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Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; BMW of North America, LLC

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  BMW

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; BMW of North America, LLC

Mary L. Versailles
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 29, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 168 (Wednesday, August 29, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52393-52395]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21266]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard; BMW of North America, LLC

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 BMW of North America, LLC 
(BMW) petition for exemption of the Carline 4 vehicle line in 
accordance with 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from the Theft Prevention 
Standard. This 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 (49 CFR part 541). BMW requested confidential 
treatment for specific information in its petition that the agency will 
address by separate letter.

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the 2014 model year (MY).

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated June 4, 2012, BMW 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541) for the Carline 4 vehicle line 
beginning with MY 2014. The petition requested exemption from parts-
marking pursuant to 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard, based on the installation of an antitheft device 
as standard equipment for an entire vehicle line.
    Under Sec.  543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant an 
exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, BMW 
provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, 
and location of the components of the antitheft device for its Carline 
4 vehicle line. BMW stated that all Carline 4 vehicles will be equipped 
with a passive antitheft device as standard equipment beginning with MY 
2014.

[[Page 52394]]

The immobilizer device is automatically activated when the engine is 
shut off and the vehicle key is removed from the ignition lock 
cylinder. Key features of the antitheft device will include a key with 
a transponder, loop antenna (coil), engine control unit (DME/DDE) with 
encoded start release input, an electronically-coded vehicle 
immobilizer/car access system (EWS/CAS) control unit and a passive 
immobilizer. BMW's submission is considered a complete petition as 
required by 49 CFR 543.7, in that it meets the general requirements 
contained in Sec.  543.5 and the specific content requirements of Sec.  
543.6.
    BMW stated that the EWS immobilizer device prevents the vehicle 
from being driven away under its own engine power. Its transponder 
contains a chip which is integrated in the key, powered by a battery 
and consists of a transmitter/receiver which communicates with the EWS 
control unit. The EWS control unit provides the interface to the loop 
antenna (coil), engine control unit and starter. The ignition and fuel 
supply are only released when a correct coded release signal has been 
sent by the EWS control unit to allow the vehicle to start. When the 
EWS control unit has sent a correct release signal, and after the 
initial starting value, the release signal becomes a rolling, ever-
changing, random code that is stored in the DME/DDE and EWS (CAS 
control modules). The DME/DDE must identify the release signal and only 
then will the ignition signal and fuel supply be released. Deactivation 
of the device cannot be carried out with the mechanical key, but must 
occur electronically. The vehicle is also equipped with a central-
locking system that can be operated to lock and unlock all doors or to 
unlock only the driver's door, preventing forced entry into the vehicle 
through the passenger doors. The vehicle can be further secured by 
locking the doors and hood using either the key lock cylinder on the 
driver's door or the remote frequency remote control. BMW stated that 
the frequency for the remote control constantly changes to prevent an 
unauthorized person from opening the vehicle by intercepting the 
signals of its remote control. BMW also stated that the proposed 
antitheft device does not provide any visible or audible indication of 
unauthorized entry.
    BMW compared the effectiveness of its antitheft device with devices 
which NHTSA has previously determined to be as effective in reducing 
and deterring motor vehicle theft as would compliance with the parts-
marking requirements of Part 541. The antitheft device that BMW intends 
to install on its Carline 4 vehicle line for MY 2014 is the same device 
that BMW has installed on its X1, X3 and X5 vehicle lines, as well as 
its Carline 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, Z4, and MINI vehicle lines. BMW asserts that 
theft data have indicated a decline in theft rates for vehicle lines 
that have been equipped with antitheft devices similar to that which it 
proposes to install on the Carline 4 vehicle line. Specifically, BMW 
stated that for MY/CY 2009, the agency's data show that theft rates for 
its lines are: 0.3926 (1-series), 0.5216 (3-series), 0.4098 (5-series), 
1.6529 (6-series), 0.6617 (7-series), 0.3671 (X3), 0.2750 (Z4/M)), and 
0.1155 (MINI Cooper). Using an average of 3 MYs data (2007-2009), theft 
rates for those lines are: 0.2383, 0.7029, 0.7988, 2.3463, 2.0683, 
0.5146, 0.5309 and 0.2386 respectively.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, BMW 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its device. 
To ensure reliability and durability of the device, BMW conducted tests 
based on its own specified standards and believes that the device is 
reliable and durable since the device complied with its specified 
requirements for each test. BMW provided a detailed list of the tests 
conducted in its June 2012 request for exemption from the parts-marking 
requirements. Further assuring the reliability and durability of the 
Carline 4 antitheft device, BMW notes that the mechanical keys for the 
Carline 4 are unique. A special key blank, a special key cutting 
machine and the vehicle's unique code are needed to duplicate a key. 
BMW stated that new keys will only be issued to authorized persons.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by BMW, the agency 
believes that the antitheft device for the BMW Carline 4 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 (49 CFR Part 541). The agency concludes that the 
device will provide four of the five types of performance listed in 
Sec.  543.6(a)(3): Promoting activation; 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.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR 543.7(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 
supporting 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 BMW has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Carline 4 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 
(49 CFR Part 541). This conclusion is based on the information BMW 
provided about its device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full BMW's 
petition for exemption for the MY 2014 Carline 4 vehicle line from the 
parts-marking requirements of 49 CFR Part 541. 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 MY. 49 CFR Part 543.7(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 BMW decides not to use the exemption for this line, it must 
formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must 
be fully marked as required by 49 CFR Parts 541.5 and 541.6 (marking of 
major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if BMW 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. Part 543.7(d) states that a Part 543 
exemption applies only to vehicles that belong to a line exempted under 
this part and equipped with the anti-theft device on which the line's 
exemption is based. Further, Sec.  543.9(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 
that exemption.''
    The agency wishes to minimize the administrative burden that Part 
543.9(c)(2) could place on exempted vehicle manufacturers and itself. 
The agency did not intend 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 the manufacturer 
contemplates making any changes the effects of which might be

[[Page 52395]]

characterized as de minimis, it should consult the agency before 
preparing and submitting a petition to modify.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 33106; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50.

    Issued on: August 21, 2012.
Mary L. Versailles,
Senior Policy Advisor for International Policy, Fuel Economy and 
Consumer Programs.
[FR Doc. 2012-21266 Filed 8-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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