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BMW of North America, LLC, a Subsidiary of BMW AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mini Countryman

BMW of North America, LLC, a Subsidiary of BMW AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
September 13, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 178 (Thursday, September 13, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56700-56701]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-22569]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0116; Notice 1]


BMW of North America, LLC, a Subsidiary of BMW AG, Receipt of 
Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: BMW of North America, LLC (BMW),\1\ a subsidiary of BMW AG,\2\ 
Munich, Germany, has determined that certain model year 2012 MINI 
Cooper Countryman passenger cars with optional three passenger rear 
seating manufactured between August 1, 2011 and May 23, 2012, do not 
fully comply with paragraph S4.3(b) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 110, Tire selection and rims and motor home/
recreation vehicle trailer load carrying capacity information for motor 
vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less. BMW 
has filed an appropriate report dated June 1, 2012, pursuant to 49 CFR 
part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ BMW of North America, LLC, is a U.S. company that 
manufacturers and imports motor vehicles.
    \2\ BMW AG, is a German company that manufacturers motor 
vehicles.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), BMW submitted a petition for an exemption from the 
notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the 
basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety.
    This notice of receipt of BMW's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 5,700 model year 2012 
MINI Cooper Countryman passenger vehicles with optional three passenger 
rear seating manufactured between August 1, 2011 and May 23, 2012.
    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, these provisions 
only apply to the subject 5,700 \3\ vehicles that BMW no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed.
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    \3\ BMW's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt BMW as a vehicle manufacturer 
from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 CFR part 573 
for the 5,700 affected vehicles. However, a decision on this 
petition will not relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the 
prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, introduction or delivery 
for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant 
vehicles under their control after BMW notified them that the 
subject noncompliance existed.
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    Noncompliance: BMW explains that the noncompliance is that the 
vehicle placard on the affected vehicles incorrectly identifies the 
rear designated seating capacity as ``2'' when in fact it should be 
``3,'' and the total designated seating capacity as ``4'' when in fact 
it should be ``5.''
    Rule Text: Paragraph S4.3(b) of FMVSS No. 110 requires in pertinent 
part:

    S4.3 Placard. Each vehicle, except for a trailer or incomplete 
vehicle, shall show the information specified in S4.3(a) through 
(g), * * *, on a placard permanently affixed to the driver's side B-
pillar. * * *
    (b)Designated seated capacity (expressed in terms of total 
number of occupants and number of occupants for each front and rear 
seat location);* * *

Summary of BMW'S Analysis and Arguments

    BMW states that while the vehicle placard incorrectly identifies 
the vehicle seating capacity, this noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    1. It would become clear to a vehicle owner that the rear seat of 
the affected vehicles contains three sets of seat belts, and provides 
adequate space for three people to occupy the rear seat and that the 
vehicle in fact does accommodate five passengers not four as labeled.
    2. The tire pressure value on the vehicle placard is correct. In 
fact, the recommended tire inflation pressure for both the five 
passenger and the four passenger vehicles is the same. Therefore, there 
is no risk of under-inflation.
    3. The vehicle capacity weight listed on the vehicle placard is 
correct, and is the same for Countryman model vehicles built for four 
or five occupants. Therefore, there is no risk of overloading.
    4. The vehicle's Monroney label \4\ contains a listing of all 
options that have been equipped on the affected vehicles. The option 
regarding the rear seat for three occupants is noted on the Monroney 
label; therefore, an owner would have been notified at time of purchase 
of the vehicle that the rear seat is equipped to accommodate three 
occupants.
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    \4\ Automobile Information Disclosure Act (AIDA), 15 U.S.C. 
1231-1233
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    5. The vehicle Owner's Manual contains information pertaining to 
the vehicle's tires, tire pressure, and the vehicle capacity weight. 
Therefore, if owners check the Owner's Manual, correct information is 
available for their use.
    6. BMW also provides vehicle drivers with help determining the 
correct tire, tire pressure and loading information by way of toll-free 
telephone numbers for MINI Roadside AssistanceTM (available 
24 hours/day)and MINI Customer Relations.
    7. BMW has received no customer complaints and are unaware of any 
accidents or injuries regarding this noncompliance of the affected 
vehicles.
    BMW has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected future 
production and that all other required markings are present and 
correct.
    BMW also expressed its belief that NHTSA has previously granted 
similar petitions.
    In summation, BMW believes that the described noncompliance of its 
vehicle placards regarding seating capacity is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt from providing recall 
notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 
remedying the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 
should be granted.
    Comments: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be 
submitted by any of the following methods:
    a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

[[Page 56701]]

    b. By hand delivery to: 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 Federal Holidays.
    c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management 
System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed 
to 1-202-493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment Closing Date: October 15, 2012.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 
CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: September 6, 2012.
Claude H. Harris, Director,
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2012-22569 Filed 9-12-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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