Notice of Denial of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming Model Year 2017-2019 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 Pullman Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation, 14672-14674 [2021-05440]

Download as PDF 14672 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 50 / Wednesday, March 17, 2021 / Notices Craig Neblett Mr. Neblett, 58, has had amblyopia in his right eye since 1977. The visual acuity in his right eye is hand motion, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2020, his optometrist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion, Craig Neblett has stable and sufficient vision OS and his condition OD (longstanding since 1977, 43 years) should not adversely affect his ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely due to 43 years of experience with only left eye vision.’’ Mr. Neblett reported that he has driven straight trucks for 20 years, accumulating 80,000 miles. He holds a Class B CDL from Missouri. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. John G. Shaver Mr. Shaver, 53, has had amblyopia in his left eye since birth. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/40, and in his left eye, 20/80. Following an examination in 2020, his optometrist stated, ‘‘In my medical opinion, John Shaver, has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial vehicle.’’ Mr. Shaver reported that he has driven tractor-trailer combinations for 26 years, accumulating 3,380,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from North Carolina. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes but one conviction for speeding in a CMV; he exceeded the speed limit by 10 mph. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Robert L. Strange, Jr. Mr. Strange, 52, has a retinal detachment in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/20, and in his left eye, hand motion. Following an examination in 2020, his optometrist stated, ‘‘It is my professional opinion that with 20/20 vision in his right eye and with both eyes operating together as well as a normal visual field as documented by automated perimetry, it should be safe for Mr. Strange to continue to operate a commercial vehicle safely.’’ Mr. Strange reported that he has driven straight trucks for 15 years, accumulating 300,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from North Carolina. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Scott E. Wertman Mr. Wertman, 60, has had optic neuropathy in his right eye since 2001. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/ 100, and in his left eye, 20/20. Following an examination in 2020, his ophthalmologist stated, ‘‘Patient has VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:47 Mar 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 demonstrated the ability to operate a commercial vehicle with the previous 2 decades, his examination is essentially unchaged [sic], and I do not see any alteration in his visual abilities at this time from his success in the past.’’ Mr. Wertman reported that he has driven straight trucks for 26 years, accumulating 32,500 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from North Carolina. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. Thomas L. Wiles Mr. Wiles, 40, has a retinal detachment in his left eye due to a traumatic incident in childhood. The visual acuity in his right eye is 20/30, and in his left eye, 20/150. Following an examination in 2020, his optometrist stated, ‘‘In my professional opinion, this patient has sufficient vision to perform the driving tasks required to operate a commercial motor vehicle.’’ Mr. Wiles reported that he has driven straight trucks for 12 years, accumulating 819,000 miles. He holds a Class A CDL from New Jersey. His driving record for the last 3 years shows no crashes and no convictions for moving violations in a CMV. III. Request for Comments In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), FMCSA requests public comment from all interested persons on the exemption petitions described in this notice. We will consider all comments and material received before the close of business on the closing date indicated under the DATES section of the notice. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–05491 Filed 3–16–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2019–0117; Notice 2] Notice of Denial of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming Model Year 2017–2019 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 Pullman Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Denial of petition for determination of import eligibility. AGENCY: G&K Automotive Conversion, Inc. (G&K or Petitioner) has petitioned SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NHTSA for a decision that model year 2017–2019 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 Pullman vehicles that were not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States. In its petition, G&K claims that these vehicles are eligible for import because they are substantially similar to and of the same model year as vehicles originally manufactured for import into and certified for sale in the United States, and they are capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS. This document announces the denial of G&K’s petition. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Mazurowski, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, NHTSA (202–366– 1012). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background A motor vehicle that was not originally manufactured to conform to all applicable FMVSS may be eligible for import into the United States if NHTSA determines that the motor vehicle is (1) substantially similar to a motor vehicle originally manufactured for importation into and certified for sale in the United States, (2) of the same model year as the model of the motor vehicle to which it is being compared, and (3) capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS. See 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A).1 If NHTSA determines that a nonconforming vehicle is import eligible, any such nonconforming vehicle imported into the United States must be modified into conformance and certified as conforming by a registered importer before it is sold or otherwise released from the custody of the registered importer. 49 U.S.C. 30146(a)(1); 49 CFR 592.6.2 Petitions for import eligibility decisions may be submitted by either manufacturers or registered importers and must comply with the requirements set forth in 49 CFR 593.6. A petition based on the existence of a substantially similar conforming vehicle manufactured for import and certified for sale in the United States must include, among other things, ‘‘[d]ata, views and arguments demonstrating that the vehicle [which is the subject of the petition] is substantially similar to the 1 This provision was codified at 15 U.S.C. 1397(c)(3)(A) prior to the 1994 recodification of the transportation laws. 2 A registered importer is an importer that has registered with NHTSA under 49 CFR part 592 and is therefore authorized to modify and then certify imported vehicles as compliant with all applicable FMVSS. E:\FR\FM\17MRN1.SGM 17MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 50 / Wednesday, March 17, 2021 / Notices vehicle identified by the petitioner’’ as a comparison vehicle. Id. § 593(a)(4). The petition also must include, with respect to each of the FMVSS applicable to the comparison vehicle, ‘‘data, views, and arguments demonstrating that the vehicle [which is the subject of the petition] either was originally manufactured to conform to such standard, or is capable of being readily modified to conform to such standard.’’ Id. § 597.6(a)(4). As specified in 49 CFR 593.7, NHTSA publishes notice of each petition that it receives in the Federal Register and affords interested persons an opportunity to comment on the petition. At the close of the comment period, NHTSA decides whether the vehicle is eligible for importation based on the petition, its review of any comments received, and the agency’s own analysis. NHTSA will grant a petition for import eligibility if it ‘‘determines that the petition clearly demonstrates that the vehicle model is eligible for importation’’ and will deny the petition if it ‘‘determines that the petition does not clearly demonstrate that the vehicle model is eligible for importation.’’ 49 CFR 593.7(e)–(f). NHTSA then publishes its decision and the reasons for it in the Federal Register. Id. II. Summary of Petition jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES G&K, a registered importer, located in Santa Ana, California has petitioned NHTSA to decide whether nonconforming model year 2017–2019 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 Pullman passenger cars (the Subject Vehicles) are eligible for importation into the United States. In its petition, G&K contends the Subject Vehicles are substantially similar to model year 2017–2019 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 passenger cars (the Comparison Vehicles) sold in the United States and certified by their manufacturer as conforming to all applicable FMVSS. G&K’s petition states that the Subject Vehicles are ‘‘manufactured by Mercedes Benz in Germany for the European market’’ and that ‘‘Mercedes Benz has also used its licensed manufacturer Brabus for additional features that are added to the vehicles.’’ 3 The petition does not identify these additional features, but states that the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the Subject Vehicles is 3 The agency interprets petitioner’s references to ‘‘Mercedes Benz’’ as a reference to Mercedes-Benz AG, the German motor vehicle manufacturer with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, and its reference to ‘‘Brabus’’ as a reference to BRABUS GmbH, an automotive aftermarket company in Bottrop, Germany. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:47 Mar 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 7,946 pounds and that the GVWR of the Comparison Vehicles is 6,206 pounds. Although G&K’s petition states that it is requesting an import eligibility decision for model years 2017, 2018, and 2019 of the Subject Vehicles, G&K’s petition is based solely on its inspection of a model year 2018 Subject Vehicle. The petition makes no reference to any inspection or analysis involving a model year 2017 or model year 2019 Subject Vehicle and no representation regarding the similarity of or differences between model year 2017, 2018, and 2019 Subject Vehicles. The petition also fails to state whether the comparison performed by G&K involved a model year 2017, 2018, or 2019 Comparison Vehicle. G&K’s petition nonetheless states that its analysis of the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles compels the conclusion that the vehicles are substantially similar. Specifically, Petitioner states that the Subject Vehicles, as originally manufactured, conform to: FMVSS Nos. 102, Transmission Shift Position Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect; 103, Windshield Defrosting and Defogging Systems; 104, Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems; 106, Brake Hoses; 113, Hood Latch System; 114, Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention; 116, Motor Vehicle Brake Fluids; 118, PowerOperated Window, Partition, and Roof Panel System; 124, Accelerator Control Systems; 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems; 135, Light Vehicle Brake Systems; 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems; 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires; 201, Occupant Protection in Interior Impact, 202; Head Restraints; Applicable at the Manufacturers Option until September 1, 2009; 204, Steering Control Rearward Displacement; 205, Glazing Materials; 206, Door Locks and Door Retention Components; 207, Seating Systems; 208, Occupant Crash Protection; 209, Seat Belt Assemblies; 210, Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages; 212, Windshield Mounting; 214, Side Impact Protection; 216, Roof Crush Resistance; Applicable unless a Vehicle is Certified to § 571.216a; 219, Windshield Zone Intrusion; 225, Child Restraint Anchorage Systems; and 302, Flammability of Interior Materials. With respect to many of these standards, G&K states that the Subject Vehicles utilize the same components as the Comparison Vehicles and claims, without any supporting analysis, that the Subject Vehicles are therefore compliant. With respect to FMVSS No. 126 (Electronic Stability Control), G&K states only that the Subject Vehicles PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 14673 ‘‘come with an Electronic Stability Control system that complies with this standard.’’ With respect to FMVSS No. 214 (Side Impact Protection), G&K acknowledges differences between the Subject Vehicles and Comparison Vehicles, but claims that ‘‘both [vehicles] meet the requirements of this standard.’’ G&K’s petition further claims that the Subject Vehicles are capable of being readily altered to meet the following FMVSS, in the manner indicated: FMVSS No. 101, Controls and Displays—by programming of the speedometer for units of miles per hour; FMVSS No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment—by the replacement of headlamps and front and rear side marker assemblies; FMVSS No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims—by the addition of tire information placard; FMVSS No. 111, Rear Mirrors—by the inscription of the required warning statement on the face of the passenger mirror; FMVSS No. 301, Fuel System Integrity—by the inspection and if necessary replacement of original fuel system components in the Subject Vehicles with components from the Comparison Vehicles; and FMVSS No. 401, Interior Trunk Release—by the addition of a trunk release. With respect to the fuel system integrity requirements of FMVSS No. 301, G&K’s petition does not explain how it will determine what fuel system components need to be replaced or how it will determine, following the replacement of those unidentified components, whether the vehicles comply with the requirements of that standard. G&K provides no data or technical analysis supporting any of its claims regarding the as-built compliance of the Subject Vehicles with the FMVSS it identified or their ability to be readily modified into compliance with any of the other FMVSS. Instead, it states that ‘‘[a]ll statements concerning compliance of the [Subject Vehicles] with applicable FMVSS, or modifications required to enable the [Subject Vehicles] to comply with applicable FMVSS, are the result of a detailed inspection and investigation of available literature comparing the [Subject Vehicles] with the [Comparison Vehicles].’’ No such literature was identified in or included with G&K’s petition. III. Public Comments A Notice of Receipt of G&K’s Petition Was Published in the Federal Register for public comment for a period of 30 days. 84 FR 72133 (Dec. 30, 2019). No public comments were submitted in response to the Notice of Receipt. E:\FR\FM\17MRN1.SGM 17MRN1 14674 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 50 / Wednesday, March 17, 2021 / Notices IV. NHTSA’s Analysis NHTSA’s review of information submitted by the Petitioner, publicly available information, data obtained from the manufacturer and images of the Subject Vehicle and Comparison Vehicle indicates that the Subject and Comparison Vehicles are not substantially similar. The Petitioner has not met its burden of demonstrating that the Subject Vehicles are eligible for import because they are substantially similar to, and of the same model year, as vehicles originally manufactured for import into and certified for sale in the United States, and therefore capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS. Although both the Comparison and Subject vehicles appear to share a common platform, the Comparison Vehicle offered by the petitioner is a traditional passenger car while the Subject Vehicle is a limousine. The Subject Vehicle has a partition between the driver and passenger compartments, forward and rear-facing seating in the rear passenger compartment, and a different engine and suspension system. The Subject Vehicles and Comparison vehicles differ in overall length and wheelbase by 41 inches, have a roof height difference of 4 inches and the Subject Vehicle is 1,700 pounds heavier than the Comparison Vehicle. As part of its analysis, NHTSA sought input from the manufacturer of both the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles. In response to the agency’s question of whether the Subject Vehicles and Comparison vehicles were, or were not, substantially similar, the manufacturer responded by comparing the Subject Vehicle to the 2019 model year Maybach S650: It is Mercedes-Benz’s position that the S600 Pullman cannot be considered substantially similar to the Maybach S650, primarily because of mass (2820 kg vs 3600 kg), which translates to differences in crash tests, braking distance, and tire loads.4 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES While the response did not directly address the similarity or differences between the Subject Vehicle and Maybach S600, we note that that the difference in size and mass between the 4 Introduced for model year 2019, the MercedesBenz Maybach S650 is a successor vehicle to the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600. The dimensions of the Maybach S650, including length, wheel base, roof height, and weight are nearly identical to the Maybach S600, and the comments from the manufacturer therefore apply equally to any comparison between the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles. A copy of the correspondence between NHTSA and MercedesBenz USA is included in the public docket. See Mercedes-Benz Pullman Response, Docket ID: NHTSA–2019–0117 (available at www.regulations.gov). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:47 Mar 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 Subject and Comparison Vehicle is significant and the information provided by the manufacturer relating to crash test, braking and tire loading performance still apply. NHTSA also finds that G&K’s petition fails to establish that it involves a comparison of vehicles of the same model year. Although the petition states that G&K inspected a model year 2018 Subject Vehicle, it does not identify the model year of any Comparison Vehicle with which it was compared. The petition also fails to include any reference to a comparison involving a model year 2017 or model year 2019 Subject Vehicle with any specific model year Comparison Vehicle. NHTSA further finds that G&K’s petition fails to establish that the Subject Vehicles are capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS. As previously noted, the petition relies heavily on assertions that the as-built Subject Vehicles conform with many of the applicable FMVSS because they utilize the same components as the certified Comparison Vehicles. These assertions are not persuasive because many of the standards at issue are vehicle standards (as opposed to equipment standards). The considerable differences in size and configuration between the Subject and Configuration vehicles is contrary to any assumption that components or design features found on the smaller vehicle will deliver acceptable performance on a larger one. The fact that one vehicle includes some common components with a different, compliant vehicle does not necessarily support the conclusion that the first vehicle is also compliant. With a longer wheelbase, greater mass, and different suspension, the crash test and other dynamics of the Subject Vehicles will necessarily be different than those of the Comparison Vehicles. As the manufacturer observed, the different mass of the two vehicles ‘‘translates to differences in crash tests, braking distance, and tire loads.’’ The manufacturer also confirmed that ‘‘there is no documentation existing within MB–AG to indicate that the [Subject Vehicles] were tested for conformance to the FMVSS.’’ See Mercedes-Benz Pullman Response, Docket ID: NHTSA– 2019–0117 (available at www.regulations.gov). Based on the differences between the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles, NHTSA takes issue with some of the factual assertions in G&K’s petition. For example, G&K states that the Subject Vehicle ‘‘comes equipped with a body/roof and support structure and components identical to those found in the [Comparison Vehicle] and PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 therefore meets the requirements of FMVSS 216’’ (Roof Crush Protection). Given the different dimensions (including length, wheel base, and roof height) of the two vehicles, the statement regarding identical body and roof components cannot be accurate. Likewise, given the difference in mass (1,700 pounds), there is no basis for assuming that that the heavier Subject Vehicle complies in the same manner as the lighter Comparison Vehicle. As noted above, G&K also fails to explain, with respect to the fuel system integrity requirements of FMVSS No. 301, how it could determine what components need to be replaced and whether those proposed components will ensure compliance with that standard. G&K also fails to acknowledge that the different configuration of the Subject Vehicles makes them subject to additional standards beyond those applicable to the Comparable Vehicles, including the FMVSS No. 118 requirements applicable to electronic partitions between the driver and passenger compartments. V. NHTSA’s Decision Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that the Subject Vehicles are substantially similar to the Comparison Vehicles, failed to demonstrate that its comparison involved vehicles of the same model year, and failed to demonstrate that the Subject Vehicles are capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS. In addition, based on available information, the Subject Vehicles do not meet the statutory requirements. The petition therefore is denied. Pursuant to 49 CFR 593.7(e), NHTSA will not consider a new petition covering the models that are the subject of this decision until at least 3 months from the date of this notice of denial. (Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(B), and (b)(1); 49 CFR 593.7; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.) Jeffrey Mark Giuseppe, Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2021–05440 Filed 3–16–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Renewal; Comment Request; Credit Risk Retention Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Treasury. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\17MRN1.SGM 17MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 50 (Wednesday, March 17, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14672-14674]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-05440]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2019-0117; Notice 2]


Notice of Denial of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 
Model Year 2017-2019 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 Pullman Passenger Cars 
Are Eligible for Importation

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

ACTION: Denial of petition for determination of import eligibility.

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

SUMMARY: G&K Automotive Conversion, Inc. (G&K or Petitioner) has 
petitioned NHTSA for a decision that model year 2017-2019 Mercedes-Benz 
Maybach S600 Pullman vehicles that were not originally manufactured to 
comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards 
(FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States. In its 
petition, G&K claims that these vehicles are eligible for import 
because they are substantially similar to and of the same model year as 
vehicles originally manufactured for import into and certified for sale 
in the United States, and they are capable of being readily altered to 
conform to all applicable FMVSS. This document announces the denial of 
G&K's petition.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Mazurowski, Office of Vehicle 
Safety Compliance, NHTSA (202-366-1012).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    A motor vehicle that was not originally manufactured to conform to 
all applicable FMVSS may be eligible for import into the United States 
if NHTSA determines that the motor vehicle is (1) substantially similar 
to a motor vehicle originally manufactured for importation into and 
certified for sale in the United States, (2) of the same model year as 
the model of the motor vehicle to which it is being compared, and (3) 
capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS. 
See 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A).\1\ If NHTSA determines that a 
nonconforming vehicle is import eligible, any such nonconforming 
vehicle imported into the United States must be modified into 
conformance and certified as conforming by a registered importer before 
it is sold or otherwise released from the custody of the registered 
importer. 49 U.S.C. 30146(a)(1); 49 CFR 592.6.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ This provision was codified at 15 U.S.C. 1397(c)(3)(A) prior 
to the 1994 recodification of the transportation laws.
    \2\ A registered importer is an importer that has registered 
with NHTSA under 49 CFR part 592 and is therefore authorized to 
modify and then certify imported vehicles as compliant with all 
applicable FMVSS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Petitions for import eligibility decisions may be submitted by 
either manufacturers or registered importers and must comply with the 
requirements set forth in 49 CFR 593.6. A petition based on the 
existence of a substantially similar conforming vehicle manufactured 
for import and certified for sale in the United States must include, 
among other things, ``[d]ata, views and arguments demonstrating that 
the vehicle [which is the subject of the petition] is substantially 
similar to the

[[Page 14673]]

vehicle identified by the petitioner'' as a comparison vehicle. Id. 
Sec.  593(a)(4). The petition also must include, with respect to each 
of the FMVSS applicable to the comparison vehicle, ``data, views, and 
arguments demonstrating that the vehicle [which is the subject of the 
petition] either was originally manufactured to conform to such 
standard, or is capable of being readily modified to conform to such 
standard.'' Id. Sec.  597.6(a)(4).
    As specified in 49 CFR 593.7, NHTSA publishes notice of each 
petition that it receives in the Federal Register and affords 
interested persons an opportunity to comment on the petition. At the 
close of the comment period, NHTSA decides whether the vehicle is 
eligible for importation based on the petition, its review of any 
comments received, and the agency's own analysis. NHTSA will grant a 
petition for import eligibility if it ``determines that the petition 
clearly demonstrates that the vehicle model is eligible for 
importation'' and will deny the petition if it ``determines that the 
petition does not clearly demonstrate that the vehicle model is 
eligible for importation.'' 49 CFR 593.7(e)-(f). NHTSA then publishes 
its decision and the reasons for it in the Federal Register. Id.

II. Summary of Petition

    G&K, a registered importer, located in Santa Ana, California has 
petitioned NHTSA to decide whether nonconforming model year 2017-2019 
Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 Pullman passenger cars (the Subject 
Vehicles) are eligible for importation into the United States. In its 
petition, G&K contends the Subject Vehicles are substantially similar 
to model year 2017-2019 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 passenger cars (the 
Comparison Vehicles) sold in the United States and certified by their 
manufacturer as conforming to all applicable FMVSS. G&K's petition 
states that the Subject Vehicles are ``manufactured by Mercedes Benz in 
Germany for the European market'' and that ``Mercedes Benz has also 
used its licensed manufacturer Brabus for additional features that are 
added to the vehicles.'' \3\ The petition does not identify these 
additional features, but states that the gross vehicle weight rating 
(GVWR) of the Subject Vehicles is 7,946 pounds and that the GVWR of the 
Comparison Vehicles is 6,206 pounds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ The agency interprets petitioner's references to ``Mercedes 
Benz'' as a reference to Mercedes-Benz AG, the German motor vehicle 
manufacturer with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, and its 
reference to ``Brabus'' as a reference to BRABUS GmbH, an automotive 
aftermarket company in Bottrop, Germany.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although G&K's petition states that it is requesting an import 
eligibility decision for model years 2017, 2018, and 2019 of the 
Subject Vehicles, G&K's petition is based solely on its inspection of a 
model year 2018 Subject Vehicle. The petition makes no reference to any 
inspection or analysis involving a model year 2017 or model year 2019 
Subject Vehicle and no representation regarding the similarity of or 
differences between model year 2017, 2018, and 2019 Subject Vehicles. 
The petition also fails to state whether the comparison performed by 
G&K involved a model year 2017, 2018, or 2019 Comparison Vehicle.
    G&K's petition nonetheless states that its analysis of the Subject 
Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles compels the conclusion that the 
vehicles are substantially similar. Specifically, Petitioner states 
that the Subject Vehicles, as originally manufactured, conform to: 
FMVSS Nos. 102, Transmission Shift Position Sequence, Starter 
Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect; 103, Windshield Defrosting 
and Defogging Systems; 104, Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems; 106, 
Brake Hoses; 113, Hood Latch System; 114, Theft Protection and Rollaway 
Prevention; 116, Motor Vehicle Brake Fluids; 118, Power-Operated 
Window, Partition, and Roof Panel System; 124, Accelerator Control 
Systems; 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems; 135, Light Vehicle 
Brake Systems; 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems; 139, New 
Pneumatic Radial Tires; 201, Occupant Protection in Interior Impact, 
202; Head Restraints; Applicable at the Manufacturers Option until 
September 1, 2009; 204, Steering Control Rearward Displacement; 205, 
Glazing Materials; 206, Door Locks and Door Retention Components; 207, 
Seating Systems; 208, Occupant Crash Protection; 209, Seat Belt 
Assemblies; 210, Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages; 212, Windshield 
Mounting; 214, Side Impact Protection; 216, Roof Crush Resistance; 
Applicable unless a Vehicle is Certified to Sec.  571.216a; 219, 
Windshield Zone Intrusion; 225, Child Restraint Anchorage Systems; and 
302, Flammability of Interior Materials. With respect to many of these 
standards, G&K states that the Subject Vehicles utilize the same 
components as the Comparison Vehicles and claims, without any 
supporting analysis, that the Subject Vehicles are therefore compliant. 
With respect to FMVSS No. 126 (Electronic Stability Control), G&K 
states only that the Subject Vehicles ``come with an Electronic 
Stability Control system that complies with this standard.'' With 
respect to FMVSS No. 214 (Side Impact Protection), G&K acknowledges 
differences between the Subject Vehicles and Comparison Vehicles, but 
claims that ``both [vehicles] meet the requirements of this standard.''
    G&K's petition further claims that the Subject Vehicles are capable 
of being readily altered to meet the following FMVSS, in the manner 
indicated: FMVSS No. 101, Controls and Displays--by programming of the 
speedometer for units of miles per hour; FMVSS No. 108, Lamps, 
Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment--by the replacement of 
headlamps and front and rear side marker assemblies; FMVSS No. 110, 
Tire Selection and Rims--by the addition of tire information placard; 
FMVSS No. 111, Rear Mirrors--by the inscription of the required warning 
statement on the face of the passenger mirror; FMVSS No. 301, Fuel 
System Integrity--by the inspection and if necessary replacement of 
original fuel system components in the Subject Vehicles with components 
from the Comparison Vehicles; and FMVSS No. 401, Interior Trunk 
Release--by the addition of a trunk release. With respect to the fuel 
system integrity requirements of FMVSS No. 301, G&K's petition does not 
explain how it will determine what fuel system components need to be 
replaced or how it will determine, following the replacement of those 
unidentified components, whether the vehicles comply with the 
requirements of that standard.
    G&K provides no data or technical analysis supporting any of its 
claims regarding the as-built compliance of the Subject Vehicles with 
the FMVSS it identified or their ability to be readily modified into 
compliance with any of the other FMVSS. Instead, it states that ``[a]ll 
statements concerning compliance of the [Subject Vehicles] with 
applicable FMVSS, or modifications required to enable the [Subject 
Vehicles] to comply with applicable FMVSS, are the result of a detailed 
inspection and investigation of available literature comparing the 
[Subject Vehicles] with the [Comparison Vehicles].'' No such literature 
was identified in or included with G&K's petition.

III. Public Comments

    A Notice of Receipt of G&K's Petition Was Published in the Federal 
Register for public comment for a period of 30 days. 84 FR 72133 (Dec. 
30, 2019). No public comments were submitted in response to the Notice 
of Receipt.

[[Page 14674]]

IV. NHTSA's Analysis

    NHTSA's review of information submitted by the Petitioner, publicly 
available information, data obtained from the manufacturer and images 
of the Subject Vehicle and Comparison Vehicle indicates that the 
Subject and Comparison Vehicles are not substantially similar. The 
Petitioner has not met its burden of demonstrating that the Subject 
Vehicles are eligible for import because they are substantially similar 
to, and of the same model year, as vehicles originally manufactured for 
import into and certified for sale in the United States, and therefore 
capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS.
    Although both the Comparison and Subject vehicles appear to share a 
common platform, the Comparison Vehicle offered by the petitioner is a 
traditional passenger car while the Subject Vehicle is a limousine. The 
Subject Vehicle has a partition between the driver and passenger 
compartments, forward and rear-facing seating in the rear passenger 
compartment, and a different engine and suspension system. The Subject 
Vehicles and Comparison vehicles differ in overall length and wheelbase 
by 41 inches, have a roof height difference of 4 inches and the Subject 
Vehicle is 1,700 pounds heavier than the Comparison Vehicle.
    As part of its analysis, NHTSA sought input from the manufacturer 
of both the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles. In response 
to the agency's question of whether the Subject Vehicles and Comparison 
vehicles were, or were not, substantially similar, the manufacturer 
responded by comparing the Subject Vehicle to the 2019 model year 
Maybach S650:

    It is Mercedes-Benz's position that the S600 Pullman cannot be 
considered substantially similar to the Maybach S650, primarily 
because of mass (2820 kg vs 3600 kg), which translates to 
differences in crash tests, braking distance, and tire loads.\4\
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    \4\ Introduced for model year 2019, the Mercedes-Benz Maybach 
S650 is a successor vehicle to the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600. The 
dimensions of the Maybach S650, including length, wheel base, roof 
height, and weight are nearly identical to the Maybach S600, and the 
comments from the manufacturer therefore apply equally to any 
comparison between the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles. 
A copy of the correspondence between NHTSA and Mercedes-Benz USA is 
included in the public docket. See Mercedes-Benz Pullman Response, 
Docket ID: NHTSA-2019-0117 (available at www.regulations.gov).

    While the response did not directly address the similarity or 
differences between the Subject Vehicle and Maybach S600, we note that 
that the difference in size and mass between the Subject and Comparison 
Vehicle is significant and the information provided by the manufacturer 
relating to crash test, braking and tire loading performance still 
apply.
    NHTSA also finds that G&K's petition fails to establish that it 
involves a comparison of vehicles of the same model year. Although the 
petition states that G&K inspected a model year 2018 Subject Vehicle, 
it does not identify the model year of any Comparison Vehicle with 
which it was compared. The petition also fails to include any reference 
to a comparison involving a model year 2017 or model year 2019 Subject 
Vehicle with any specific model year Comparison Vehicle.
    NHTSA further finds that G&K's petition fails to establish that the 
Subject Vehicles are capable of being readily altered to conform to all 
applicable FMVSS. As previously noted, the petition relies heavily on 
assertions that the as-built Subject Vehicles conform with many of the 
applicable FMVSS because they utilize the same components as the 
certified Comparison Vehicles. These assertions are not persuasive 
because many of the standards at issue are vehicle standards (as 
opposed to equipment standards). The considerable differences in size 
and configuration between the Subject and Configuration vehicles is 
contrary to any assumption that components or design features found on 
the smaller vehicle will deliver acceptable performance on a larger 
one. The fact that one vehicle includes some common components with a 
different, compliant vehicle does not necessarily support the 
conclusion that the first vehicle is also compliant. With a longer 
wheelbase, greater mass, and different suspension, the crash test and 
other dynamics of the Subject Vehicles will necessarily be different 
than those of the Comparison Vehicles. As the manufacturer observed, 
the different mass of the two vehicles ``translates to differences in 
crash tests, braking distance, and tire loads.'' The manufacturer also 
confirmed that ``there is no documentation existing within MB-AG to 
indicate that the [Subject Vehicles] were tested for conformance to the 
FMVSS.'' See Mercedes-Benz Pullman Response, Docket ID: NHTSA-2019-0117 
(available at www.regulations.gov).
    Based on the differences between the Subject Vehicles and the 
Comparison Vehicles, NHTSA takes issue with some of the factual 
assertions in G&K's petition. For example, G&K states that the Subject 
Vehicle ``comes equipped with a body/roof and support structure and 
components identical to those found in the [Comparison Vehicle] and 
therefore meets the requirements of FMVSS 216'' (Roof Crush 
Protection). Given the different dimensions (including length, wheel 
base, and roof height) of the two vehicles, the statement regarding 
identical body and roof components cannot be accurate. Likewise, given 
the difference in mass (1,700 pounds), there is no basis for assuming 
that that the heavier Subject Vehicle complies in the same manner as 
the lighter Comparison Vehicle.
    As noted above, G&K also fails to explain, with respect to the fuel 
system integrity requirements of FMVSS No. 301, how it could determine 
what components need to be replaced and whether those proposed 
components will ensure compliance with that standard. G&K also fails to 
acknowledge that the different configuration of the Subject Vehicles 
makes them subject to additional standards beyond those applicable to 
the Comparable Vehicles, including the FMVSS No. 118 requirements 
applicable to electronic partitions between the driver and passenger 
compartments.

V. NHTSA's Decision

    Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that the Subject Vehicles are 
substantially similar to the Comparison Vehicles, failed to demonstrate 
that its comparison involved vehicles of the same model year, and 
failed to demonstrate that the Subject Vehicles are capable of being 
readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS. In addition, based 
on available information, the Subject Vehicles do not meet the 
statutory requirements. The petition therefore is denied. Pursuant to 
49 CFR 593.7(e), NHTSA will not consider a new petition covering the 
models that are the subject of this decision until at least 3 months 
from the date of this notice of denial.

(Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(B), and (b)(1); 49 CFR 
593.7; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.)

Jeffrey Mark Giuseppe,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2021-05440 Filed 3-16-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P