Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., 14946-14948 [2022-05571]

Download as PDF 14946 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 51 / Wednesday, March 16, 2022 / Notices Hourly labor cost Preparation and Submittal of Petition for Exemption under § 543.6 .............................................................................. Preparation and Submittal of Petition for Exemption under § 543.7 .............................................................................. Estimated Annual Labor Cost for This Information Collection: .................................................................. Estimated Total Annual Burden Cost to Respondents: $0. NHTSA estimates that there will be no costs to respondents other than labor costs associated with burden hours. Public Comments Invited: You are asked to comment on any aspects of this information collection, including (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. (Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended; 49 CFR 1.49; and DOT Order 1351.29) Issued in Washington, DC. Raymond R. Posten, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 2022–05574 Filed 3–15–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 AGENCY: This document grants in full the Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.’s (Volkswagen) petition for exemption from the Federal Motor SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Mar 15, 2022 Jkt 256001 Average time per petition submittal (hours) Labor cost/petition Annual labor cost $49.73 226 $11,238.98 9 $101,151 49.73 20 994.60 3 2,984 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ $104,135 Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard (theft prevention standard) for its Audi e-tron GT vehicle line beginning in model year (MY) 2023. The petition is granted because the agency has determined that the antitheft device to be placed on the line as standard equipment is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard. Volkswagen also requested confidential treatment for specific information in its petition. Therefore, no confidential information provided for purposes of this notice has been disclosed. DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with the 2023 model year. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carlita Ballard, Office of International Policy, Fuel Economy, and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, West Building, W43–439, NRM–310, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Ballard’s phone number is (202) 366– 5222. Her fax number is (202) 493–2990. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under 49 U.S.C. chapter 331, the Secretary of Transportation (and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by delegation) is required to promulgate a theft prevention standard to provide for the identification of certain motor vehicles and their major replacement parts to impede motor vehicle theft. NHTSA promulgated regulations at 49 CFR part 541 (theft prevention standard) to require partsmarking for specified passenger motor vehicles and light trucks. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106, manufacturers that are subject to the parts-marking requirements may petition the Secretary of Transportation for an exemption for a line of passenger motor vehicles equipped with an antitheft device as standard equipment that the Secretary decides is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the partsmarking requirements. In accordance with this statute, NHTSA promulgated 49 CFR part 543, which establishes the process through which manufacturers PO 00000 Estimated No. of Petitions/ Year Frm 00127 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 may seek an exemption from the theft prevention standard. 49 CFR 543.5 provides general submission requirements for petitions and states that each manufacturer may petition NHTSA for an exemption of one vehicle line per model year. Among other requirements, manufacturers must identify whether the exemption is sought under § 543.6 or § 543.7. Under § 543.6, a manufacturer may request an exemption by providing specific information about the antitheft device, its capabilities, and the reasons the petitioner believes the device to be as effective at reducing and deterring theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements. Section 543.7 permits a manufacturer to request an exemption under a more streamlined process if the vehicle line is equipped with an antitheft device (an ‘‘immobilizer’’) as standard equipment that complies with one of the standards specified in that section.1 Section 543.8 establishes requirements for processing petitions for exemption from the theft prevention standard. As stated in § 543.8(a), NHTSA processes any complete exemption petition. If NHTSA receives an incomplete petition, NHTSA will notify the petitioner of the deficiencies. Once NHTSA receives a complete petition the agency will process it and, in accordance with § 543.8(b), will grant the petition if it determines that, based upon substantial evidence, the standard equipment antitheft device is likely to 1 49 CFR 543.7 specifies that the manufacturer must include a statement that their entire vehicle line is equipped with an immobilizer that meets one of the following standards: (1) The performance criteria (subsections 8 through 21) of C.R.C, c. 1038.114, Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention (in effect March 30, 2011), as excerpted in appendix A of [part 543]; (2) National Standard of Canada CAN/ULC–S338–98, Automobile Theft Deterrent Equipment and Systems: Electronic Immobilization (May 1998); (3) United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) Regulation No. 97 (ECE R97), Uniform Provisions Concerning Approval of Vehicle Alarm System (VAS) and Motor Vehicles with Regard to Their Alarm System (AS) in effect August 8, 2007; or (4) UN/ECE Regulation No. 116 (ECE R116), Uniform Technical Prescriptions Concerning the Protection of Motor Vehicles Against Unauthorized Use in effect on February 10, 2009. E:\FR\FM\16MRN1.SGM 16MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 51 / Wednesday, March 16, 2022 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of part 541. Section 543.8(c) requires NHTSA to issue its decision either to grant or to deny an exemption petition not later than 120 days after the date on which a complete petition is filed. If NHTSA does not make a decision within the 120-day period, the petition shall be deemed to be approved and the manufacturer shall be exempt from the standard for the line covered by the petition for the subsequent model year.2 Exemptions granted under part 543 apply only to the vehicle line or lines that are subject to the grant and that are equipped with the antitheft device on which the line’s exemption was based, and are effective for the model year beginning after the model year in which NHTSA issues the notice of exemption, unless the notice of exemption specifies a later year. Sections 543.8(f) and (g) apply to the manner in which NHTSA’s decisions on petitions are to be made known. Under § 543.8(f), if the petition is sought under § 543.6, NHTSA publishes a notice of its decision to grant or deny the exemption petition in the Federal Register and notifies the petitioner in writing. Under § 543.8(g), if the petition is sought under § 543.7, NHTSA notifies the petitioner in writing of the agency’s decision to grant or deny the exemption petition. This grant of petition for exemption considers Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.’s (Volkswagen) petition for its Audi e-tron GT vehicle line beginning in MY 2023. I. Specific Petition Content Requirements Under 49 CFR 543.6 Pursuant to 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention, Volkswagen petitioned for an exemption for its specified vehicle line from the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard, beginning in MY 2023. Volkswagen petitioned under 49 CFR 543.6, Petition: Specific content requirements, which, as described above, requires manufacturers to provide specific information about the antitheft device installed as standard equipment on all vehicles in the line for which an exemption is sought, the antitheft device’s capabilities, and the reasons the petitioner believes the device to be as effective at reducing and deterring theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements. More specifically, § 543.6(a)(1) requires petitions to include a statement 2 49 U.S.C. 33106(d). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Mar 15, 2022 Jkt 256001 that an antitheft device will be installed as standard equipment on all vehicles in the line for which the exemption is sought. Under § 543.6(a)(2), each petition must list each component in the antitheft system, and include a diagram showing the location of each of those components within the vehicle. As required by § 543.6(a)(3), each petition must include an explanation of the means and process by which the device is activated and functions, including any aspect of the device designed to: (1) Facilitate or encourage its activation by motorists; (2) attract attention to the efforts of an unauthorized person to enter or move a vehicle by means other than a key; (3) prevent defeating or circumventing the device by an unauthorized person attempting to enter a vehicle by means other than a key; (4) prevent the operation of a vehicle which an unauthorized person has entered using means other than a key; and (5) ensure the reliability and durability of the device.3 In addition to providing information about the antitheft device and its functionality, petitioners must also submit the reasons for their belief that the antitheft device will be effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft, including any theft data and other data that are available to the petitioner and form a basis for that belief,4 and the reasons for their belief that the agency should determine that the antitheft device is likely to be as effective as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of part 541 in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft. In support of this belief, the petitioners should include any statistical data that are available to the petitioner and form the basis for the petitioner’s belief that a line of passenger motor vehicles equipped with the antitheft device is likely to have a theft rate equal to or less than that of passenger motor vehicles of the same, or a similar, line which have parts-marked in compliance with part 541.5 The following sections describe Volkswagen’s petition information provided pursuant to 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention. To the extent that specific information in Volkswagen’s petition is subject to a properly filed confidentiality request, that information was not disclosed as part of this notice.6 3 49 CFR 543.6(a)(3). CFR 543.6(a)(4). 5 49 CFR 543.6(a)(5). 6 49 CFR 512.20(a). 4 49 PO 00000 Frm 00128 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 14947 II. Volkswagen’s Petition for Exemption In a petition dated November 29, 2021, Volkswagen requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard for its Audi e-tron GT vehicle line beginning with MY 2023. In its petition, Volkswagen provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft device for its Audi e-tron GT vehicle line. Volkswagen stated that its fifth generation transponder-based electronic engine immobilizer antitheft device will be installed as standard equipment on the entire MY 2023 Audi e-tron GT vehicle line, including any sport or special editions within the line. Key components of the antitheft device will include an adapted ignition key (IDtransmitter or ‘‘key fob’’), body computer 2 (BMC2) as the immobilizer’s primary control unit, park lock actuator as a secondary control unit and power control units one and two as secondary control units. Pursuant to § 543.6(a)(3), Volkswagen explained that its immobilizer device actively incorporates the power control unit into the evaluation and monitoring process. Volkswagen also stated that activation of its immobilizer device occurs automatically after the engine is switched off. Deactivation of the immobilizer device occurs when the ignition is turned on or the key fob is recognized by the immobilizer control unit. Specifically, when turning on the ignition on/off switch, the key transponder sends a fixed code to the immobilizer control unit. If this is identified as the correct code, a variable code is generated in the immobilizer control unit and sent to the transponder. Volkswagen stated that a secret arithmetic process is then started according to a set of specific equations and that a new variable code is generated every time the immobilizer goes through the secret computing process. The results of the computing process are evaluated in the control unit and if verified, the vehicle key is acknowledged as correct. The engine control unit then sends a variable code to the immobilizer control unit for mutual identification. If all the data matches, the vehicle can be started. As required in § 543.6(a)(3)(v), Volkswagen provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, Volkswagen stated that the antitheft device has been tested for compliance with its corporate requirements, including those for electrical and E:\FR\FM\16MRN1.SGM 16MRN1 14948 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 51 / Wednesday, March 16, 2022 / Notices electronic assemblies in motor vehicles related to performance requirements including electrical system temperature stability, mechanical integrity, electrical performance, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), environmental compatibility and service life. In accordance with 49 CFR 543.6(a)(5), Volkswagen provided data on the theft rate of similarly-sized vehicle lines that had been granted an exemption from the parts-marking requirement. Volkswagen also referenced the effectiveness of immobilizer devices installed on other vehicles for which NHTSA has granted exemptions. Specifically, Volkswagen referenced information from the Highway Loss Data Institute which showed that BMW vehicles experienced theft loss reductions resulting in a 73% decrease in relative claim frequency and a 78% lower average loss payment per claim for vehicles equipped with an immobilizer. Volkswagen also stated that the National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) theft data showed that there was a 70% reduction in theft experienced when comparing the MY 1987 Ford Mustang vehicle thefts (with immobilizers) to MY 1995 Ford Mustang vehicle thefts (without immobilizers). jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 III. Decision To Grant the Petition Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR 543.8(b), the agency grants a petition for exemption from the partsmarking requirements of part 541, either in whole or in part, if it determines that, based upon substantial evidence, the standard equipment antitheft device is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of part 541. The agency finds that Volkswagen has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the antitheft device for its vehicle line is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Mar 15, 2022 Jkt 256001 compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard. This conclusion is based on the information the Volkswagen provided about its antitheft device. NHTSA believes, based on the supporting evidence submitted by Volkswagen, that the antitheft device described for its vehicle line is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard. The agency concludes that Volkswagen’s antitheft device will provide the five types of performance features listed in § 543.6(a)(3): Promoting activation; attracting attention to the efforts of unauthorized persons to enter or operate a vehicle by means other than a key; preventing defeat or circumvention of the device by unauthorized persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by unauthorized entrants; and ensuring the reliability and durability of the device. The agency notes that 49 CFR part 541, Appendix A–1, identifies those lines that are exempted from the theft prevention standard for a given model year. 49 CFR 543.8(f) contains publication requirements incident to the disposition of all part 543 petitions. Advanced listing, including the release of future product nameplates, the beginning model year for which the petition is granted and a general description of the antitheft device is necessary in order to notify law enforcement agencies of new vehicle lines exempted from the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard. If Volkswagen decides not to use the exemption for its requested vehicle line, the manufacturer must formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must be fully marked as required by 49 CFR 541.5 and 541.6 PO 00000 Frm 00129 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts). NHTSA notes that if Volkswagen wishes in the future to modify the device on which this exemption is based, the company may have to submit a petition to modify the exemption. Section 543.8(d) states that a part 543 exemption applies only to vehicles that belong to a line exempted under this part and equipped with the antitheft device on which the line’s exemption is based. Further, § 543.10(c)(2) provides for the submission of petitions ‘‘to modify an exemption to permit the use of an antitheft device similar to but differing from the one specified in the exemption.’’ The agency wishes to minimize the administrative burden that § 543.10(c)(2) could place on exempted vehicle manufacturers and itself. The agency did not intend in drafting part 543 to require the submission of a modification petition for every change to the components or design of an antitheft device. The significance of many such changes could be de minimis. Therefore, NHTSA suggests that if Volkswagen contemplates making any changes, the effects of which might be characterized as de minimis, it should consult the agency before preparing and submitting a petition to modify. For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full Volkswagen’s petition for exemption for the Audi etron GT vehicle line from the partsmarking requirements of 49 CFR part 541, beginning with its MY 2023 vehicles. Issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8. Raymond R. Posten, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 2022–05571 Filed 3–15–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P E:\FR\FM\16MRN1.SGM 16MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 51 (Wednesday, March 16, 2022)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14946-14948]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-05571]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard; Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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SUMMARY: This document grants in full the Volkswagen Group of America, 
Inc.'s (Volkswagen) petition for exemption from the Federal Motor 
Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard (theft prevention standard) for its 
Audi e-tron GT vehicle line beginning in model year (MY) 2023. The 
petition is granted because the agency has determined that the 
antitheft device to be placed on the line as standard equipment is 
likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft 
as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the theft 
prevention standard. Volkswagen also requested confidential treatment 
for specific information in its petition. Therefore, no confidential 
information provided for purposes of this notice has been disclosed.

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the 2023 model year.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carlita Ballard, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy, and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, West 
Building, W43-439, NRM-310, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 
20590. Ms. Ballard's phone number is (202) 366-5222. Her fax number is 
(202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under 49 U.S.C. chapter 331, the Secretary 
of Transportation (and the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) by delegation) is required to promulgate a theft 
prevention standard to provide for the identification of certain motor 
vehicles and their major replacement parts to impede motor vehicle 
theft. NHTSA promulgated regulations at 49 CFR part 541 (theft 
prevention standard) to require parts-marking for specified passenger 
motor vehicles and light trucks. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106, 
manufacturers that are subject to the parts-marking requirements may 
petition the Secretary of Transportation for an exemption for a line of 
passenger motor vehicles equipped with an antitheft device as standard 
equipment that the Secretary decides is likely to be as effective in 
reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the 
parts-marking requirements. In accordance with this statute, NHTSA 
promulgated 49 CFR part 543, which establishes the process through 
which manufacturers may seek an exemption from the theft prevention 
standard.
    49 CFR 543.5 provides general submission requirements for petitions 
and states that each manufacturer may petition NHTSA for an exemption 
of one vehicle line per model year. Among other requirements, 
manufacturers must identify whether the exemption is sought under Sec.  
543.6 or Sec.  543.7. Under Sec.  543.6, a manufacturer may request an 
exemption by providing specific information about the antitheft device, 
its capabilities, and the reasons the petitioner believes the device to 
be as effective at reducing and deterring theft as compliance with the 
parts-marking requirements. Section 543.7 permits a manufacturer to 
request an exemption under a more streamlined process if the vehicle 
line is equipped with an antitheft device (an ``immobilizer'') as 
standard equipment that complies with one of the standards specified in 
that section.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 49 CFR 543.7 specifies that the manufacturer must include a 
statement that their entire vehicle line is equipped with an 
immobilizer that meets one of the following standards: (1) The 
performance criteria (subsections 8 through 21) of C.R.C, c. 
1038.114, Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention (in effect March 
30, 2011), as excerpted in appendix A of [part 543]; (2) National 
Standard of Canada CAN/ULC-S338-98, Automobile Theft Deterrent 
Equipment and Systems: Electronic Immobilization (May 1998); (3) 
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) Regulation 
No. 97 (ECE R97), Uniform Provisions Concerning Approval of Vehicle 
Alarm System (VAS) and Motor Vehicles with Regard to Their Alarm 
System (AS) in effect August 8, 2007; or (4) UN/ECE Regulation No. 
116 (ECE R116), Uniform Technical Prescriptions Concerning the 
Protection of Motor Vehicles Against Unauthorized Use in effect on 
February 10, 2009.
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    Section 543.8 establishes requirements for processing petitions for 
exemption from the theft prevention standard. As stated in Sec.  
543.8(a), NHTSA processes any complete exemption petition. If NHTSA 
receives an incomplete petition, NHTSA will notify the petitioner of 
the deficiencies. Once NHTSA receives a complete petition the agency 
will process it and, in accordance with Sec.  543.8(b), will grant the 
petition if it determines that, based upon substantial evidence, the 
standard equipment antitheft device is likely to

[[Page 14947]]

be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as 
compliance with the parts-marking requirements of part 541.
    Section 543.8(c) requires NHTSA to issue its decision either to 
grant or to deny an exemption petition not later than 120 days after 
the date on which a complete petition is filed. If NHTSA does not make 
a decision within the 120-day period, the petition shall be deemed to 
be approved and the manufacturer shall be exempt from the standard for 
the line covered by the petition for the subsequent model year.\2\ 
Exemptions granted under part 543 apply only to the vehicle line or 
lines that are subject to the grant and that are equipped with the 
antitheft device on which the line's exemption was based, and are 
effective for the model year beginning after the model year in which 
NHTSA issues the notice of exemption, unless the notice of exemption 
specifies a later year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ 49 U.S.C. 33106(d).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sections 543.8(f) and (g) apply to the manner in which NHTSA's 
decisions on petitions are to be made known. Under Sec.  543.8(f), if 
the petition is sought under Sec.  543.6, NHTSA publishes a notice of 
its decision to grant or deny the exemption petition in the Federal 
Register and notifies the petitioner in writing. Under Sec.  543.8(g), 
if the petition is sought under Sec.  543.7, NHTSA notifies the 
petitioner in writing of the agency's decision to grant or deny the 
exemption petition.
    This grant of petition for exemption considers Volkswagen Group of 
America, Inc.'s (Volkswagen) petition for its Audi e-tron GT vehicle 
line beginning in MY 2023.

I. Specific Petition Content Requirements Under 49 CFR 543.6

    Pursuant to 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft 
Prevention, Volkswagen petitioned for an exemption for its specified 
vehicle line from the parts-marking requirements of the theft 
prevention standard, beginning in MY 2023. Volkswagen petitioned under 
49 CFR 543.6, Petition: Specific content requirements, which, as 
described above, requires manufacturers to provide specific information 
about the antitheft device installed as standard equipment on all 
vehicles in the line for which an exemption is sought, the antitheft 
device's capabilities, and the reasons the petitioner believes the 
device to be as effective at reducing and deterring theft as compliance 
with the parts-marking requirements.
    More specifically, Sec.  543.6(a)(1) requires petitions to include 
a statement that an antitheft device will be installed as standard 
equipment on all vehicles in the line for which the exemption is 
sought. Under Sec.  543.6(a)(2), each petition must list each component 
in the antitheft system, and include a diagram showing the location of 
each of those components within the vehicle. As required by Sec.  
543.6(a)(3), each petition must include an explanation of the means and 
process by which the device is activated and functions, including any 
aspect of the device designed to: (1) Facilitate or encourage its 
activation by motorists; (2) attract attention to the efforts of an 
unauthorized person to enter or move a vehicle by means other than a 
key; (3) prevent defeating or circumventing the device by an 
unauthorized person attempting to enter a vehicle by means other than a 
key; (4) prevent the operation of a vehicle which an unauthorized 
person has entered using means other than a key; and (5) ensure the 
reliability and durability of the device.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ 49 CFR 543.6(a)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to providing information about the antitheft device and 
its functionality, petitioners must also submit the reasons for their 
belief that the antitheft device will be effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft, including any theft data and other data 
that are available to the petitioner and form a basis for that 
belief,\4\ and the reasons for their belief that the agency should 
determine that the antitheft device is likely to be as effective as 
compliance with the parts-marking requirements of part 541 in reducing 
and deterring motor vehicle theft. In support of this belief, the 
petitioners should include any statistical data that are available to 
the petitioner and form the basis for the petitioner's belief that a 
line of passenger motor vehicles equipped with the antitheft device is 
likely to have a theft rate equal to or less than that of passenger 
motor vehicles of the same, or a similar, line which have parts-marked 
in compliance with part 541.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ 49 CFR 543.6(a)(4).
    \5\ 49 CFR 543.6(a)(5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The following sections describe Volkswagen's petition information 
provided pursuant to 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft 
Prevention. To the extent that specific information in Volkswagen's 
petition is subject to a properly filed confidentiality request, that 
information was not disclosed as part of this notice.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ 49 CFR 512.20(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Volkswagen's Petition for Exemption

    In a petition dated November 29, 2021, Volkswagen requested an 
exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention 
standard for its Audi e-tron GT vehicle line beginning with MY 2023.
    In its petition, Volkswagen provided a detailed description and 
diagram of the identity, design, and location of the components of the 
antitheft device for its Audi e-tron GT vehicle line. Volkswagen stated 
that its fifth generation transponder-based electronic engine 
immobilizer antitheft device will be installed as standard equipment on 
the entire MY 2023 Audi e-tron GT vehicle line, including any sport or 
special editions within the line. Key components of the antitheft 
device will include an adapted ignition key (ID-transmitter or ``key 
fob''), body computer 2 (BMC2) as the immobilizer's primary control 
unit, park lock actuator as a secondary control unit and power control 
units one and two as secondary control units.
    Pursuant to Sec.  543.6(a)(3), Volkswagen explained that its 
immobilizer device actively incorporates the power control unit into 
the evaluation and monitoring process. Volkswagen also stated that 
activation of its immobilizer device occurs automatically after the 
engine is switched off. Deactivation of the immobilizer device occurs 
when the ignition is turned on or the key fob is recognized by the 
immobilizer control unit. Specifically, when turning on the ignition 
on/off switch, the key transponder sends a fixed code to the 
immobilizer control unit. If this is identified as the correct code, a 
variable code is generated in the immobilizer control unit and sent to 
the transponder. Volkswagen stated that a secret arithmetic process is 
then started according to a set of specific equations and that a new 
variable code is generated every time the immobilizer goes through the 
secret computing process. The results of the computing process are 
evaluated in the control unit and if verified, the vehicle key is 
acknowledged as correct. The engine control unit then sends a variable 
code to the immobilizer control unit for mutual identification. If all 
the data matches, the vehicle can be started.
    As required in Sec.  543.6(a)(3)(v), Volkswagen provided 
information on the reliability and durability of its proposed device. 
To ensure reliability and durability of the device, Volkswagen stated 
that the antitheft device has been tested for compliance with its 
corporate requirements, including those for electrical and

[[Page 14948]]

electronic assemblies in motor vehicles related to performance 
requirements including electrical system temperature stability, 
mechanical integrity, electrical performance, electromagnetic 
compatibility (EMC), environmental compatibility and service life.
    In accordance with 49 CFR 543.6(a)(5), Volkswagen provided data on 
the theft rate of similarly-sized vehicle lines that had been granted 
an exemption from the parts-marking requirement. Volkswagen also 
referenced the effectiveness of immobilizer devices installed on other 
vehicles for which NHTSA has granted exemptions. Specifically, 
Volkswagen referenced information from the Highway Loss Data Institute 
which showed that BMW vehicles experienced theft loss reductions 
resulting in a 73% decrease in relative claim frequency and a 78% lower 
average loss payment per claim for vehicles equipped with an 
immobilizer. Volkswagen also stated that the National Crime Information 
Center's (NCIC) theft data showed that there was a 70% reduction in 
theft experienced when comparing the MY 1987 Ford Mustang vehicle 
thefts (with immobilizers) to MY 1995 Ford Mustang vehicle thefts 
(without immobilizers).

III. Decision To Grant the Petition

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR 543.8(b), the agency grants 
a petition for exemption from the parts-marking requirements of part 
541, either in whole or in part, if it determines that, based upon 
substantial evidence, the standard equipment antitheft device is likely 
to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as 
compliance with the parts-marking requirements of part 541. The agency 
finds that Volkswagen has provided adequate reasons for its belief that 
the antitheft device for its vehicle line is likely to be as effective 
in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the 
parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard. This 
conclusion is based on the information the Volkswagen provided about 
its antitheft device. NHTSA believes, based on the supporting evidence 
submitted by Volkswagen, that the antitheft device described for its 
vehicle line is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring 
motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements 
of the theft prevention standard.
    The agency concludes that Volkswagen's antitheft device will 
provide the five types of performance features listed in Sec.  
543.6(a)(3): Promoting activation; attracting attention to the efforts 
of unauthorized persons to enter or operate a vehicle by means other 
than a key; preventing defeat or circumvention of the device by 
unauthorized persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by 
unauthorized entrants; and ensuring the reliability and durability of 
the device.
    The agency notes that 49 CFR part 541, Appendix A-1, identifies 
those lines that are exempted from the theft prevention standard for a 
given model year. 49 CFR 543.8(f) contains publication requirements 
incident to the disposition of all part 543 petitions. Advanced 
listing, including the release of future product nameplates, the 
beginning model year for which the petition is granted and a general 
description of the antitheft device is necessary in order to notify law 
enforcement agencies of new vehicle lines exempted from the parts-
marking requirements of the theft prevention standard.
    If Volkswagen decides not to use the exemption for its requested 
vehicle line, the manufacturer must formally notify the agency. If such 
a decision is made, the line must be fully marked as required by 49 CFR 
541.5 and 541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement 
parts).
    NHTSA notes that if Volkswagen wishes in the future to modify the 
device on which this exemption is based, the company may have to submit 
a petition to modify the exemption. Section 543.8(d) states that a part 
543 exemption applies only to vehicles that belong to a line exempted 
under this part and equipped with the antitheft device on which the 
line's exemption is based. Further, Sec.  543.10(c)(2) provides for the 
submission of petitions ``to modify an exemption to permit the use of 
an antitheft device similar to but differing from the one specified in 
the exemption.''
    The agency wishes to minimize the administrative burden that Sec.  
543.10(c)(2) could place on exempted vehicle manufacturers and itself. 
The agency did not intend in drafting part 543 to require the 
submission of a modification petition for every change to the 
components or design of an antitheft device. The significance of many 
such changes could be de minimis. Therefore, NHTSA suggests that if 
Volkswagen contemplates making any changes, the effects of which might 
be characterized as de minimis, it should consult the agency before 
preparing and submitting a petition to modify.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full 
Volkswagen's petition for exemption for the Audi e-tron GT vehicle line 
from the parts-marking requirements of 49 CFR part 541, beginning with 
its MY 2023 vehicles.
    Issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.

Raymond R. Posten,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2022-05571 Filed 3-15-22; 8:45 am]
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