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Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford Motor Company

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Ford Edge

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford Motor Company

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
January 18, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 13 (Friday, January 18, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4192-4193]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00996]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard; Ford Motor Company

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 Ford Motor Company's (Ford) 
petition for an exemption of the Edge vehicle line in accordance with 
Sec.  543.9(c)(2) of 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). Ford 
also requested confidential treatment of specific information in its 
petition. The agency will address Ford'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, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Mazyck's telephone 
number is (202) 366-4139. Her fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated October 15, 2012, Ford 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR part 541) for the MY 2014 Ford Edge 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 an entire vehicle line.
    Under Sec.  543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant 
exemptions for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, Ford 
provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, 
and location of the components of the antitheft device for the Edge 
vehicle line. Ford stated that the 2014 Edge will be equipped with the 
Ford SecuriLock device (also known as the Passive Antitheft System or 
PATS) as standard equipment or the Ford Intelligent Access with Push 
Button Start (IAwPB) antitheft device as optional equipment. Ford 
further stated that the Edge vehicles with base trim (SE) will only be 
offered with PATS. However, the entire vehicle line will be installed 
with a passive, electronic immobilizer device using encrypted 
transponder technology. Key components of the Securilock/PATS antitheft 
device will include an electronic transponder key, powertrain control 
module, transceiver module, ignition lock, and a passive immobilizer. 
Key components of the IAwPB device are electronic keyfob, remote 
function actuator (RFA), body control module (BCM) or Smart Power 
Distribution Junction Box (SPDJB), the PEPS/RFA module, the power train 
control module and a passive immobilizer. Ford stated that its MY 2014 
Edge vehicle line will also be equipped with several other standard 
antitheft features common to Ford vehicles (i.e., hood release located 
inside the vehicle, counterfeit resistant VIN labels and secondary 
VINs, cabin accessibility only with the use of a valid key fob or 
keycode). Ford further stated that there will also be a separate 
perimeter alarm available on its Edge vehicle line. The perimeter alarm 
activates a visible and audible alarm if unauthorized access is 
attempted. Ford'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.
    In the SecuriLock device, when the ignition key is turned to the 
``Run/Start'' position, the transceiver module reads the ignition key 
code and transmits an encrypted message from the keycode to the control 
module, which then determines key validity and authorizes engine 
starting by sending a separate encrypted message to the powertrain 
control module (PCM). In the IAwPB device, when the ``StartStop'' 
button is pressed, the transceiver module reads the key code and 
transmits an encrypted message from the keycode to the control module 
to determine validity and authorizes engine starting by sending a 
separate encrypted message to the body control module (BCM), and the 
PCM. Ford stated that the powertrain will function only if the keycode 
matches the unique identification keycode previously programmed into 
the BCM/RFA. In both devices, if the codes do not match, the vehicle 
will be inoperable. Ford pointed out that in addition to the programmed 
key, there are three modules that must be matched together in order to 
start the vehicle adding even an additional level of security to the 
IAwPB device.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, Ford 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed 
device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, Ford 
conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Ford provided a 
detailed list of the tests conducted and believes that the device is 
reliable and durable since the device complied with its own specified 
requirements for each test.
    Ford also stated that incorporation of several features in both 
devices further supports reliability and durability of the devices. 
Specifically, some of those features include: Encrypted communication 
between the transponder, control function and the power train control 
module; no moving parts; 18 quintillion possible codes making key 
duplication virtually impossible; inability to mechanically override 
the device to start the vehicle; and the body control module/remote 
function actuator and the power train control module share security 
data that during vehicle assembly form matched modules that if 
separated from each other will not function in other vehicles.
    Ford compared the device proposed for its vehicle line with other 
devices which NHTSA has determined to be as effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft as would compliance with the parts-
marking requirements. Ford stated that it believes that the standard 
installation of either the SecuriLock device or the IAwPB device would 
be an effective deterrent against vehicle theft.
    Ford stated that it installed the SecuriLock device on all MY 1996 
Ford Mustang GT and Cobra models and other selected models. Ford stated 
that in the 1997 model, the SecuriLock device was extended to the 
complete Ford Mustang vehicle line as standard equipment. Ford also 
stated that according to the National Insurance

[[Page 4193]]

Crime Bureau (NICB) theft statistics, MY 1997 Mustangs installed with 
the SecuriLock device showed a 70% reduction in theft rate compared to 
the MY 1995 Mustangs.
    Ford also reported that beginning with MY 2010, the SecuriLock 
device was installed as standard equipment on all of its North American 
Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles but was offered as optional 
equipment on its 2010 F-series Super Duty pickups, Econoline and 
Transit Connect vehicles. Ford further stated that beginning with MY 
2010, the IAwPB was standard equipment on the Lincoln MKT vehicles and 
starting with MY 2011, the device was offered as standard equipment on 
the Lincoln MKX and optionally on the Lincoln MKS, Taurus, Edge, 
Explorer and the Focus vehicles. Starting with 2013, the IAwPB was 
offered as standard equipment on the Lincoln MKZ and offered as 
optional equipment on the Ford Fusion, C-Max and Escape vehicles. Theft 
rate data is not available for model years' (MYs') 2011-2013.
    Ford stated that both antitheft devices are of the same design and 
performance as that of the MY 2011 Ford Explorer vehicle line. Ford was 
granted an exemption for the Explorer vehicle line on May 28, 2010 by 
NHTSA (See 75 FR 30103) beginning with its MY 2011 vehicles. Since the 
agency granted Ford's exemption for its MY 2011 Explorer vehicle line, 
there has been no available theft rate information for this vehicle. 
The Explorer was granted an exemption from the parts marking 
requirements on May 28, 2010 (75 FR 30103). Ford also referenced theft 
rate data published by NHTSA showing that the theft rates for the Edge 
is lower than the median theft rate for all vehicles from MY's 2000-
2009. Ford stated that since the SecuriLock or the IAwPB devices are 
the primary theft deterrents on Ford Edge vehicles, it believes that 
the very low theft rates are likely to continue or improve in the 
future. The theft rate data for the MY 2010 Ford Edge is 0.8783 and the 
average theft rate using three MYs' (2008-2010) data is 1.1655.
    The agency agrees that the device is substantially similar to 
devices installed on other vehicle lines for which the agency has 
already granted exemptions.
    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 Ford has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Ford Edge 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 Ford 
provided about its device.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by Ford on the device, 
the agency believes that the antitheft device for the Edge 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 the five types of performance listed in Sec.  
543.6(a)(3): promoting activation; attracting attention to the efforts 
of unauthorized persons to enter or operate a vehicle by means other 
than a key; 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 Ford's 
petition for exemption for the Edge 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 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 Ford 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 according to the requirements under 49 CFR 541.5 and 
541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if Ford 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: January 11, 2013.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2013-00996 Filed 1-17-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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