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Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Mercedes-Benz

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mercedes-Benz

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Mercedes-Benz

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


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 13 (Friday, January 18, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4195-4196]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00997]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard; Mercedes-Benz

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 Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC 
(MBUSA) petition for an exemption of the New Generation Compact Car 
(NGCC) Line Chassis 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 Programs, NHTSA,1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, 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 October 26, 2012, MBUSA 
requested an exemption from the parts marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR part 541) for the new MY 2014 NGCC Line 
Chassis 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 an 
exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, MBUSA 
provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, 
and location of the components of the antitheft device for its new 
vehicle line. MBUSA stated that its MY 2014 NGCC Line Chassis will 
include CLA-Class vehicles (CLA250, CLA250 4MATIC and CLA45 4MATIC AMG) 
that will be equipped with a passive ignition immobilizer (FBS III/FBS 
IV) and an access code-protected locking system as standard equipment. 
The immobilizer, transmitter key, electronic ignition starter switch 
control unit (EIS), the engine control module (ECM) and the 
transmission control module (TCM) collectively perform the immobilizer 
function. MBUSA stated that its immobilizer device is an interlinked 
system of control units which collectively perform the immobilizer 
function. The interlinked system includes the engine, EIS, transmitter 
key, TCM and ECM (including the fuel injection system) which 
independently calculates and matches a unique code. MBUSA stated that 
it is impossible to read the code from the vehicle in order to defeat 
the system. MBUSA stated that if a relevant query from the vehicle to 
the transmitter key is valid, operation of the vehicle will be 
authorized. MBUSA stated that the device will not be equipped with an 
audible or visible alarm feature. MBUSA'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.
    MBUSA stated that activation of the device occurs automatically 
when the key is removed from the ignition switch, whether the doors are 
open or not. Once activated, only a valid key with the correct code 
inserted into the ignition switch will disable immobilization and allow 
the vehicle to start and operate. MBUSA further stated that no other 
action by the operator other than turning the key is required to 
activate or deactivate the immobilizer.

[[Page 4196]]

    In its submission, MBUSA stated that a locking/unlocking function 
is also incorporated into the device. The unlocking signal from the 
remote key sends a message to the vehicle's central electronic control 
unit and a permanent code is verified and compared to the stored code 
in the Signal Acquisition Module (SAM). MBUSA stated that when both 
codes match, the locking system will unlock the doors, tailgate and 
fuel filler cover.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, MBUSA 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed 
device. To ensure reliability and durability of the immobilizer device, 
MBUSA conducted performance tests based on the Economic Commission for 
Europe's specified standards. MBUSA provided a detailed list of the 
tests conducted and believes that the device is reliable and durable 
because the device complied with the specified requirements for each 
test. MBUSA also stated that it believes that the immobilizer device 
offered on the NGCC Line Chassis vehicle will be at least as effective 
as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the theft 
prevention standard and as effective in deterring theft as it has been 
in other MBUSA vehicle lines for which theft data has been published. 
MBUSA submitted theft rate data published by the agency comparing its 
proposed device to antitheft devices already installed in the Audi A3, 
Audi A4, and the Volkswagen Passat vehicle lines.
    MBUSA referenced theft data published by the agency showing that 
the average theft rate for the Audi A3 with an immobilizer was 1.4875 
in MY/CY 2008 and 1.3294 in MY/CY 2009. MBUSA stated that it believes 
that this data also indicates that the immobilizer device was effective 
in contributing to a 10.6% reduction in the theft rate of the Audi A3 
vehicle line. MBUSA also referenced theft rate data published by the 
agency for the Audi A4 and Volkswagen Passat vehicle lines (with an 
immobilizer) which showed a theft rate of 1.1317 and 0.6007 for MY/CYs 
2008 and 2009 for the AudiA4 and 0.8197 and 0.5110 for MY/CY's 2008 and 
2009 for the Volkswagen Passat respectively.
    MBUSA stated that its proposed device is also functionally similar 
to the antitheft devices installed on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, E-
Class, C-Class, SL-Class and SLK Class chassis vehicles which the 
agency has already exempted from the parts marking requirements. In its 
submission, MBUSA concluded that lower theft rates could be expected 
from vehicles equipped with immobilizer devices as standard equipment. 
MBUSA stated that the data indicated its immobilizer device was 
effective in contributing to an average reduction of 31.8% in the theft 
rate of the SL-Line Chassis when theft rates for the vehicle line 
dropped from 1.0460 (CY 2007) to 0.7938 (CY 2009).
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by MBUSA on the device, 
the agency believes that the antitheft device for the NGCC Line Chassis 
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 
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 MBUSA has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the MBUSA new 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 MBUSA 
provided about its device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full MBUSA's 
petition for exemption for the NGCC Line Chassis 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 MBUSA 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 MBUSA 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, 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. 2013-00997 Filed 1-17-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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