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Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Motor Theft Prevention Standard; General Motors Corporation

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Cadillac ATS

Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Motor Theft Prevention Standard; General Motors Corporation

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
October 30, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 210 (Tuesday, October 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65765-65767]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26628]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Motor Theft 
Prevention Standard; General Motors Corporation

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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SUMMARY: This document grants in full General Motors Corporation's (GM) 
petition for an exemption of the Cadillac ATS 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).

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 Standards, NHTSA, W43-
439, 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: In a petition dated July 31, 2012, GM 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541) for the Cadillac ATS vehicle line 
beginning with MY 2014. The petition requested an exemption from parts-

[[Page 65766]]

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, GM 
provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, 
and location of the components of the antitheft device for the Cadillac 
ATS vehicle line. GM will install a passive, transponder-based, 
electronic immobilizer device (PASS-Key III+) as standard equipment on 
its Cadillac ATS vehicle line beginning with MY 2014. GM stated that 
the device will provide protection against unauthorized use (i.e., 
starting and engine fueling), but will not provide any visible or 
audible indication of unauthorized vehicle entry (i.e., flashing lights 
or horn alarm).
    The PASS-Key III+ device is designed to be active at all times 
without direct intervention by the vehicle operator. The device is 
fully armed immediately after the ignition has been turned off and the 
key removed. Components of the antitheft device include an 
electronically-coded ignition key, an antenna module, a controller 
module and an engine control module. The ignition key contains 
electronics molded into the key head, providing billions of possible 
electronic combinations. The electronics receive energy and data from 
the antenna module. Upon receipt of the data, the key will calculate a 
response using an internal encryption algorithm and transmit the 
response back to the vehicle. The antenna module translates the radio 
frequency signal received from the key into a digital signal and 
compares the received response to an internally calculated value. If 
the values match, the key is recognized as valid, and a password is 
then transmitted through a serial data link to the engine control 
module to enable fueling and vehicle starting. If an invalid key code 
is received, the PASS-Key III+ controller module will send a ``Disable 
Password'' to the engine control module and starting, ignition, and 
fuel will be inhibited.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, GM 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed 
device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, GM 
conducted tests based on its own specified standards. GM provided 
information on the specific tests it uses to validate the integrity, 
durability and reliability of the PASS-Key III+ device and believes 
that the device is reliable and durable since the components must 
operate as designed after each test. GM also stated that the design and 
assembly processes of the PASS-Key III+ subsystem and components are 
validated for 10 years of vehicle life and 150,000 miles of 
performance.
    GM stated that the PASS-Key III+ device has been designed to 
enhance the functionality and theft protection provided by its first, 
second and third generation PASS-Key, PASS-Key II, and PASS-Key III 
devices. GM also referenced data provided by the American Automobile 
Manufacturers Association (AAMA) in support of the effectiveness of 
GM's PASS-Key devices in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft. 
The AAMA's comments to the agency's Preliminary Report on ``Auto Theft 
and Recovery Effects of the Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992 and the Motor 
Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984'', (Docket 97-042; Notice 1), 
showed that between MYs 1987 and 1993, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac 
Firebird vehicle lines experienced a significant theft rate reduction 
after installation of a Pass-Key like antitheft device as standard 
equipment on the vehicle lines.
    GM also stated that the theft data, as provided by the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and 
compiled by the agency, show that theft rates are lower for exempted GM 
models equipped with the PASS-Key like systems than the theft rates for 
earlier models with similar appearance and construction that were 
parts-marked. Based on the performance of the PASS-Key, PASS-Key II, 
and PASS-Key III devices on other GM models, and the advanced 
technology utilized in PASS-Key III+, GM believes that the PASS-Key 
III+ device will be more effective in deterring theft than the parts-
marking requirements of CFR Part 541.
    Additionally, GM stated that the PASS-Key III+ is installed as 
standard equipment on the Cadillac CTS vehicle line. GM was granted an 
exemption from the parts-marking requirements by the agency for the 
Cadillac CTS vehicle line beginning with the 2011 MY (See 74 FR 62385, 
November 27, 2009). The average theft rate using 3 MYs theft data (MYs 
2008-2010) provided by the agency for the Cadillac CTS vehicle line is 
1.49.
    GM believes that PASS-Key III+ devices will be more effective in 
deterring theft than the parts-marking requirements and that the agency 
should find that inclusion of the PASS-Key III+ device on the Cadillac 
ATS vehicle line is sufficient to qualify it for full exemption from 
the parts-marking requirements.
    GM's proposed device lacks an audible or visible alarm. Therefore, 
this device cannot perform one of the functions listed in 49 CFR 
543.6(a)(3), that is, to call attention to unauthorized attempts to 
enter or move the vehicle. Based on comparison of the reduction in the 
theft rates of Chevrolet Corvettes using a passive theft deterrent 
system along with an audible/visible alarm system to the reduction in 
theft rates for the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird models 
equipped with a passive theft deterrent device without an alarm, GM 
finds that the lack of an alarm or attention-attracting device does not 
compromise the theft deterrent performance of a device such as PASS-Key 
III+ system. Theft data have indicated a decline in theft rates for 
vehicle lines equipped with comparable devices that have received full 
exemptions from the parts-marking requirements. In these instances, the 
agency has concluded that the lack of an audible or visible alarm has 
not prevented these antitheft devices from being effective protection 
against theft.
    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 
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 GM has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Cadillac ATS 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 GM 
provided about its device.
    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.
    Based on the evidence submitted by GM, the agency believes that the 
antitheft device for the Cadillac ATS 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).

[[Page 65767]]

    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full GM's 
petition for exemption for the Cadillac ATS 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.
    If GM decides not to use the exemption for this line, it should 
formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must 
be fully marked according to the requirements under 49 CFR 541.5 and 
541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if GM 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, Part 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 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 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: October 24, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-26628 Filed 10-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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