McLaren Automotive, Inc. (McLaren), Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 6930-6932 [2016-02414]

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 26 (Tuesday, February 9, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6930-6932]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02414]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0035; Notice 2]


McLaren Automotive, Inc. (McLaren), Grant of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: McLaren has determined that certain model year (MY) 2012-2015 
MP4 12-C Spider and Coupe passenger cars do not fully comply with 
paragraph S4.4(c)(2), of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
No. 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. McLaren filed a report dated 
February 18, 2014, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. McLaren then petitioned NHTSA 
under 49 CFR part 556 requesting a decision that the subject

[[Page 6931]]

noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Kerrin 
Bressant, Office of Vehicles Safety Compliance, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-1110, 
facsimile (202) 366-3081.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. Overview: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the 
rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, McLaren 
submitted a petition for an exemption from the notification and remedy 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    This notice of receipt of McLaren's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 1,366 MY 2012-
2015 MP4 12-C Spider and Coupe model passenger cars manufactured from 
October 10, 2011 through February 18, 2014.
    III. Noncompliance: McLaren explains that during testing of the 
tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) it was noted that the 
malfunction indicator telltale illuminated as required by FMVSS No. 138 
when a malfunction is first detected with the exception of one 
scenario. If the malfunction is caused by an incompatible wheel sensor, 
when the vehicle ignition is deactivated and then reactivated to the 
``On'' (``Run'') position after a five minute period, there is no 
immediate re-illumination of the malfunction indicator telltale as 
required if the malfunction still exists. Although the malfunction 
indicator telltale does not re-illuminate immediately after the vehicle 
ignition is reactivated, it does illuminate within 40 seconds after the 
vehicle accelerates to, or above, 23 miles per hour (mph).
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S4.4(c)(2) of FMVSS No. 138 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S4.4 TPMS Malfunction.
     . . .
    (c) Combination low tire pressure/TPMS malfunction telltale. The 
vehicle meets the requirements of S4.4(a) when equipped with a 
combined Low Tire Pressure/TPMS malfunction telltale that:
    (2) Flashes for a period of at least 60 seconds but no longer 
than 90 seconds upon detection of any condition specified in S4.4(a) 
after the ignition locking system is activated to the ``On'' 
(``Run'') position. After each period of prescribed flashing, the 
telltale must remain continuously illuminated as long as a 
malfunction exists and the ignition locking system is in the ``On'' 
(``Run'') position. This flashing and illumination sequence must be 
repeated each time the ignition locking system is placed in the 
``On'' (``Run'') position until the situation causing the 
malfunction has been corrected. . . .

    V. Summary of McLaren's Analyses: McLaren stated its belief that 
the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety 
for the following reasons:
    (A) McLaren stated that although the TPMS malfunction indicator 
telltale will not illuminate immediately after the vehicle is 
restarted, it generally will illuminate shortly thereafter and in any 
event it will illuminate in no more than 40 seconds after the vehicle 
accelerates at or above 23 mph. McLaren submits that this brief pause 
before the malfunction indicator illuminates is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety.
    (B) McLaren explained that if the TPMS fails to detect a signal 
from a compatible sensor, the TPMS indicator on the instrument cluster 
will display no value for the tire pressure at the affected wheel(s). A 
display of no value will therefore also alert the driver to the fact 
that something is not functioning properly.
    (C) McLaren further states that with the exception of the subject 
noncompliance, all other aspects of the Malfunction Indicator and the 
TPMS in general are compliant with FMVSS No. 138.
    (D) McLaren noted that it is not aware of any customer complaints 
related to this condition.
    (E) McLaren has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected 
this noncompliance in all vehicles manufactured after February 18, 
2014.
    In summation, McLaren believes that the described noncompliance of 
the subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and 
that its petition, to exempt McLaren from providing recall notification 
of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the 
recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.

NHTSA Decision

    NHTSA Analysis: McLaren explained that although the malfunction 
indicator telltale does not re-illuminate immediately after the vehicle 
is restarted, it will illuminate shortly thereafter--within 40 seconds 
after the vehicle speed exceeds 23 mph, and will remain illuminated for 
the rest of the ignition cycle.
    NHTSA agrees with McLaren that the malfunction indicator telltale 
will not illuminate as required only during very short periods of time 
when the vehicle is traveling at low speeds and thus poses little risk 
to motor vehicle safety. Under normal driving conditions, a driver will 
begin a trip by accelerating moderately beyond 23 mph, and as explained 
by McLaren, once the vehicle accelerates to or above 23 mph, the 
malfunction indicator telltale re-illuminates and then remains 
illuminated for the entire ignition cycle, regardless of vehicle speed. 
The telltale fails to re-illuminate only in the very rare case when the 
driver begins a trip and never exceeds 23 mph (the threshold speed 
necessary to re-activate the malfunction indicator telltale). No real 
safety risk exists because at such low speeds there is little risk of 
the driver losing control of the vehicle due to underinflated tires. 
Furthermore, the possibility that the vehicle will experience both a 
low inflation pressure condition and a malfunction simultaneously is 
highly unlikely.
    McLaren stated that if the TPMS fails to detect a compatible wheel 
sensor, the TPMS indicator on the instrument cluster will display no 
value for the tire pressure at the affected wheel(s). McLaren explained 
that this information will help to alert the driver that some kind of 
system malfunction is occurring.
    The agency evaluated the displays McLaren uses in the noncompliant 
vehicles. In addition to the combination telltale indicator lamp, the 
subject vehicles are equipped with a ``plan view'' icon which displays 
the pressures for all four wheels individually. If any wheel has a 
malfunctioning pressure sensor the indicator for that wheel displays 
several dashes ``---'' indicating the there is a problem with that 
respective wheel. The additional information is not required by the 
safety standard, but can be used as an aid to the driver to determine 
the status of a vehicle's tires.
    McLaren discussed that with the exception of the subject 
noncompliance, all other aspects of the TPMS functionality are 
compliant with the FMVSS 138 requirements. The primary functions of the 
TPMS, the identification of all other required malfunctions as well as 
the identification of low tire inflation pressure scenarios, is not 
affected.
    The agency agrees with McLaren's reasoning with regards to the 
subject noncompliance involving only one aspect of the system's 
malfunction functionality. The primary function of the TPMS is to 
identify low inflation pressure conditions which McLaren's system 
appears to do as required by FMVSS No. 138. Also, there are a

[[Page 6932]]

variety of other malfunctions that can occur in addition to the 
incompatible tire malfunction identified in this petition. We 
understand from McLaren that its TPMS will perform as required during 
all other system malfunctions.
    McLaren also mentioned that they have not received or are aware of 
any consumer complaints, field communications, incidences or injuries 
related to this noncompliance. In addition to the analysis done by 
McLaren that looked at customer complaints, field communications, 
incidents or injuries related to this condition, the agency conducted 
additional checks of its Office of Defects Investigations consumer 
complaint database and found no related complaints.
    McLaren stated that they have corrected the noncompliance in all 
unsold vehicles manufactured after February 18, 2014, as required by 
NHTSA.
    NHTSA'S Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds 
that Mclaren has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS 
No. 138 noncompliance in the affected vehicles is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, McLaren's petition is hereby granted 
and McLaren is consequently exempted from the obligation of providing 
notification of, and a free remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, this decision 
only applies to the subject noncompliant vehicles that McLaren no 
longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance 
existed. However, the granting of this petition does not relieve 
vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer 
for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after McLaren 
notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2016-02414 Filed 2-8-16; 8:45 am]
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