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Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Chrysler

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Cadillac ATS

Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Chrysler

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


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 210 (Tuesday, October 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65767-65769]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26627]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard; Chrysler

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 Chrysler LLC, (Chrysler) 
petition for exemption of the Chrysler [confidential] vehicle line in 
accordance with 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from Vehicle 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. Chrysler requested 
confidential treatment for specific information in its petition. The 
agency will grant Chrysler's request for confidential treatment by 
separate letter. Chrysler informed the agency that the nameplate will 
be released prior to introduction of the vehicle line.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Carlita Ballard, International 
Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, 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, Chrysler 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541) for the MY 2014 Chrysler 
[confidential] vehicle line. 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 49 CFR Part 543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to 
grant an exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its 
petition, Chrysler provided a detailed description and diagram of the 
identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft 
device for the [confidential] vehicle line. Chrysler will install the 
Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS) antitheft device as standard 
equipment on the vehicle line. The SKIS provides passive vehicle 
protection by preventing the engine from operating unless a valid 
electronically encoded key is detected in the ignition system of the 
vehicles. The major components of the SKIS device consist of the Radio 
Frequency Hub Module (RFHM), Ignition Node Module (IGNM), Engine 
Control Module, Body Controller Module, Sentry Key Immobilizer Module 
(SKIM), the transponder key that performs the immobilizer function and 
the Instrument Panel Cluster which contains the telltale function only. 
According to Chrysler, all of these components work collectively to 
perform the immobilizer function. Chrysler stated that its 
[confidential] vehicle line will also be available with an optional 
visible or audible alarm system to provide an indication of 
unauthorized vehicle entry (i.e., flashing lights or horn alarm).
    According to Chrysler, the immobilizer feature is activated when 
the key is removed from the ignition system, whether the doors are open 
or not. Only a valid key inserted into the ignition system will allow 
the vehicle to start and continue to run.
    Chrysler stated that the functions and features of the SKIM are all 
integral to the RFHM. The SKIM performs the interrogation with the 
transponder in the key. The RFHM receives Low Frequency (LF) and/or 
Radio Frequency (RF) signals from the Sentry Key transponder which is 
integral to the FOB with integrated key. The RFHM contains an RF 
transceiver, a microprocessor and serves as the Remote Keyless Entry RF 
receiver.
    The RFHM is paired with the IGNM that contains either a rotary 
ignition switch (keyed vehicles) or a START/STOP push button (keyless 
vehicles). According to Chrysler, the SKIS will be placed on both its 
keyless entry vehicles and keyed vehicles. For the keyed vehicles, the 
IGNM transmits an LF signal to excite the transponder in the key when 
the ignition switch is turned to the ON position. The IGNM waits for a 
signal response from the transponder and transmits the response to the 
RFHM. If the response identifies the transponder key as invalid or if 
no response is received from the transponder key, Chrysler stated that 
the

[[Page 65768]]

RFHM sends an invalid key message to the Engine Control Module, which 
will disable engine operation and immobilize the vehicle after two 
seconds of running. This process is also similar for the keyless 
vehicles. Chrysler stated that when the keyless START/STOP button is 
pressed, the RFHM transmits a signal to the transponder key through LF 
antennas to the RFHM. The RFHM waits for a signal from the transponder. 
If the response from the transponder identifies the transponder key as 
invalid or the transponder key is not within the car's interior, the 
engine will be disabled and the vehicle will be immobilized after two 
seconds of running.
    To avoid any perceived delay when starting the vehicle with a valid 
transponder key and to prevent unburned fuel from entering the exhaust, 
Chrysler stated that the engine is permitted to run for no more than 
two seconds if an invalid transponder key is used. Chrysler stated that 
only six consecutive invalid vehicle start attempts are permitted and 
all other attempts are locked out by preventing the fuel injectors from 
firing and disabling the starter.
    Chrysler also stated that each ignition key used in the SKIS has an 
integral transponder chip included on the circuit board beneath the 
cover of the integral Remote Keyless Entry transmitter. Each 
transponder key has a unique transponder identification code that is 
permanently programmed into it by the manufacturer which must be 
programmed into the RFHM to be recognized by the SKIS as a valid key. 
Chrysler stated that once a Sentry Key has been programmed to a 
particular vehicle, it cannot be used on any other vehicle.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 49 CFR Part 
543.6, Chrysler provided information on the reliability and durability 
of the device. Chrysler conducted tests based on its own specified 
standards and stated its belief that the device meets the stringent 
performance standards prescribed. Specifically, Chrysler stated that 
its device must demonstrate a minimum of 95 percent reliability with 90 
percent confidence. In addition to the design and production validation 
test criteria, Chrysler stated that the SKIS device also undergoes a 
daily short term durability test and all of its systems undergo a 
series of three functional tests for durability prior to being shipped 
from the supplier to the vehicle assembly plant for installation in its 
vehicles.
    Chrysler stated that its vehicles are also equipped with a security 
indicator that acts as a diagnostic indicator. Chrysler stated that if 
the RFHM detects an invalid transponder key or if a transponder key 
related fault exists, the security indicator will flash. If the RFHM 
detects a system malfunction or the SKIS has become ineffective, the 
security indicator will stay on. If the vehicle is equipped with a 
Customer Learn transponder programming feature, the security indicator 
will flash whenever the Customer Learn programming is in use.
    Chrysler stated that it expects the [confidential] vehicle line to 
mirror the lower theft rate results achieved by the Jeep Grand Cherokee 
vehicle line when ignition immobilizer systems were included as 
standard equipment on the line. Chrysler stated that it has offered the 
SKIS immobilizer system as standard equipment on all Jeep Grand 
Cherokee vehicles since the 1999 model year. Chrysler indicated that 
the average theft rate, based on NHTSA's theft data, for the Jeep Grand 
Cherokee vehicles for the four model years prior to 1999 (1995-1998), 
when a vehicle immobilizer system was not installed as standard 
equipment, was 5.3574 per one thousand vehicles produced, significantly 
higher than the 1990/1991 median theft rate of 3.5826. However, the 
average theft rate for the nine model years (1999-2008, no data 
available for 2007) after installation of the standard immobilizer 
device was 2.5704, which is significantly lower than the median. The 
Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicle line was granted an exemption from the 
parts-marking requirements beginning with MY 2004 (67 FR 79687, 
December 30, 2002). Chrysler further stated that NHTSA's theft data for 
the Jeep Grand Cherokee indicates that the inclusion of a standard 
immobilizer system resulted in a 52 percent net average reduction in 
vehicle thefts.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR Part 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 Chrysler has provided adequate reasons for its belief that 
the antitheft device for the 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 Chrysler 
provided about its device.
    The agency concludes that the device will provide four of the five 
types of performance listed in 49 CFR Part 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.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full 
Chrysler's petition for exemption for its [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 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 Chrysler decides not to use the exemption for this vehicle line, 
it must formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the 
vehicle 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 Chrysler 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. 49 CFR 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, 49 CFR 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 49 CFR 
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

[[Page 65769]]

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. 2012-26627 Filed 10-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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