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Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America, Inc.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mitsubishi

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America, Inc.

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 24, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 165 (Friday, August 24, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 51612-51614]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20837]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard; Mitsubishi Motors R&D 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 Mitsubishi Motors R&D of 
America, Inc.'s (Mitsubishi) petition for exemption of the Mitsubishi 
[confidential] 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, Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard. Mitsubishi 
requested [confidential] treatment for specific information in its 
petition. The agency will address Mitsubishi's request for 
[confidential] treatment by separate letter.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Deborah Mazyck, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, West 
Building, W43-443, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. 
Ms. Mazyck's phone number is (202) 366-0846. Her fax number is (202) 
493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated June 29, 2012, 
Mitsubishi requested exemption from the parts-marking requirements of 
the Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR part 541) for the Mitsubishi 
[confidential] vehicle line, beginning with MY 2014. The petition 
requested an 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 the 
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, 
Mitsubishi provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, 
design, and location of the components of the antitheft device for

[[Page 51613]]

the [confidential] vehicle line. Mitsubishi will install a passive, 
transponder-based, electronic engine immobilizer device as standard 
equipment on its [confidential] vehicle line beginning with MY 2014. 
Mitsubishi stated that its entry models will be equipped with a 
Wireless Control Module (WCM) immobilizer. Components of the WCM will 
include a transponder key, key ring antenna and an electronic time and 
alarm control system (ETACS). All other models will be equipped with a 
One-touch Starting System (OSS) immobilizer. Components of the OSS 
include the engine switch, keyless operation electronic control unit 
(KOS ECU), OSS ECU and KOS key. Mitsubishi will not incorporate an 
audible and visual alarm system on its vehicles. Mitsubishi's 
submission is considered a complete petition as required by 49 CFR 
543.7, in that it meets the general requirements contained in 543.5 and 
the specific content requirements of 543.6.
    Mitsubishi stated that the WCM is a keyless entry system in which 
the transponder is embedded in a traditional key and inserted into the 
key cylinder to activate the ignition and start the engine. All other 
models of the [confidential] vehicle line are equipped with a OSS 
system, which utilizes a keyless system that allows the driver to press 
a button on the instrument panel to activate and deactivate the 
ignition as long as the transponder is located in close proximity to 
the driver. Mitsubishi also stated that the performance of the 
immobilizer will be the same in all models whether the vehicle has a 
WCM or OSS entry system. Mitsubishi further stated that the only 
difference between the two devices will be the ``key'' (i.e., 
transponder key or keyless operation key) and the method used to 
transmit the information to the immobilizer.
    Mitsubishi stated that once the ignition switch is turned or pushed 
to the ``ignition-on'' position, the transceiver module reads the 
specific ignition key code for the vehicle and transmits an encrypted 
message containing the key code to the electronic control unit (ECU). 
The immobilizer receives the key code signal transmitted from either 
type of key (WCM or OSS) and verifies that the key code signal is 
correct. The immobilizer then sends a separate encrypted start-code 
signal to the engine ECU to allow the driver to start the vehicle. The 
engine only will function if the key code matches the unique 
identification key code previously programmed into the ECU. If the 
codes do not match, the engine and fuel systems will be disabled.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, 
Mitsubishi provided information on the reliability and durability of 
its proposed device. To ensure reliability and durability of the 
device, Mitsubishi conducted tests based on its own specified 
standards. Mitsubishi provided a detailed list of the tests conducted 
and believes that the device is reliable and durable since the device 
complied with its specific requirements for each test. Mitsubishi 
additionally stated that its immobilizer device is further enhanced by 
several factors making it very difficult to defeat. Specifically, 
Mitsubishi stated that communication between the transponder and the 
ECU are encrypted. The WCM has over 4.3 billion and the OSS has over 
250 million different possible key codes that make successful key code 
duplication virtually impossible. Mitsubishi also stated that its 
immobilizer system and the ECU share security data during vehicle 
assembly that make them a matched set. These matched modules will not 
function if taken out and reinstalled separately on other vehicles. 
Mitsubishi also stated that it is impossible to mechanically override 
the system and start the vehicle because the vehicle will not be able 
to start without the transmission of the specific code to the 
electronic control module. Lastly, Mitsubishi stated that the antitheft 
device is extremely reliable and durable because there are no moving 
parts, nor does the key require a separate battery.
    Mitsubishi informed the agency that its Eclipse vehicle line has 
been equipped with the device since introduction of its MY 2000 
vehicles. Mitsubishi stated that the theft rate for the MY 2000 Eclipse 
decreased by almost 42% when compared with that of its MY 1999 
Mitsubishi Eclipse (unequipped with an immobilizer device). Mitsubishi 
also revealed that the Eclipse, Galant, Endeavor, Outlander, Lancer, 
Outlander Sport and i-MiEV vehicle lines have been equipped with a 
similar type of immobilizer device since January 2000, January 2004, 
April 2004, September 2006, March 2007, September 2010 and October 2011 
respectively. The Mitsubishi Eclipse, Galant, Endeavor, Outlander and 
Lancer vehicle lines have all been granted parts-marking exemptions by 
the agency and the average theft rates using 3 MY's data are 1.7356, 
4.8973, 1.1619, 0.3341 and 1.0871 respectively. Theft rate data for the 
Outlander Sport and i-MiEV are not available. Therefore, Mitsubishi has 
concluded that the antitheft device proposed for its vehicle line is no 
less effective than those devices in the lines for which NHTSA has 
already granted full exemption from the parts-marking requirements.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by Mitsubishi on the 
device, the agency believes that the antitheft device for the 
[confidential] 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 an 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 Mitsubishi has provided adequate reasons for its belief that 
the antitheft device for the Mitsubishi [confidential] 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 Mitsubishi provided about its device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full 
Mitsubishi's petition for exemption for the [confidential] vehicle line 
from the parts-marking requirements of 49 CFR part 541, beginning with 
the 2014 model year vehicles. 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 543.7(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. 
Mitsubishi will provide the agency with notification of the nameplate 
and model year of the vehicle

[[Page 51614]]

line for which [confidential] treatment has been requested prior to 
introduction of the vehicle line.
    If Mitsubishi 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 541.5 and 541.6 (marking of 
major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if Mitsubishi 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 antitheft 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 
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 20, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-20837 Filed 8-23-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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