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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Cadillac SRX

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

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
December 24, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 247 (Tuesday, December 24, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77790-77791]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-30596]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle 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 SRX 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 49 CFR Part 541, Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard (Theft Prevention Standard).

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the 2015 model year (MY).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Deborah Mazyck, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy, and Consumer Standards, NHTSA, W43-
443, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Mazyck's 
phone number is (202) 366-4139. Her fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated August 16, 2013, GM 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard for the Cadillac SRX vehicle line beginning with MY 
2015. The petition requested an exemption from parts-marking pursuant 
to 49 CFR 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, GM provided a detailed description and diagram of the 
identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft 
device for the Cadillac SRX vehicle line. GM will install the PASS-Key 
III+ antitheft device as standard equipment on the vehicle line. The 
PASS-Key III+ is a passive, transponder-based, electronic immobilizer 
device. The major components of the device consist of the PASS-Key III+ 
controller module, engine control module, electronically-coded ignition 
key, radio frequency receiver and passive antenna module. 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). GM'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.
    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.
    GM stated that the PASS-Key III+ uses a special ignition key and 
decoder 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 to the data 
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 passes the 
signal on to the controller module. The controller module 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. A secondary data challenge and 
response process using another encryption algorithm must be validated 
by the engine controller to allow continued operation. 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. 
Specifically, GM stated that the AAMA's comments referencing 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 noted that 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. GM stated 
that the theft data, as provided by the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation's National Crime Information Center 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 49 
CFR Part 541.
    Additionally, GM stated that the PASS-Key III+ is installed as 
standard equipment on the Cadillac CTS vehicle line. GM informed the 
agency that its Cadillac CTS vehicle line has been equipped with the 
device since introduction of its MY 2003 vehicles. 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

[[Page 77791]]

62385, November 27, 2009). The average theft rate for the Cadillac CTS 
vehicle line, based on NHTSA's theft data, using 3 MYs theft data (MYs 
2009-Preliminary 2011) is 1.3508.
    GM further stated that it 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 SRX vehicle line is sufficient to 
qualify it for full exemption from the parts-marking requirements.
    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 SRX 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. 
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.
    GM's proposed device lacks an audible or visible alarm. Therefore, 
this device cannot perform one of the functions listed in 49 CFR Part 
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 antitheft device 
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 antitheft 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 the PASS-Key III+ 
device. 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.
    Based on the evidence submitted by GM, the agency believes that the 
antitheft device for the Cadillac SRX 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.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full GM's 
petition for exemption for the Cadillac SRX vehicle line from the 
parts-marking requirements of 49 CFR Part 541, beginning with the 2015 
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 GM 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 parts 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.

Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2013-30596 Filed 12-23-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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