FCA US LLC and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Grant of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 20948-20951 [2019-09751]

Download as PDF 20948 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Notices FMVSS No. 121 Cu. In. (Table V) Brake chamber size T–16 ............................................................................................................................................. Number of chambers total Cu. In. 46 Total Cu. In. 2 92 Total Chamber Cu. In. .................................................................................................................................................................. Required Air Reservoir Capacity (using 12X Multiplier) Cu. In. ........................................................................................... 404 4,848 Spartan Actual Reservoir Capacity (Cu. In.) ................................................................................................................. 4,674 Additional Capacity Needed (Cu. In.) ..................................................................................................................... 174 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Cubic Inch—Cu. In. In paragraph S5.1.1 of FMVSS No. 121, the vehicle is to be equipped with an air compressor of sufficient capacity to increase air pressure in the supply and service reservoirs from 85 psi to 100 psi when the engine is operating at the vehicle manufacturer’s maximum recommended revolutions per minute (r.p.m.) within a time, in seconds, determined by the quotient (actual reservoir capacity × 25)/required reservoir capacity). In using this equation, vehicles subject to the condition represented in the table above, the air pressure would be required to go from 85 psi to 100 psi within 24 seconds (4,674 * 25)/4,848). Using the same equation and the required air reservoir capacity of 4848 cubic inches, the air pressure would need to increase from 85 psi to 100 psi within 25 seconds. Vehicles subject to the condition that has resulted in the non-compliance to paragraph S5.1.2.1 could increase air pressure from 85 psi to 100 psi in less than 6 seconds, well within the requirement of 25 seconds. Further, vehicles subject to this condition have a cut in pressure set at, or greater than, the minimum requirement of 100 psi. The impact of having 3.5 percent less air reservoir capacity than required, the difference in the cut in pressure requirement of only 1 second would appear to have an adverse consequence of a slight increase in air compressor cycling. However, this would be dependent on application of the service brakes. Motorhomes have a similar duty cycle to that of a tractor-trailer where they are driven at highway speeds with infrequent brake applications during such drives. Motorhomes also are largely driven from owner residences to campground locations throughout the traveling season. Given these brake applications would appear to be less frequent than those in stop and go applications. The lower than required capacity, with the one second difference time to increase air pressure, may not be noticeable by the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:29 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 driver and would not impact the braking performance of the vehicle. 2. Air System Warning: The completed motorhomes subject to this condition are equipped with two air gauges that monitor the air system pressure in both system 1 and system 2. In addition to the air gauges, there are both a warning light and audible alarm to alert the driver in the event of a low air condition. In conclusion, Spartan stated that the actual air reservoir capacity in the affected motorhome chassis may be 3.5 percent less (174 cubic inches) than the calculated required amount. However, due to the duty cycle of a motorhome and the air compressor cycling, that is well within the required time using the equation from FMVSS No. 121, Spartan believes the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. The less than required capacity does not appear to impact vehicle braking performance (e.g., stopping distance, brake application, and release timing). The completed vehicles are equipped with dual air gauges, a visual and audible warning system to alert the driver to a loss of air in the air brake system. Given the aforementioned, Spartan expressed the belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. 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 vehicles that Spartan no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 Spartan 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) Otto G. Matheke III, Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. [FR Doc. 2019–09752 Filed 5–10–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2017–0073; Notice 2; Docket No. NHTSA–2017–0100; Notice 2] FCA US LLC and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Grant of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Grant of petitions. AGENCY: FCA US LLC (FCA US), (formally known as: Chrysler Group LLC) and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen), have determined that certain Mopar Service seat belt assemblies sold to FCA dealers and Volkswagen dealers as replacement equipment in certain model year (MY) 1992–2018 FCA US motor vehicles and certain MY 2009–2018 Volkswagen Routan motor vehicles, do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 209, Seat Belt Assemblies. The petitioners have requested that NHTSA deem the subject noncompliance inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. This document grants both petitions in full. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jack Chern, Office of Vehicle Safety SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\13MYN1.SGM 13MYN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Notices Compliance, NHTSA, telephone 202– 366–0661, facsimile 202–366–3081. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview: FCA US has determined that certain Mopar Service seat belt assemblies sold to FCA dealers as replacement equipment in certain MY 1992–2018 FCA US motor vehicles do not fully comply with paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209, Seat Belt Assemblies (49 CFR 571.209). FCA US filed a noncompliance report dated July 25, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. FCA US also petitioned NHTSA on August 17, 2017, for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) & 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance. Notice of receipt of FCA US’s petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on December 7, 2017, in the Federal Register (82 FR 57814). No comments were received. Volkswagen has determined that certain Mopar Service seat belt assemblies sold to Volkswagen dealers as replacement equipment in certain MY 2009–2018 Volkswagen Routan motor vehicles do not fully comply with paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209. Volkswagen filed a noncompliance report dated November 8, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573. Volkswagen petitioned NHTSA on November 29, 2017, for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) & 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556. Notice of receipt of Volkswagen’s petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on March 21, 2018, in the Federal Register (83 FR 12458). No comments were received. II. Equipment Involved: Approximately 1,900 replacement seat belt assemblies manufactured between June 25, 2008, and October 25, 2013 for installation in certain MY 2009–2018 Volkswagen Routan motor vehicles are potentially involved. Approximately 728,100 Mopar Service seat belt assemblies sold to FCA dealers as replacement equipment for use in the following FCA motor vehicles are potentially involved: • 2010–2017 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis (‘‘DD’’) VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:29 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 • 2016–2017 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis (‘‘DF’’) • 2010–2017 Ram 2500 (‘‘DJ’’) • 2010–2017 Ram 4500/5500 Cab Chassis (‘‘DP’’) • 2009–2017 Ram 1500 (‘‘DS’’) • 2010–2017 Ram 3500 (‘‘D2’’) • 2012–2017 Fiat 500 (‘‘FF’’) • 2009–2017 Dodge Journey (‘‘JC’’) • 2007–2017 Jeep Wrangler (‘‘JK’’) • 2014–2017 Jeep Cherokee (‘‘KL’’) • 2015–2017 Dodge Challenger (‘‘LA’’) • 2012–2017 Chrysler 300 (‘‘LX’’) • 2012–2017 Dodge Charger (‘‘LD’’) • 2008–2017 Jeep Compass (‘‘MK’’) • 2008–2017 Jeep Patriot (‘‘MK’’) • 2012–2017 Dodge Dart (‘‘PF’’) • 2015–2017 Chrysler 200 (‘‘UF’’) • 2008–2017 Chrysler Town & Country (‘‘RT’’) • 2008–2017 Dodge Grand Caravan (‘‘RT’’) • 2017 Chrysler Pacifica (‘‘RU’’) • 2011–2017 Dodge Durango (‘‘WD’’) • 2011–2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee (‘‘WK’’) • 2013–2017 Dodge SRT Viper (‘‘ZD’’) • 2002–2008 Dodge Ram 1500 (‘‘DR’’) • 2004–2010 Dodge Durango (‘‘HB’’) • 2007–2010 Chrysler Aspen (‘‘HG’’) • 2005–2012 Dodge Dakota (‘‘ND’’) • 1994–2002 Dodge Ram 1500 (‘‘BR’’) • 1993–2004 Dodge Intrepid (‘‘LH’’) • 1993–2004 Chrysler Concorde (‘‘LH’’) • 1993–2004 Chrysler 300M (‘‘LH’’) • 1995–2005 Dodge Neon (‘‘PL’’) • 2006–2012 Dodge Caliber (‘‘PM’’) • 1997–2000 Plymouth Prowler (‘‘PR’’) • 2001–2002 Chrysler Prowler (‘‘PR’’) • 2001–2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser (‘‘PT’’) • 1992–2002 Dodge Viper (‘‘SR’’) • 2003–2010 Dodge Viper (‘‘ZB’’) • 1993–1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (‘‘ZJ’’) • 2014–2018 Ram ProMaster (‘‘VF’’) • 2015–2018 Ram ProMaster City (‘‘VM’’) • 2015–2018 Jeep Renegade (‘‘BU’’) • 2015–2017 Fiat 500x (‘‘FB’’) • 2014–2017 Fiat 500L (‘‘BF’’) • 2016–2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia (‘‘GA’’) • 2015–2017 Alfa Romeo 4C (‘‘4C’’) • 2017 Fiat 124 Spider (‘‘BA’’) III. Noncompliance: The petitioners explain that the subject noncompliance involves the Mopar Service Seat Belt assemblies sold to both FCA US and Volkswagen dealerships for use or for subsequent resale to dealers, for repairs by dealership service technicians, or dealership retail customers for installation and replacement parts in certain FCA US and Volkswagen vehicles. Specifically, the subject seat belt assemblies were sold without the proper inclusion of the ‘‘I-Sheets’’ (i.e., ‘‘Installation instructions’’ and ‘‘Usage and maintenance instructions’’), and PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 20949 therefore, do not meet all applicable requirements specified in paragraphs S4.1(k) and 4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209. IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 includes the requirements relevant to this petition: • A seat belt assembly, other than a seat belt assembly installed in a motor vehicle by an automobile manufacturer, shall be accompanied by an instruction sheet providing sufficient information for installing the assembly in a motor vehicle. • The installation instructions shall state whether the assembly is for universal installation or for installation only in specifically stated motor vehicles, and shall include at least those items specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c (1973) (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5). • If the assembly is for use only in specifically stated motor vehicles, the assembly shall either be permanently and legibly marked or labeled with the following statement, or the instruction sheet shall include the following statement: Æ This seat belt assembly is for use only in [insert specific seating position(s), e.g., ‘‘front right’’] in [insert specific vehicle make(s) and model(s)]. • A seat belt assembly or retractor shall be accompanied by written instructions for the proper use of the assembly, stressing particularly the importance of wearing the assembly snugly and properly located on the body, and on the maintenance of the assembly and periodic inspection of all components. • The instructions shall show the proper manner of threading webbing in the hardware of seat belt assemblies in which the webbing is not permanently fastened. Instructions for a nonlocking retractor shall include a caution that the webbing must be fully extended from the retractor during use of the seat belt assembly unless the retractor is attached to the free end of webbing which is not subjected to any tension during restraint of an occupant by the assembly. Instructions for Type 2a shoulder belt shall include a warning that the shoulder belt is not to be used without a lap belt. V. Summary of Petitions: The petitioners described the subject noncompliance and stated their belief that the noncompliance is, in each case, inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. In support, the petitioners submitted the following arguments: 1. The subject seat belt assemblies are only sold to FCA US and Volkswagen authorized dealerships for installation as replacement seat belts in certain FCA US and Volkswagen motor vehicles. These assemblies are not sold to aftermarket auto parts distributors or retail outlets. 2. The subject seat belt assemblies are clearly labeled and identifiable by part number in both the FCA US part system and Volkswagen’s parts catalogue for use on specific make, model, and model E:\FR\FM\13MYN1.SGM 13MYN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 20950 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Notices year vehicles, and for specific seating positions. 3. In order to purchase these parts, the buyer would need to supply either the part assembly number or make, model, model year and seating position of the vehicle, thus, only the proper assembly would be sold to the end user. 4. Installation of the seat belt assembly is a complex process in the modern motor vehicle, unlike the vehicles in the past that the provisions [paragraph S4.1 of FMVSS No. 209] were intended to address. The method of identification and the physical differences between belt retractors and attachment hardware, as well as the vehicle installation environment, preclude the misinstallation of seat belt assemblies. 5. FCA US states that the proper installation procedure for all Mopar Service Seat Belt assemblies are clearly described in FCA US service manuals, which are also available online through DealerCONNECT and sold to the public through Mopar and FCA US brand websites. With respect to seat belt usage and installation instructions, FCA US stated that consumers who have purchased the seat belt assemblies in the past can contact the Parts Department at their dealer for a copy of the Instruction Sheets at no cost. FCA US also stated that instructions and information regarding proper usage, proper maintenance, and periodic inspection for damaged seat belts are included in the vehicle’s Owner’s Manual. 6. Volkswagen stated that their seat belt assembly installation instructions are included in Volkswagen Service Manuals and are available to independent repair shops and to individual owners, who can also purchase the Service Manual (which is a paid subscription) or seek dealer assistance and obtain copies of the installation instructions free of charge, if necessary. The instructions are also available on Parts on Command (POC) and can be printed, in house, at the dealership free of charge for the customers. In most cases, reference to the installation instructions will not be necessary because the seat belt installation will be to replace an existing belt and the installation procedure will just be the reverse of the removal procedure. With respect to seat belt usage and maintenance instructions, Volkswagen also stated that they have been included in all Volkswagen owners’ manuals. 7. FCA US has notified its dealer of the existence of the noncompliance and the dealer will be automatically prompted to include the Service VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:29 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Instructions Sheets at the time when a customer purchases a seat belt assembly. 8. Volkswagen stated that the packaging for the supplied service seat belts should have been accompanied by the instruction sheet, however, because there was insufficient information to confirm that the instruction sheet accompanied the affected service parts. Volkswagen has determined to notify its dealers of the existence of the noncompliance. Volkswagen also stated that the instructions are now available on Parts on Command (POC) and can be printed free of charge at the dealership. These instruction sheets are required to be provided with every safety belt assembly or safety belt buckle soldwhether it be retail, wholesale, or in the shop. 9. The petitioners are not aware of any incidents or consumer complaints relating to the absence of the I-Sheet and use instructions with the sale of any of the subject seat belt assemblies. FCA US and Volkswagen stated that there have been many instances of similar documentation omissions where the agency has granted inconsequential treatment. The petitioners cited the following examples: Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (77 FR 24762, April 25, 2012); Bentley Motors, Inc. (75 FR 35877, September 20, 2011); Hyundai Motor Company (73 FR 49238, March 2, 2009); Ford Motor Company (73 FR 11462, March 3, 2008); Mazda North America Operations (73 FR 11464, March 3, 2008); Ford Motor Company (73 FR 63051, October 22, 2008); and TRW, Inc. (58 FR 7171, February 4, 1993). FCA stated that the most notable grant of inconsequential treatment is Subaru of America, Inc. (65 FR 67471, November 9, 2000), where the agency made the following succinct observations: There seems to be little need for the installation instructions with replacements for original equipment seat belts. The SAE J800c Recommended Practice incorporated in FMVSS No. 209 appears to have been written as a guide on how to install a seat belt where one does not exist. The Recommended Practice discusses such things as how to determine the correct location for anchorages, how to create adequate anchorages and how to properly attach webbing to the newly installed anchorages. These instructions do not apply to today’s replacement market. Additionally, vehicle manufacturers provide service manuals on how seat belts should be replaced. NHTSA does not believe the ‘‘how to’’ instructions are necessary in this case. Next, we note that the subject seat belt assemblies were distributed without the required ’usage and maintenance instructions’ specified in PO 00000 Frm 00105 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FMVSS No. 209, S4.1(l), which requires that seat belt assemblies sold as replacement equipment have owner instructions on how to wear the seat belt and how to properly thread the webbing on seat belts where the webbing is not permanently attached. NHTSA believes that the proper usage is adequately described in the vehicle owner’s manual. NHTSA does not believe that instructions about the proper threading of webbing is applicable to modern original equipment automobile seat belt systems. This second instruction sheet is either duplicated in the owner’s manual or not applicable. The FCA US understands that while they may believe FMVSS No. 209 S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) are somewhat antiquated, it is nevertheless required to fully comply with this safety standard. In this regard, the petitioners have made process changes to ensure that hard copies of the I-Sheets will be included with all seat belt assemblies shipped to its dealers. FCA US has implemented changes in its part ordering process to ensure that all I-Sheets for Mopar Service Seat Belt assemblies affected by recall T49 (NHTSA 17E–039) have been uploaded to online resources (StarPartsTM and DealerCONNECT) and directly linked to the specific Mopar Service Seat Belt part numbers. Going forward, this hard copy and on-line mating of the service parts and S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) instructions will ensure that the documentation requirement of FMVSS No. 209 will be met. The petitioners concluded by expressing the belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that their petitions to be exempted from providing notification of the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. VI. NHTSA’s Analysis: To help ensure proper installation, usage, and maintenance of seat belt assemblies, paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 require that installation, usage, and maintenance instructions be provided with seat belt assemblies other than those installed by an automobile manufacturer. First, with respect to the need to allow consumers to select the correct seat belt for their vehicle, we note that the subject seat belt assemblies are only made available to FCA US and Volkswagen authorized dealerships for their use or subsequent resale. Because the parts ordering process used by FCA US and Volkswagen authorized dealerships clearly identifies the correct service part by a vehicle’s model, model year, and seating position, NHTSA believes that it is unlikely that an inappropriate seat belt assembly will be E:\FR\FM\13MYN1.SGM 13MYN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Notices sold by the FCA US and Volkswagen dealership for a specific seating position within a vehicle. Second, NHTSA recognizes the importance of having installation instructions available to installers as well as use and maintenance instructions available to consumers. The risk created by this noncompliance is that someone who purchased an assembly is unable to obtain the necessary installation information and therefore incorrectly installs the seat belt assembly. We note that technicians at dealerships have access to the seat belt assembly installation instructions in vehicle Service Manuals. Installers other than dealership technicians can obtain a copy of the installation instructions, free of charge, through the dealerships’ network. The installation instructions are also available in the docket because they were submitted with the manufacture’s petitions. FCA US and Volkswagen also stated that the subject seat belt assemblies can only be properly installed in the correct seat position of their intended vehicles. Thus, we conclude that installers have reasonable opportunities to locate installation instructions which would permit a proper installation, and that the instructions can be obtained free of charge. In addition, NHTSA takes this opportunity to clarify prior statements concerning SAE Recommended Practice J800c. Paragraph S4.1(k) of FMVSS No. 209 requires ‘‘at least those items specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c’’ be included in seat belt assembly instructions. As stated in SAE J800c, the ‘‘minimum instruction requirements may be supplemented by more specific manufacturer’s instructions, if they are necessary to provide installation instructions in a particular vehicle.’’ Although mainly containing universal seat belt assembly installation instructions, SAE J800c acknowledges seat belt assemblies intended for installation in specific vehicles may require additional installation instructions. Also, per FMVSS No. 209, seat belt assembly intended for installation in specific vehicles must also have installation instructions provided when a seat belt assembly is not sold as an original item on a motor vehicle. To fulfill this intent, we conclude, as detailed in the previous paragraph, that installers should be able to obtain installation instructions which would permit a proper installation, and that the instructions can be obtained free of charge. With respect to seat belt usage and maintenance instructions, we note that this information is readily available in VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:29 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 the vehicle owner’s manuals. In addition, consumers can also obtain this information, free of charge, through the vehicle’s dealership networks. Thus, with respect to usage and maintenance instructions, it appears that there are satisfactory alternatives to meeting the intent of S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209. NHTSA has granted similar petitions for failure to comply with requirements pertaining to seat belt assembly installation and usage instruction. Refer to Ford Motor Company (73 FR 11462, March 3, 2008); Mazda North America Operations (73 FR 11464, March 3, 2008); Ford Motor Company (73 FR 63051, October 22, 2008); Subaru of America, Inc. (65 FR 67471, November 9, 2000); Bombardier Motor Corporation of America, Inc. (65 FR 60238, October 10, 2000); TRW, Inc. (58 FR 7171, February 4, 1993); and Chrysler Corporation, (57 FR 45865, October 5, 1992). VII. NHTSA’s Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that both FCA US and Volkswagen have met their burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 209 noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, FCA US and Volkswagen’s petitions are hereby granted and FCA US and Volkswagen are consequently exempted from the obligation to provide notification of, and remedy for, the subject 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 allows 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 equipment that FCA US and Volkswagen no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the granting of this petition does not relieve equipment distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant equipment under their control after FCA US and Volkswagen notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 20951 Authority: (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8) Otto G. Matheke III, Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. [FR Doc. 2019–09751 Filed 5–10–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2018–0004; Notice 1] Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Receipt of petition. AGENCY: Daimler Trucks North America, LLC (DTNA), has determined that certain model year (MY) 2013–2018 Thomas Built Buses do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 222, School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection. DTNA filed a noncompliance report dated November 27, 2017. DTNA in Collaboration with SynTec Seating Solutions, LLC ‘‘SynTec’’ (the seating manufacturer), subsequently petitioned NHTSA on December 15, 2017, and later updated it on September 21, 2018, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces receipt of DTNA’s petition. DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is June 12, 2019. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket number cited in the title of this notice and submitted by any of the following methods: • Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Deliver comments by hand to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Federal Holidays. • Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging onto the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\13MYN1.SGM 13MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 92 (Monday, May 13, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20948-20951]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-09751]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0073; Notice 2; Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0100; 
Notice 2]


FCA US LLC and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Grant of 
Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petitions.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: FCA US LLC (FCA US), (formally known as: Chrysler Group LLC) 
and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen), have determined 
that certain Mopar Service seat belt assemblies sold to FCA dealers and 
Volkswagen dealers as replacement equipment in certain model year (MY) 
1992-2018 FCA US motor vehicles and certain MY 2009-2018 Volkswagen 
Routan motor vehicles, do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 209, Seat Belt Assemblies. The petitioners 
have requested that NHTSA deem the subject noncompliance 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. This document grants both 
petitions in full.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jack Chern, Office of Vehicle Safety

[[Page 20949]]

Compliance, NHTSA, telephone 202-366-0661, facsimile 202-366-3081.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    I. Overview: FCA US has determined that certain Mopar Service seat 
belt assemblies sold to FCA dealers as replacement equipment in certain 
MY 1992-2018 FCA US motor vehicles do not fully comply with paragraphs 
S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209, Seat Belt Assemblies (49 CFR 
571.209). FCA US filed a noncompliance report dated July 25, 2017, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports. FCA US also petitioned NHTSA on August 17, 2017, for an 
exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. 
Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as 
it relates to motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) & 
30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or 
Noncompliance. Notice of receipt of FCA US's petition was published 
with a 30-day public comment period, on December 7, 2017, in the 
Federal Register (82 FR 57814). No comments were received.
    Volkswagen has determined that certain Mopar Service seat belt 
assemblies sold to Volkswagen dealers as replacement equipment in 
certain MY 2009-2018 Volkswagen Routan motor vehicles do not fully 
comply with paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209. Volkswagen 
filed a noncompliance report dated November 8, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR 
part 573. Volkswagen petitioned NHTSA on November 29, 2017, for an 
exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. 
Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as 
it relates to motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) & 
30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556. Notice of receipt of Volkswagen's 
petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on March 
21, 2018, in the Federal Register (83 FR 12458). No comments were 
received.
    II. Equipment Involved: Approximately 1,900 replacement seat belt 
assemblies manufactured between June 25, 2008, and October 25, 2013 for 
installation in certain MY 2009-2018 Volkswagen Routan motor vehicles 
are potentially involved.
    Approximately 728,100 Mopar Service seat belt assemblies sold to 
FCA dealers as replacement equipment for use in the following FCA motor 
vehicles are potentially involved:

 2010-2017 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis (``DD'')
 2016-2017 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis (``DF'')
 2010-2017 Ram 2500 (``DJ'')
 2010-2017 Ram 4500/5500 Cab Chassis (``DP'')
 2009-2017 Ram 1500 (``DS'')
 2010-2017 Ram 3500 (``D2'')
 2012-2017 Fiat 500 (``FF'')
 2009-2017 Dodge Journey (``JC'')
 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler (``JK'')
 2014-2017 Jeep Cherokee (``KL'')
 2015-2017 Dodge Challenger (``LA'')
 2012-2017 Chrysler 300 (``LX'')
 2012-2017 Dodge Charger (``LD'')
 2008-2017 Jeep Compass (``MK'')
 2008-2017 Jeep Patriot (``MK'')
 2012-2017 Dodge Dart (``PF'')
 2015-2017 Chrysler 200 (``UF'')
 2008-2017 Chrysler Town & Country (``RT'')
 2008-2017 Dodge Grand Caravan (``RT'')
 2017 Chrysler Pacifica (``RU'')
 2011-2017 Dodge Durango (``WD'')
 2011-2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee (``WK'')
 2013-2017 Dodge SRT Viper (``ZD'')
 2002-2008 Dodge Ram 1500 (``DR'')
 2004-2010 Dodge Durango (``HB'')
 2007-2010 Chrysler Aspen (``HG'')
 2005-2012 Dodge Dakota (``ND'')
 1994-2002 Dodge Ram 1500 (``BR'')
 1993-2004 Dodge Intrepid (``LH'')
 1993-2004 Chrysler Concorde (``LH'')
 1993-2004 Chrysler 300M (``LH'')
 1995-2005 Dodge Neon (``PL'')
 2006-2012 Dodge Caliber (``PM'')
 1997-2000 Plymouth Prowler (``PR'')
 2001-2002 Chrysler Prowler (``PR'')
 2001-2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser (``PT'')
 1992-2002 Dodge Viper (``SR'')
 2003-2010 Dodge Viper (``ZB'')
 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (``ZJ'')
 2014-2018 Ram ProMaster (``VF'')
 2015-2018 Ram ProMaster City (``VM'')
 2015-2018 Jeep Renegade (``BU'')
 2015-2017 Fiat 500x (``FB'')
 2014-2017 Fiat 500L (``BF'')
 2016-2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia (``GA'')
 2015-2017 Alfa Romeo 4C (``4C'')
 2017 Fiat 124 Spider (``BA'')

    III. Noncompliance: The petitioners explain that the subject 
noncompliance involves the Mopar Service Seat Belt assemblies sold to 
both FCA US and Volkswagen dealerships for use or for subsequent resale 
to dealers, for repairs by dealership service technicians, or 
dealership retail customers for installation and replacement parts in 
certain FCA US and Volkswagen vehicles. Specifically, the subject seat 
belt assemblies were sold without the proper inclusion of the ``I-
Sheets'' (i.e., ``Installation instructions'' and ``Usage and 
maintenance instructions''), and therefore, do not meet all applicable 
requirements specified in paragraphs S4.1(k) and 4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 
209.
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 
includes the requirements relevant to this petition:

     A seat belt assembly, other than a seat belt assembly 
installed in a motor vehicle by an automobile manufacturer, shall be 
accompanied by an instruction sheet providing sufficient information 
for installing the assembly in a motor vehicle.
     The installation instructions shall state whether the 
assembly is for universal installation or for installation only in 
specifically stated motor vehicles, and shall include at least those 
items specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c (1973) 
(incorporated by reference, see Sec.  571.5).
     If the assembly is for use only in specifically stated 
motor vehicles, the assembly shall either be permanently and legibly 
marked or labeled with the following statement, or the instruction 
sheet shall include the following statement:
    [cir] This seat belt assembly is for use only in [insert 
specific seating position(s), e.g., ``front right''] in [insert 
specific vehicle make(s) and model(s)].
     A seat belt assembly or retractor shall be accompanied 
by written instructions for the proper use of the assembly, 
stressing particularly the importance of wearing the assembly snugly 
and properly located on the body, and on the maintenance of the 
assembly and periodic inspection of all components.
     The instructions shall show the proper manner of 
threading webbing in the hardware of seat belt assemblies in which 
the webbing is not permanently fastened. Instructions for a 
nonlocking retractor shall include a caution that the webbing must 
be fully extended from the retractor during use of the seat belt 
assembly unless the retractor is attached to the free end of webbing 
which is not subjected to any tension during restraint of an 
occupant by the assembly. Instructions for Type 2a shoulder belt 
shall include a warning that the shoulder belt is not to be used 
without a lap belt.

    V. Summary of Petitions: The petitioners described the subject 
noncompliance and stated their belief that the noncompliance is, in 
each case, inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    In support, the petitioners submitted the following arguments:
    1. The subject seat belt assemblies are only sold to FCA US and 
Volkswagen authorized dealerships for installation as replacement seat 
belts in certain FCA US and Volkswagen motor vehicles. These assemblies 
are not sold to aftermarket auto parts distributors or retail outlets.
    2. The subject seat belt assemblies are clearly labeled and 
identifiable by part number in both the FCA US part system and 
Volkswagen's parts catalogue for use on specific make, model, and model

[[Page 20950]]

year vehicles, and for specific seating positions.
    3. In order to purchase these parts, the buyer would need to supply 
either the part assembly number or make, model, model year and seating 
position of the vehicle, thus, only the proper assembly would be sold 
to the end user.
    4. Installation of the seat belt assembly is a complex process in 
the modern motor vehicle, unlike the vehicles in the past that the 
provisions [paragraph S4.1 of FMVSS No. 209] were intended to address. 
The method of identification and the physical differences between belt 
retractors and attachment hardware, as well as the vehicle installation 
environment, preclude the misinstallation of seat belt assemblies.
    5. FCA US states that the proper installation procedure for all 
Mopar Service Seat Belt assemblies are clearly described in FCA US 
service manuals, which are also available online through DealerCONNECT 
and sold to the public through Mopar and FCA US brand websites. With 
respect to seat belt usage and installation instructions, FCA US stated 
that consumers who have purchased the seat belt assemblies in the past 
can contact the Parts Department at their dealer for a copy of the 
Instruction Sheets at no cost. FCA US also stated that instructions and 
information regarding proper usage, proper maintenance, and periodic 
inspection for damaged seat belts are included in the vehicle's Owner's 
Manual.
    6. Volkswagen stated that their seat belt assembly installation 
instructions are included in Volkswagen Service Manuals and are 
available to independent repair shops and to individual owners, who can 
also purchase the Service Manual (which is a paid subscription) or seek 
dealer assistance and obtain copies of the installation instructions 
free of charge, if necessary. The instructions are also available on 
Parts on Command (POC) and can be printed, in house, at the dealership 
free of charge for the customers. In most cases, reference to the 
installation instructions will not be necessary because the seat belt 
installation will be to replace an existing belt and the installation 
procedure will just be the reverse of the removal procedure. With 
respect to seat belt usage and maintenance instructions, Volkswagen 
also stated that they have been included in all Volkswagen owners' 
manuals.
    7. FCA US has notified its dealer of the existence of the 
noncompliance and the dealer will be automatically prompted to include 
the Service Instructions Sheets at the time when a customer purchases a 
seat belt assembly.
    8. Volkswagen stated that the packaging for the supplied service 
seat belts should have been accompanied by the instruction sheet, 
however, because there was insufficient information to confirm that the 
instruction sheet accompanied the affected service parts. Volkswagen 
has determined to notify its dealers of the existence of the 
noncompliance. Volkswagen also stated that the instructions are now 
available on Parts on Command (POC) and can be printed free of charge 
at the dealership. These instruction sheets are required to be provided 
with every safety belt assembly or safety belt buckle sold- whether it 
be retail, wholesale, or in the shop.
    9. The petitioners are not aware of any incidents or consumer 
complaints relating to the absence of the I-Sheet and use instructions 
with the sale of any of the subject seat belt assemblies.
    FCA US and Volkswagen stated that there have been many instances of 
similar documentation omissions where the agency has granted 
inconsequential treatment. The petitioners cited the following 
examples: Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (77 FR 24762, April 25, 
2012); Bentley Motors, Inc. (75 FR 35877, September 20, 2011); Hyundai 
Motor Company (73 FR 49238, March 2, 2009); Ford Motor Company (73 FR 
11462, March 3, 2008); Mazda North America Operations (73 FR 11464, 
March 3, 2008); Ford Motor Company (73 FR 63051, October 22, 2008); and 
TRW, Inc. (58 FR 7171, February 4, 1993).
    FCA stated that the most notable grant of inconsequential treatment 
is Subaru of America, Inc. (65 FR 67471, November 9, 2000), where the 
agency made the following succinct observations:

    There seems to be little need for the installation instructions 
with replacements for original equipment seat belts. The SAE J800c 
Recommended Practice incorporated in FMVSS No. 209 appears to have 
been written as a guide on how to install a seat belt where one does 
not exist. The Recommended Practice discusses such things as how to 
determine the correct location for anchorages, how to create 
adequate anchorages and how to properly attach webbing to the newly 
installed anchorages. These instructions do not apply to today's 
replacement market. Additionally, vehicle manufacturers provide 
service manuals on how seat belts should be replaced. NHTSA does not 
believe the ``how to'' instructions are necessary in this case. 
Next, we note that the subject seat belt assemblies were distributed 
without the required 'usage and maintenance instructions' specified 
in FMVSS No. 209, S4.1(l), which requires that seat belt assemblies 
sold as replacement equipment have owner instructions on how to wear 
the seat belt and how to properly thread the webbing on seat belts 
where the webbing is not permanently attached. NHTSA believes that 
the proper usage is adequately described in the vehicle owner's 
manual. NHTSA does not believe that instructions about the proper 
threading of webbing is applicable to modern original equipment 
automobile seat belt systems. This second instruction sheet is 
either duplicated in the owner's manual or not applicable.

    The FCA US understands that while they may believe FMVSS No. 209 
S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) are somewhat antiquated, it is nevertheless 
required to fully comply with this safety standard. In this regard, the 
petitioners have made process changes to ensure that hard copies of the 
I-Sheets will be included with all seat belt assemblies shipped to its 
dealers. FCA US has implemented changes in its part ordering process to 
ensure that all I-Sheets for Mopar Service Seat Belt assemblies 
affected by recall T49 (NHTSA 17E-039) have been uploaded to online 
resources (StarPartsTM and DealerCONNECT) and directly 
linked to the specific Mopar Service Seat Belt part numbers. Going 
forward, this hard copy and on-line mating of the service parts and 
S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) instructions will ensure that the documentation 
requirement of FMVSS No. 209 will be met.
    The petitioners concluded by expressing the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that their petitions to be exempted from providing notification of 
the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.
    VI. NHTSA's Analysis: To help ensure proper installation, usage, 
and maintenance of seat belt assemblies, paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) 
of FMVSS No. 209 require that installation, usage, and maintenance 
instructions be provided with seat belt assemblies other than those 
installed by an automobile manufacturer.
    First, with respect to the need to allow consumers to select the 
correct seat belt for their vehicle, we note that the subject seat belt 
assemblies are only made available to FCA US and Volkswagen authorized 
dealerships for their use or subsequent resale. Because the parts 
ordering process used by FCA US and Volkswagen authorized dealerships 
clearly identifies the correct service part by a vehicle's model, model 
year, and seating position, NHTSA believes that it is unlikely that an 
inappropriate seat belt assembly will be

[[Page 20951]]

sold by the FCA US and Volkswagen dealership for a specific seating 
position within a vehicle.
    Second, NHTSA recognizes the importance of having installation 
instructions available to installers as well as use and maintenance 
instructions available to consumers. The risk created by this 
noncompliance is that someone who purchased an assembly is unable to 
obtain the necessary installation information and therefore incorrectly 
installs the seat belt assembly. We note that technicians at 
dealerships have access to the seat belt assembly installation 
instructions in vehicle Service Manuals. Installers other than 
dealership technicians can obtain a copy of the installation 
instructions, free of charge, through the dealerships' network. The 
installation instructions are also available in the docket because they 
were submitted with the manufacture's petitions. FCA US and Volkswagen 
also stated that the subject seat belt assemblies can only be properly 
installed in the correct seat position of their intended vehicles. 
Thus, we conclude that installers have reasonable opportunities to 
locate installation instructions which would permit a proper 
installation, and that the instructions can be obtained free of charge.
    In addition, NHTSA takes this opportunity to clarify prior 
statements concerning SAE Recommended Practice J800c. Paragraph S4.1(k) 
of FMVSS No. 209 requires ``at least those items specified in SAE 
Recommended Practice J800c'' be included in seat belt assembly 
instructions. As stated in SAE J800c, the ``minimum instruction 
requirements may be supplemented by more specific manufacturer's 
instructions, if they are necessary to provide installation 
instructions in a particular vehicle.'' Although mainly containing 
universal seat belt assembly installation instructions, SAE J800c 
acknowledges seat belt assemblies intended for installation in specific 
vehicles may require additional installation instructions. Also, per 
FMVSS No. 209, seat belt assembly intended for installation in specific 
vehicles must also have installation instructions provided when a seat 
belt assembly is not sold as an original item on a motor vehicle. To 
fulfill this intent, we conclude, as detailed in the previous 
paragraph, that installers should be able to obtain installation 
instructions which would permit a proper installation, and that the 
instructions can be obtained free of charge.
    With respect to seat belt usage and maintenance instructions, we 
note that this information is readily available in the vehicle owner's 
manuals. In addition, consumers can also obtain this information, free 
of charge, through the vehicle's dealership networks. Thus, with 
respect to usage and maintenance instructions, it appears that there 
are satisfactory alternatives to meeting the intent of S4.1(l) of FMVSS 
No. 209.
    NHTSA has granted similar petitions for failure to comply with 
requirements pertaining to seat belt assembly installation and usage 
instruction. Refer to Ford Motor Company (73 FR 11462, March 3, 2008); 
Mazda North America Operations (73 FR 11464, March 3, 2008); Ford Motor 
Company (73 FR 63051, October 22, 2008); Subaru of America, Inc. (65 FR 
67471, November 9, 2000); Bombardier Motor Corporation of America, Inc. 
(65 FR 60238, October 10, 2000); TRW, Inc. (58 FR 7171, February 4, 
1993); and Chrysler Corporation, (57 FR 45865, October 5, 1992).
    VII. NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA 
finds that both FCA US and Volkswagen have met their burden of 
persuasion that the FMVSS No. 209 noncompliance is inconsequential as 
it relates to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, FCA US and 
Volkswagen's petitions are hereby granted and FCA US and Volkswagen are 
consequently exempted from the obligation to provide notification of, 
and remedy for, the subject 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 allows 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 equipment that FCA US and 
Volkswagen no longer controlled at the time it determined that the 
noncompliance existed. However, the granting of this petition does not 
relieve equipment distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the 
sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into 
interstate commerce of the noncompliant equipment under their control 
after FCA US and Volkswagen 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)

Otto G. Matheke III,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2019-09751 Filed 5-10-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P