACAA all urged NHTSA to incorporate 
into the VIN a means by which States could determine whether or not a 
vehicle is certified to meet California emission standards. NYDEC urged 
a more detailed approach, asking for not only an indication of the 
emission standard to which a vehicle is certified, but also the level 
of certification.
    NYDEC and NYDMV also suggested that a vehicle's fuel type or type 
of hybrid technology be communicated through the VIN to help support 
State inspection and maintenance programs. In some cases, information 
that is already included in the VIN and that relates to the 
administration of State inspection and maintenance programs, is not 
treated consistently by manufacturers and is, therefore, hard to 
access, according to NYDEC.
    Advocates said ``the VIN requirements should also include a means 
for encoding the type of power source that the engine can utilize.''
    Yuli Chew, an individual submitting comments, suggested that the 
seventh digit in the VIN be used to designate emission certification 
and offered a detailed chart of proposed characters to designate 
various emission certifications. He also proposed that the eighth digit 
be used to indicate engine type and similarly offered a detailed chart 
of engine types and characters to represent them.
    WisDOT asked that the VIN include some method for determining the 
maximum speed capability of low-speed motor-driven cycles, such as 
mopeds. Whether or not a cycle can travel at speeds greater than 30 mph 
impacts driver training requirements in Wisconsin and whether 
passengers may be carried on the cycle. WisDOT provided a list of 28 
other States in which speed of the cycle determines its classification 
and related requirements. WisDOT also noted that the Uniform Vehicle 
Code contains a similar distinction.
    NESCAUM and NACAA recommended that the information communicated by 
the VIN include motor vehicle test group and engine family, as defined 
by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 40 CFR Part 86. The 
information that would be available to States as a result of this, 
NESCAUM said, ``could be used to support air quality monitoring 
efforts.''
    NESCAUM and NACAA also asked for several additional changes to the 
information a VIN must communicate. They asked NHTSA to change the 
definition of ``engine type'' that now appears in 49 CFR 565(d). They 
maintained that the effect of the definition's second sentence, which 
specifically calls for a VIN to represent ``the specific make and 
manufacturer'' of an engine if it powers a ``passenger car or 
multipurpose passenger vehicle, or truck with a gross vehicle weight 
rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less'' is to exclude Class 3 
through 8 heavy-duty trucks from the requirement to report engine 
manufacturer and make. The commenters said this information would make 
it easier for States to determine the emissions and fuel economy 
characteristics of their heavy-duty truck fleets.
    NESCAUM also asked that the VIN identify the GVWR rating class for 
any vehicle in Class G-2 or above, saying this information would 
greatly simplify States' efforts to identify whether a particular 
vehicle is subject to its emissions inspection program and the type of 
test required under that program. Finally, NESCAUM urged that the VIN 
requirements for Class 3 through 8 heavy-duty vehicles incorporate the 
exact gross vehicle weight, a change it said would enable States to 
better characterize their heavy duty fleets.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The primary purpose of the VIN system is to assure a unique 
identifier for each vehicle sold in the United States and, in so doing, 
to deter theft and facilitate vehicle recall campaigns. Deterring theft 
reduces the number of drivers on the road who are more likely to 
operate motor vehicles in an unsafe manner. Recall campaigns are 
conducted to remedy defects related to motor vehicle safety and 
incidents of noncompliance with Federal motor vehicle safety standards 
that are determined to exist in a vehicle. The current VIN system has 
for nearly 30 years fulfilled the need for unique vehicle identifiers 
and with today's final rule should continue to do so for at least the 
next 30 years.
    The agency is not adopting at this time amendments to address any 
of the recommendations for the VIN to include additional information 
elements, not because those recommendations lack merit, but instead 
because there is a pressing need for today's rule to be in place to 
assure the uninterrupted continuation of the VIN system.
    The agency acknowledges that the additional information 
requirements recommended in the comments, such as those relating to 
California emission certification, reflect the fact that there has been 
little change over the decades in the information that must be conveyed 
by a VIN despite the development of new circumstances that may lend 
themselves to the inclusion of new or different information. As such, 
the agency plans to initiate a separate comprehensive review focused on 
the information requirements of the VIN system. This will address 
whether those requirements should be changed, and, if so, how those 
changes should be made.
3. All Restraint Devices and Their Location
    Comments:
    Several comments were received concerning the proposal to change 
language in Table 1 of 49 CFR 565.6(b) relating to the restraint system 
information required to be communicated in the VIN of passenger cars. 
The relevant language currently reads, ``Passenger car: Line, series, 
body type, engine type and restraint system type.'' The replacement 
language proposed by the petitioner and included in the NPRM reads, 
``Passenger car: Make, line, series, body type, engine type, and all 
restraint devices and their location.''
    The agency also requested ``comments on whether this information 
should be required for all passenger vehicles, not just passenger 
cars.''

[[Page 23372]]

    The Alliance opposed this proposed change and suggested that the 
original language be retained. It said the proposed language would 
create an ``unnecessary and unjustified burden on manufacturers'' 
because each running change relating to a vehicle's restraint system 
could require a new VIN.
    The AIAM also opposed the proposed change, on the basis that 
evolving combinations of restraint devices could ``require development 
of a complex coding scheme which may ultimately prove impractical due 
to the number of possible combinations of these elements.'' Ferrari 
also opposed the proposed language change citing the same argument as 
that offered by AIAM.
    Advocates supported both the proposed language change and extending 
the information requirement beyond passenger cars to include ``all 
passenger and non-passenger light vehicles with a gross vehicle weight 
rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less,'' on the 
basis that this information would be valuable for safety research and 
data analysis.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The current language in Part 565 was sufficient when the range of 
restraint equipment that was either required or was available in the 
marketplace consisted primarily of seat belts and front seat airbags. 
Today, in addition to seat belts, front seat air bags are mandatory and 
restraint equipment technology has advanced to the point where there 
are many variations both in required equipment and in equipment, such 
as side air bags, that is offered in the marketplace. The new language 
is intended to capture and make available, through a vehicle's VIN, 
more complete and accurate information regarding occupant restraint in 
each vehicle manufactured for sale in the U.S.
    The agency does not agree with the Alliance and the AIAM that this 
change is overly burdensome. The agency is aware that some major 
manufacturers represented by these two organizations are already 
submitting comprehensive restraint related VIN deciphering information 
to NHTSA under 49 Part 565.7(c) that would comply with the amended 
requirements. This suggests to the agency that if a manufacturer knows 
well in advance of restraint system changes that will occur during a 
vehicle's production run, creating a VIN to account for those changes 
would be no more difficult than accounting for the different engines 
that can be installed in a particular vehicle model. In those cases 
where an unanticipated running change in a vehicle's restraint system 
occurs, a company could retain the VINs of the vehicles involved and 
provide NHTSA with revised VIN deciphering information as provided in 
49 Part 565.7(c). In such a case, vehicles numbered sequentially above 
a certain number in the last digits of the fourth section of the VIN 
would have the revised restraints devices and locations, which could be 
indicated in the company's amended deciphering information.
    The agency agrees with Advocates that there is value in having the 
VINs of certain vehicles in addition to passenger cars communicate the 
type and location of the restraint devices with which those vehicles 
are equipped . The agency is requiring the VINs of passenger cars, 
multipurpose vehicles, and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 
4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less to communicate that 
information.
4. VIN Position 7
    Comments:
    The NPRM proposed that for passenger cars and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 
4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less the seventh position of the VIN be changed 
from a numeric character to an alphabetic character.
    Daimler and BMW asked that the seventh position be either numeric 
or alphabetic, with BMW indicating this would ``minimize the cost 
impact'' and achieve the same goal. Ferrari called the proposed change 
for position 7 ``acceptable,'' but asked why position 7 could not be 
either numeric or alphabetic.
    Daimler also asked that the manufacturer be allowed to choose ``one 
of the five positions to be changed from alphabetic to numeric or vice 
versa.'' (Daimler did not specify the five characters to which it was 
referring. The agency assumes the company was referring to VIN 
positions 4 through 8, the positions referred to in Part 565 as the 
second section, which includes position 7.)
    The Alliance and GM both specifically supported the proposed change 
from numeric to alphabetic characters in position 7. In addition, the 
Alliance asked that a footnote be included in Table VII--Year Codes for 
VIN in 49 CFR Part 565. That footnote would read, ``If position 7 is 
numeric, the Model Year (in position 10) is 1980-2009; if alphabetic, 
the Model Year (in Position 10) is 2010-2039.'' AIAM and Ferrari 
supported this proposal.
    Prevost suggested the addition of a footnote to Table VII as well. 
It asked that the footnote communicate the fact that since position 7 
may be alphabetic or numeric for vehicles over 10,000 pounds and 
certain other types of vehicles covered by Part 565, such as trailers, 
that character does not indicate the 30-year period in which the 
vehicle was manufactured.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The reason for the proposed change in position 7 of the VIN was not 
only to create additional permutations to increase the number of 
available VINs, but also to enable VIN users to determine in which 30-
year period a vehicle was manufactured. The suggestion by Daimler and 
BMW that manufacturers have the option of using either an alphabetic or 
numeric character in position 7 would eliminate a VIN user's ability to 
make this determination and would create considerable confusion for VIN 
system users. (Daimler's suggestion that the manufacturer have the 
option of choosing which character in the second section of the VIN to 
change from alphabetic to numeric or vice versa, would be even more 
confusing to VIN users). Under the approach suggested by Daimler and 
BMW, VIN users would be unable to use the seventh VIN character to 
determine the model year of makes and models of vehicles manufactured 
in both the 30 year span of the current VIN system and in the 30 year 
span contemplated for the VIN system established by today's final rule. 
While having the option of either an alphabetic or numeric character in 
position 7 might ``minimize the cost impact'' on manufacturers as BMW 
suggests, it would also very likely add costs to other users of the VIN 
system and not be as efficient as having position 7 clearly indicate 
the 30 year period in which a vehicle was manufactured. The agency is 
therefore adopting the proposal in the NPRM to require that only an 
alphabetic character be allowed in VIN position 7 for passenger cars 
and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less under the revised Part 
565.
    The agency agrees with the Alliance, GM and Prevost that a footnote 
to Table VII will further clarify the purpose of position 7 being an 
alphabetic character. The agency is therefore adding a footnote to 
Table VII, but is adopting language different from that proposed by the 
Alliance and GM to both further clarify the role of VIN position 7 and 
to make clear, as suggested by Prevost, that the requirement for an 
alphabetic character in position 7 applies only to passenger cars and 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight 
rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less. The footnote will now read, 
``For passenger cars, and for

[[Page 23373]]

multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight 
rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less, if position 7 is numeric, the 
Model Year in position 10 of the VIN refers to a year in the range 
1980-2009. If position 7 is alphabetic, the Model Year in Position 10 
of the VIN refers to a year in the range 2010-2039.''
5. Off Road Vehicles
    Comment:
    NACAA said the VIN system should be extended to ``nonroad vehicles 
(primarily those for recreational use).''
    Referring to a numbering system for off-road vehicles named, ``PIN: 
Product Identification Number System for Off-Road Recreation 
Vehicles,'' NYDMV noted that identifiers under this system will always 
differ from VINs in the ninth position. A VIN will contain either a 
number or an X. A PIN will contain a letter and never an X. NYDMV 
suggested language for Part 565 that would prohibit VINs from 
duplicating PINs for off-road vehicles.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    NHTSA has authority to regulate only vehicles that are manufactured 
primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways. Jurisdiction 
to regulate vehicles of the type discussed by NACAA rests with the U.S. 
Consumer Product Safety Commission, which at this time does not have a 
system in place to provide identifiers for off-road vehicles.
    As indicated by the NYDMV, a voluntary system has been created and 
is operating to address the need for identifiers for off-road vehicles. 
That system is administered by SAE International, the same organization 
that administers the VIN system.
    NHTSA does not have the authority to extend the VIN system to off-
road vehicles. It therefore did not address the issue in the NPRM and 
is not making this suggested change in this final rule.
    NHTSA is also not including language in Part 565 to prohibit a VIN 
from duplicating a PIN as suggested by NYDMV. We do not regulate PINs. 
Additionally, the agency believes that if, as the NYDMV indicates, a 
PIN has an alphabetic character and never an X in its ninth position, a 
VIN should never duplicate a PIN. This is because a VIN is required to 
have either a numeric character or an X in that position.
6. Trailers
    NATM, which represents companies that manufacture trailers with 
gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) of 26,000 lb or less, submitted 
detailed comments addressing issues unique to trailer manufacturers. 
RVIA submitted brief comments on behalf of its trailer manufacturer 
members concurring with the NATM comments. NATM generally supported the 
proposed changes to Part 565, but raised the following two concerns.

Character Prescriptions as They Relate to Trailers

    First, NATM noted that Section 565.6(b) currently applies to 
``passenger cars and * * * multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks 
with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lbs.) or less'' 
insofar as it identifies the characters that must be used in specific 
positions of the second section of the VIN (positions 4-8). NATM 
further noted, ``There is, however, no mention of what characters, 
alphabetic or numeric, manufacturers of other types of vehicles--larger 
trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles--are required or permitted to 
use in those same positions. By its silence, we assume Section 565.6(b) 
allows manufacturers of those other types of vehicles to use either an 
alphabetic or a numeric character, at their election, in all four of 
the first four positions in Section 2 of the VIN, positions 4, 5, 6, 
and 7. The current regulation goes on to state: `The fifth character 
[position] may be either alphabetic or numeric.' It is not clear 
whether this statement is intended to govern VIN use only in the three 
vehicle types specified in the preceding sentence, namely automobiles, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, and light-duty trucks, or whether it 
is intended to apply to all motor vehicle types to which Part 565 
applies.''
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The characters that may be used in a vehicle's VIN are identified 
in Sec.  565.4(g). These are the characters that may be used in a VIN 
unless there are specifications elsewhere in Part 565 as to the 
characters that may be used in a particular VIN position.
    The NATM's interpretation of the current version of Part 565.6(b) 
is correct. The specifications in the current version of this section 
as to the type of characters that must appear in specific positions of 
the second section of the VIN apply only to the vehicles cited--
passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a 
gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less--not larger 
trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles. Therefore, the current 
regulation allows manufacturers of larger trucks, buses, trailers, and 
motorcycles to use either an alphabetic or a numeric character in all 
four of the first four positions in the second section of the VIN, 
positions 4, 5, 6, and 7. Position 8 under the current regulation may 
be either an alphabetic or numeric character for any type of vehicle. 
Nothing will change for these vehicles under this final rule. In this 
final rule, only position 7 will be limited to an alphabetic character 
for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a 
gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg (10,000 lb) or less. All other 
positions in the second section of the VIN will be allowed to have 
either alphabetic or numeric characters no matter what type of vehicle 
is involved and position 7 may be alphabetic or numeric for larger 
trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles.

Trailer ``Make''

    NATM's second concern was over NHTSA's intention to move vehicle 
``make'' from being a characteristic that needs to be communicated in 
the manufacturer identifier to a characteristic that needs to be 
communicated in the second section of the VIN. ``Unlike automobiles, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, and light-duty trucks, light-duty and 
medium-duty trailers generally do not have separately assigned or 
designated `makes,' much less undergo frequent changes in `makes,' '' 
NATM said. The NATM further stated that under the current regulation, 
the company name in the manufacturer identifier is, in essence, the 
make of the trailer.
    In addition to commenting that ``make'' is not a concept used in 
the trailer industry, NATM expressed concern that requiring ``make'' in 
the second section of the VIN would require trailer manufacturers to 
give up what it characterized as an ``undesignated'' position in the 
second section of the VIN to communicate the ``make.'' That position, 
NATM said, is currently generally used in the trailer industry to 
indicate the GVWR of trailers, which is not an information item that 
Part 565 requires for trailers in the second section of the VIN.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The agency's experience with VINs for trailers generally reflects 
the NATM comments. That is, for most trailer manufacturers, the 
manufacturer's name has been the equivalent of the ``make'' of the 
trailer, although there are surely instances in which information that 
is arguably a ``make'' has been communicated. In most cases, only the 
manufacturer's name has been communicated in the manufacturer 
identifier of trailer manufacturers under the current Part 565. There 
has been a tacit recognition of what NATM observed, that the 
manufacturer's name is the equivalent of the ``make.'' The 
manufacturer's name has

[[Page 23374]]

simultaneously fulfilled the requirement that the manufacturer 
identifier communicate the manufacturer and the ``make.''
    The agency has decided not to make an exception for trailers and to 
include ``make'' in the information that must be communicated in, and 
decipherable from, the second section of the VIN for trailers.
    It seems clear from the NATM comments that generating VINs for 
trailers is relatively straightforward in comparison to doing so for 
other types of vehicles subject to Part 565. By referring to one of the 
positions in the second section of the VIN as an ``undesignated'' 
position, NATM suggests that trailer manufacturers use each of the 
positions in the second section of the VIN to represent one of the four 
information items currently listed in Part 565 as having to be 
communicated in, and decipherable from, the second section of the VIN. 
This approach leaves one position of the VIN's second section unused or 
``undesignated'' as the NATM's comments state. According to NATM, this 
unused position is widely used in the trailer manufacturing industry to 
designate GVWR. The NATM comments suggest that trailer manufacturers 
fear that if they are required to communicate a vehicle's make in the 
second section of the VIN, even though the manufacturer name is the 
make for most trailer manufacturers, they will have to use the position 
now widely used for GVWR to indicate the manufacturer's name for a 
second time (the manufacturer's name will continue to be required in 
the manufacturer identifier).
    The agency notes that one option available to trailer manufacturers 
whose manufacturer name is the same as the make is to continue to use a 
character in the position that is now, by practice, used for GVWR. In 
the information for deciphering the VIN submitted to NHTSA under Sec.  
565.7(c) trailer manufacturers can simply indicate that if any 
character appears in that position, then the make name is the same as 
the manufacturer name.
    It should be noted that if a trailer manufacturer produces 33 or 
fewer variations of trailers (i.e. combinations of make, type of 
trailer, body type, length and axle configuration--the information 
items required for trailers in the second section of the VIN as 
revised), this information could be communicated by a single character 
in one position of the second section of the VIN. What that single 
character refers to would simply have to be indicated in the 
information provided to NHTSA by the manufacturer under Sec.  565.7(c). 
In fact, a trailer manufacturer could communicate up to 132 different 
variations in the trailers it manufactures and use only four of the 
five positions in the VIN's second section by taking full advantage of 
the 33 characters available for each of those positions and submitting 
to NHTSA a full and complete description of what a given character 
means if it appears in a given position. A ``B'' in the first position 
of the second section, for example, could stand for the make, type of 
trailer, body type, length and axle configuration of one variation of 
trailer made by a given manufacturer while a ``C'' could stand for that 
same information relating to a different trailer.
    The NATM comments made the agency aware of the fact that there is 
no current need to include low speed vehicles (LSVs) in the vehicles 
that must use an alphabetic character in position number 7 of the VIN 
as required by today's final rule. These vehicles will now be treated 
the same as larger trucks, buses, trailers, and motorcycles.
7. Modification in Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Classes
    Comment:
    NESCAUM asked for a change in ``Table II--Gross Vehicle Weight 
Rating Classes'' of 49 CFR Part 565.6(b) by adding a break point at 
8,500 pounds in one of the classes listed to distinguish whether or not 
a truck is light or heavy duty.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The classification system in Table II of Part 565 has been in 
existence for nearly 30 years and a great deal of data has accumulated 
in various places based on this system. The agency's experience with 
this classification system suggests that the change advocated by 
NESCAUM could have a significant effect on the various data systems 
that are built on this system. Any change to this system would require 
a complete and thorough analysis of the possible impact of that change 
on these data systems. This was not an issue addressed in the petition 
that initiated this rulemaking or in the NPRM. The agency is not acting 
on this recommendation at this time, not because the recommendation is 
deemed to lack merit, but instead because of the need to publish this 
final rule promptly. This issue will be part of the comprehensive 
review of the VIN information requirements discussed in ``2. Suggested 
Changes to the Information to be Communicated by the VIN.''
8. Supply of Manufacturer Identifiers
    In the NPRM, NHTSA specifically asked for comments ``on the 
likelihood and implications of manufacturers releasing previously-
issued identifiers that are no longer in use.''
    Comments:
    On this issue the Alliance expressed the understanding that, ``this 
proposal would require no change to currently assigned and used WMIs, 
and would only affect WMIs assigned in the future. Manufacturers will 
be able to continue to use the WMIs they are currently using in 
production or that have been assigned to them.'' The Alliance also 
observed that ``a general review of assigned and reserved WMI's that 
the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has requested the 
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to undertake 
should ensure adequate availability for future needs.''
    GM said, it ``does not anticipate manufacturers releasing 
previously assigned WMIs; however, the proposed modification will 
reduce the need for additional WMIs allocation to manufacturers.''
    Ford said it anticipates many manufacturer identifiers that are 
``assigned to countries with little or no current vehicle manufacturing 
will be reassigned to other countries, thus resolving the potential 
shortage'' of manufacturer identifiers. Ford further indicated that 
``many organizations, including law enforcement, rely on consistency'' 
in manufacturer identifiers to identify vehicle manufacturers. Ford 
said it does not plan to relinquish manufacturer identifiers that are 
assigned to that company ``at this time.''
    Ferrari stated, ``Regarding the possibility to distribute old 
manufacturer identifiers no longer in use, we believe that they should 
be retained by the same manufacturer to avoid possible confusion in 
case they are given to other manufacturers.''
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The agency does not see a need to take any action at this time 
beyond adopting the changes discussed in this final rule. As previously 
noted, vehicle make has been moved from the manufacturer identifier to 
the second section of the VIN. This should substantially reduce the 
need to issue new large manufacturer WMIs, thus extending the remaining 
supply of 400-450 of these manufacturer identifiers.
    In addition, the agency, through its contract with SAE for the 
issuance of manufacturer identifiers, has begun the process of 
identifying companies with large manufacturer identifiers that are no 
longer in business so that those

[[Page 23375]]

identifiers may be returned to the system. The agency is also 
identifying companies that were issued large manufacturer identifiers 
that, through publicly available data, the agency knows do not produce 
more than 500 vehicles a year, the current threshold for being 
considered a large manufacturer, or 1,000 vehicles a year, the 
threshold in this final rule, under Part 565. The agency anticipates 
that a number of large manufacturer identifiers will be returned to the 
system as a result of this process as well.
9. Posident Typeface
    Comments:
    While NHTSA did not propose any specific action relating to the 
``positive identification style''/``posident'' typeface, the subject 
was addressed in the NPRM and two commenters specifically commented on 
it.
    Citing the interpretation noted in the NPRM, which specifically 
states that the ``positive identification style''/``posident'' typeface 
is permitted under Part 565, GM indicated that it plans to continue its 
use of the typeface in its VIN marking.
    Harley-Davidson suggested that language in the NPRM regarding the 
``positive identification style''/``posident'' typeface ``could be 
interpreted to mean that NHTSA was not inclined to encourage use of the 
posident font.'' Additionally, Harley-Davidson said the terms 
``positive identification style font'' and ``posident'' refer to the 
same thing and noted that it uses the typeface on some frame stampings, 
although not in its VIN markings.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    In 1978, NHTSA issued an interpretation stating that there is no 
bar to using the ``posident'' typeface in a VIN under Part 565. That 
interpretation may be found at http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/gm/78/nht78-
2.2.html. The agency is neither encouraging nor discouraging the use of 
this typeface. The agency has not changed its position with regards to 
this interpretation. The ``posident'' typeface is therefore still 
permitted under the amendments to 49 CFR Part 565 issued today.
10. Location Change for Vehicle Make: Possible Impact on State 
Regulatory Programs
    Comment:
    NYDEC said it is unclear if vehicle make would become more 
difficult to obtain if the agency's proposal is finalized as written. 
It added, ``Vehicle make must be readily available to State regulatory 
programs from the VIN.''
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) 
was a member of the SAE committee that petitioned NHTSA to commence 
this rulemaking. If moving the vehicle make from the first to the 
second section of the VIN has an impact on State regulatory programs, 
the AAMVA would presumably have discussed that matter with the 
committee. The agency does not believe that moving vehicle make from 
the first to the second section of the VIN will have any impact on the 
availability of this information to state programs. The agency is 
therefore taking no action today in response to this comment.
11. Alternative Characters
    Comment:
    Harold R. Brink, a private individual, submitted comments 
recommending that symbols, such as ``!@[caret]%&,'' be used in the VIN 
to expand the number of unique VINs available.
    Agency Response
    We do not believe that it is necessary to adopt the use of symbols 
at this time. The changes proposed in the petition and those adopted in 
this final rule provide a sufficient number of unique VINs to assure 
the continued existence of the current VIN system, with the use of only 
numeric and alphabetic characters, for at least 30 additional years.
12. Direction VIN Plate Should Face
    Comment:
    NYDMV asked that Part 565.4(f) be amended to require that the 
characters of the VIN plate face the front of the vehicle because it 
has encountered grey market vehicles with the VIN facing the driver, 
which, in some cases, makes the VIN difficult to read.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    Section 565.4(f) specifies the approximate location of the VIN, the 
minimum size for the type, and the requirement that the VIN must be 
``readable.'' The section does not prescribe the direction in which the 
VIN plate must face. The agency is not aware of driver facing VIN 
plates creating unworkable difficulties in any broad category of other 
situations. NYDMV acknowledged in its comments that even in cases of 
grey market vehicles with driver facing VIN plates it has encountered, 
the VIN remains readable, although with some difficulty. As such, the 
agency is not specifying the direction in which the VIN plate must face 
in this rule.
13. Companies That Vacillate Between High-Volume and Low-Volume 
Production
    Comment: 
    Prevost described a situation that it indicated may be unique to 
bus/motor coach manufacturers. Because there are so few manufacturers 
in this category and the market is relatively small, a manufacturer, at 
least under the current Part 565 with its 500 vehicle dividing line 
between small and large manufacturers, may one year be a small 
manufacturer and the next a large manufacturer. As a small manufacturer 
under current Part 565, it is required to use a six character 
manufacturer identifier. As a large manufacturer, it is required to use 
a three character manufacturer identifier. Prevost recently became a 
large manufacturer under the current Part 565 and is concerned that it 
might have to return to using a small manufacturer identifier and 
change its whole VIN structure. It urged that the dividing line between 
low-volume manufacturers and high-volume manufacturers be set at a 
threshold lower than the current 500 vehicles for manufacturers of 
vehicles greater than 4536kg GVWR.
    Agency Analysis and Response:
    Prevost is principally concerned that it have one consistent 
approach to VINs and not have to switch between low-volume manufacturer 
VINs and high-volume manufacturer VINs. The agency believes that 
raising the threshold between low-volume manufacturer and high-volume 
manufacturer to 1,000 vehicles will address the situation described by 
Prevost, at least for some bus/motor coach manufacturers. However, the 
agency believes that if we lower the threshold between low-volume 
manufacturers and high-volume manufacturers, such an action would 
jeopardize the limited supply of manufacturer identifiers for high-
volume manufacturers, which was one of the driving concerns for the 
petition that initiated this rulemaking and for the agency's proceeding 
with this rulemaking. If, after the implementation of this final rule, 
there continue to be manufacturers that vacillate between low-volume 
and high-volume status, the best place to address this will be in the 
administration of the VIN system. In this way, NHTSA can better monitor 
the supply of large manufacturer identifiers and be sure that they are 
issued only in situations where it is appropriate to do so.
14. Effective Date of the Rule
    Comments: 
    There were numerous comments concerning the effective date of the 
final

[[Page 23376]]

rule, particularly the need for the final rule to be implemented 
quickly with a clear indication that it applies to all model year 2010 
vehicles. One commenter said the revised Part 565 should apply to model 
year 2010 vehicles regardless of when they are manufactured.
    The Alliance, AIAM, and Ferrari said the rule should begin with 
2010 model year. The Alliance noted, ``Some manufacturers are already 
approaching the deadline to implement changes to VIN structure for 
model year 2010.'' It suggested that there be a period, applicable to 
the 2009 model year, during which a manufacturer would be allowed to 
comply with either the old or new system. TMA also urged quick 
adoption.
    NICB provided detailed comments that focused entirely on the issue 
of effective date. It said the changes to the VIN system are needed 
``urgently'' and that a failure to implement the new structure within 
the next year would lead to ``serious consequences.''
    NICB said NHTSA's VIN regulation ``will soon allow more than one 
vehicle to have the same Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). If the 
agency allows the VIN to become anything other than a truly unique 
identifier, it will cripple enforcement of the Anti-Car Theft Act, the 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act 
and a host of other Congressional mandates to protect Americans from 
car theft, salvage fraud and death or injury on the nation's highways. 
It would also jeopardize counter-terrorism efforts, especially the 
investigation of car bombings.''