Home Page About Us Contribute
LuckyBug LifeStyle
















General Motors, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Buick Verano, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt

General Motors, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
January 21, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 13 (Tuesday, January 21, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3472-3474]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-00922]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0040; Notice 2]


General Motors, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: General Motors, LLC (GM) has determined that certain model 
year (MY) 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt, and Buick Verano 
passenger cars manufactured between November 15, 2012 and January 11, 
2013, do not fully comply with paragraph S4.2.6 of Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 202a, Head Restraints; Mandatory 
Applicability Begins on September 1, 2009. GM has filed an appropriate 
report dated February 15, 2013, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Mr. Ed 
Chan, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 493-0335.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. GM's Petition

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, GM has petitioned for 
an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. 
Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on October 28, 2013 in the Federal Register (78 
FR 64289). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2013-0040.''

II. Vehicles Involved

    Affected are approximately 32,838 MY 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, 
Chevrolet Volt, and Buick Verano passenger cars manufactured between 
November 15, 2012 and January 11, 2013.

III. Summary of GM's Analyses

    GM explains that the noncompliance is that between 8 and 12 percent 
of the affected vehicles have rear outboard head restraints that do not 
meet the height retention requirements specified in paragraph S4.2.6 of 
FMVSS No. 202a.
    GM further explained that the noncompliance is the result of a 
notch in one of the two head restraint rods not being machined to 
specifications. This notch corresponds to the rear head restraint's 
highest adjustment position. This condition does not affect the ability 
to lock the head restraint in the middle or lowest positions. Nor does 
it make the head restraint capable of being more easily removed.
    GM stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:

[[Page 3473]]

    The root cause of the condition was determined to be a change made 
by a machine operator which reduced the clamping force in the operation 
that cuts the notches in the head restraint rod, slightly altering the 
shape of the notch. Restraints with the altered notch have a lower 
retention force than design intent.
    The retention force for the head restraints with the improperly 
machined notch was measured as approximately 150 N.
    GM recognizes that one of NHTSA's concerns was improper positioning 
of head restraints due to the head restraint moving out of position 
either during normal vehicle use or in a crash, as stated in the FMVSS 
No. 202a NPRM (January 4, 2001, 66 FR 979).
    For everyday use, with the adjustment button depressed, these head 
restraints are designed to move down with a force of 4020N. 
The measured retention force for the improperly machined notch is 
nearly 4 times the nominal adjustment force and 2.5 times the maximum. 
Without the button depressed, these head restraints will not ``slip'' 
or easily move down from the top adjustment position. For most, it 
would take a deliberate two-handed action to cause the restraint to 
move from the top to the mid position without activating the release 
button. The tactile feedback from such forced movement would be clear 
indication that it is not the correct method for adjusting the 
restraint. The opportunity for inadvertent misadjustment of the 
restraint is also diminished due to the fact that these are rear seat 
head restraints with no seating positions behind them. They are not at 
risk for misadjustment as a result of someone bumping or grabbing the 
restraint for assistance during vehicle ingress and egress.
    FMVSS No. 202a provides two compliance options for head restraints. 
They are Paragraph S4.2 (Dimensional and Static Performance) or 
paragraph S4.3 (Dynamic Performance and Width). As with most of its 
vehicles, GM chose to certify the rear seat head restraints for the 
2013 Cruze, Verano and Volt, to S4.2 (the ``static option'') and the 
front head restraints to S4.3 (the ``dynamic option'').
    In order to evaluate the efficacy of the rear head restraints with 
the improperly machined notches, GM conducted a series of 6 sled tests 
at MGA Research. Two tests each were run for the Cruze, Volt and 
Verano. For each vehicle, one test was run according to the procedure 
specified by FMVSS No. 202a paragraph S4.3 which places the head 
restraint in the mid-position, and a second test was run in the same 
manner as the first test, but with the head restraint placed in the top 
position. The top position is that used in the height retention test of 
the static option, and that position is the one with the improperly 
machined notch. Improperly machined head restraints and corresponding 
rod guides were used for each test.
    Significantly, in the three sled tests with the head restraint in 
the uppermost position, the head restraint did not move down. For all 
tests, the head restraint remained in its pretest height adjustment 
throughout the test. Also, in all sled tests (upper and mid position) 
the dummy met the injury criteria specified in the requirements for the 
dynamic option (<12 degree of neck rotation, <500 HIC) and head 
restraint width >170 mm.

GM's Arguments

    GM believes that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety because for the following reasons occupant 
protection is not compromised:
    1. The noncompliant test vehicles meet the requirements specified 
under the dynamic compliance option 1 in all six sled tests. Therefore, 
GM believes that the improperly machined head restraint rod notches do 
not expose occupants to a significantly greater risk than those with 
properly machined notches.
    2. The head restraints remained in their adjusted positions 
throughout the tests.
    3. The occupant performance criteria specified for the dynamic 
compliance option was met in both the mid and upper head restraint 
adjustment positions.
    4. These head restraints will maintain their adjusted positions 
during everyday use of the vehicle.
    5. Paragraph S4.2.6 of FMVSS No. 202a allows 13 mm of permanent 
displacement of the head restraint. By design, the distance between the 
top and mid adjustment positions of the subject head restraints is 19 
mm. Thus, the potential head restraint displacement due to the 
improperly machined notch is limited to 19 mm.
    6. The owner's manual instructions continue to meet all the 
requirements of FMVSS No. 202a. Even though the head restraint could be 
forced down to the mid-position, it still requires substantially more 
effort than it does when the adjustment button at the base of the head 
restraint is depressed. The owner's manual instructions continue to be 
the recommended manner of adjustment.
    7. GM is not aware of any injuries or customer complaints 
associated with this condition.
    GM has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production vehicles will comply with 
FMVSS No. 202a.
    In summation, GM believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that 
its petition, to exempt from providing recall notification of 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.

IV. NHTSA Decision

    NHTSA has reviewed and accepts GM's analyses that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Specifically, 
the stated noncompliance poses little if any risk to motor vehicle 
safety because although the vehicles do not meet the static 
requirements of paragraph S4.2 of FMVSS No. 202a as certified by GM, 
they do meet the optional dynamic requirements of paragraph S4.3 of 
FMVSS No. 202a. Consequently, the subject vehicles are no less 
compliant than vehicles certified to the dynamic option.
    Also, while GM's basis of certification for the subject vehicles 
was the static method, the certification labels on the subject vehicles 
do not identify the method of certification. Therefore, no associated 
labeling corrections are necessary.
    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that GM has 
met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 202a noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, GM's petition is 
hereby granted and GM is exempted from the obligation of providing 
notification of, and a remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 
30118 and 30120.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, this decision 
only applies to the vehicles that GM no longer controlled at the time 
it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the granting of 
this petition does not relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the 
prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery 
for introduction into interstate commerce of

[[Page 3474]]

the noncompliant vehicles under their control after GM notified them 
that the subject noncompliance existed.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.

Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2014-00922 Filed 1-17-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library

The Crittenden Automotive Library at Google+ The Crittenden Automotive Library on Facebook The Crittenden Automotive Library on Instagram The Crittenden Automotive Library at The Internet Archive The Crittenden Automotive Library on Pinterest The Crittenden Automotive Library on Twitter The Crittenden Automotive Library on Tumblr  
 
 


The Crittenden Automotive Library

Home Page    About Us    Contribute




By accessing the The Crittenden Automotive Library/CarsAndRacingStuff.com, you signify your agreement with the terms and conditions on our Legal Information:  Disclaimers & Privacy Policy page.

To notify The Crittenden Automotive Library of errors, suggest topics, contribute information, make a comment on a page or to ask a question e-mail us.