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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Honda Accord

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

Lori K. Summers
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
April 1, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 62 (Tuesday, April 1, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18409-18410]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-07234]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


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

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 American Honda Motor Co., 
Inc.'s (Honda) petition for an exemption of the Honda Accord 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. Carlita Ballard, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, West 
Building, 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 November 18, 2013, Honda 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard for the Accord vehicle line beginning with MY 2015. 
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 543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant 
an exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, 
Honda provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, 
design, and location of the components of the antitheft device for its 
new Accord vehicle line. Honda stated that it will install a passive, 
transponder-based electronic engine immobilizer antitheft device as 
standard equipment on its Accord vehicle line. Key components of the 
antitheft device will include a passive immobilizer, transponder 
ignition key, ``smart entry'' remote, Powertrain Control Module (PCM) 
and an Immobilizer Entry System (IMOES). Honda stated that it will 
install two types of ignition systems (``keyed'' and ``smart entry'' 
with push button start) on its Accord vehicle line. The ``keyed'' 
ignition system will be installed on its DX/LX/Sport sedans and LX-S 
coupe models and the ``smart entry'' system will be installed on its 
EX/EXL/EXL-V6/Touring sedans, EX/EXL/EXL-V6 coupe models, and its plug-
in and EX-L/Touring hybrid models.
    Honda stated that its ``keyed'' ignition system vehicles require 
the use of an ignition key with a correct matching and verified 
immobilization code to authorize starting of the vehicle.
    Honda additionally stated that deactivation of the immobilizer 
occurs when a valid key and matching immobilization code is verified, 
allowing the engine to continue normal operations. Specifically, the 
immobilization system automatically checks for a matching code each 
time starting of the vehicle is attempted. A matching code must be 
validated by both the PCM and IMOES in order for the engine to start. 
Honda stated that if an incorrect key is used to try and start the 
vehicle, the PCM will prevent fueling of the engine and allow the 
vehicle to start and run a few seconds before it automatically switches 
off and the immobilizer telltale indicator begins to flash.
    According to Honda, the ``smart entry'' system operates identically 
to its ``keyed'' ignition system except that ignition for its ``smart 
entry'' system vehicle is started by pushing the Engine Start/Stop 
button located to the right of the steering wheel on the vehicle 
dashboard. Specifically, Honda states that the ``smart entry'' system 
operates once the remote is within operating range, the start/stop 
button is pushed, and matching codes are verified by both the PCM and 
the IMOES allowing the engine to start. Honda further states that if a 
``smart entry'' remote without a matching code is placed inside the 
operating range and the Engine Start/Stop button is pushed, the PCM 
will prevent fueling and starting of the engine. Deactivation of the 
device occurs when a ``smart entry'' remote with matching codes is 
placed within the operating range and verified, allowing the engine to 
continue normal operations.
    In order to attract attention to an unauthorized person attempting 
to enter its vehicles without the use of a transponder ignition key or 
a ``smart entry'' remote, Honda stated that it plans to install a 
vehicle security system as standard equipment on all Accord trim levels 
except its DX models to monitor attempts of unauthorized entry. 
Specifically, Honda stated that whenever an attempt is made to open one 
of its vehicle doors, hood or trunk without turning a key in the key 
cylinder, or using the key fob to disarm the vehicle, the vehicle's 
horn will sound and its lights will flash. The security system is armed 
when all of the doors are locked and the hood and trunk are closed and 
locked. Honda's security system is deactivated by using the key fob to 
unlock the vehicle doors or by unlocking the driver's door with the 
physical ignition key. Honda stated that deactivation of the vehicle's 
security system feature in its ``smart entry'' vehicles occurs when the 
``smart entry'' remote is within operating range and the operator grabs 
either of the vehicle's front door handles.
    Honda stated that its Accord vehicle line will also be installed 
with other features that have been designed to

[[Page 18410]]

prevent unauthorized entry of its vehicles without the use of a key 
(i.e., ignition key and key cylinders will be designed with special 
styling features). Honda stated that its key cylinders are designed to 
be resistant to tampering and its key fob remote utilizes rolling codes 
for the lock and unlock functions of its vehicles. Honda will also 
equip its vehicle line with a hood release, counterfeit resistant VIN 
plates and secondary VINs as standard equipment. Honda further stated 
that as an additional security measure, key duplication will be 
strictly controlled by its authorized dealers. Honda'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 addressing the specific content requirements of Sec.  543.6, 
Honda provided information on the reliability and durability of its 
proposed device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, 
Honda conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Honda 
provided a detailed list of the tests it uses to validate the 
integrity, durability and reliability of the device and believes that 
it follows a rigorous development process to ensure that its antitheft 
device will be reliable and robust for the life of the vehicle and does 
not require the presence of a key fob battery to function. 
Additionally, Honda stated that its antitheft device has no moving 
parts (i.e., the PCM, IMOES, ignition key, smart entry remote and the 
electrical components found within its own housing units) which reduces 
the chance for deterioration or wear resulting from normal use.
    In support of its belief that its antitheft device will be as or 
more effective in reducing and deterring vehicle theft than the parts-
marking requirement, Honda referenced data showing several instances of 
the effectiveness of its proposed immobilizer device. Honda first 
installed an immobilizer device as standard equipment on it's MY 1998 
Accord vehicles and referenced NHTSA's theft rate data showing a 
decrease in thefts since the installation of its immobilizer device. 
NHTSA's theft rates for MYs 2009, 2010, and 2011 are 0.9422, 0.7039 and 
0.7819 respectively. Using an average of 3 MYs theft data (2009-2011), 
the theft rate for the Accord vehicle line is well below the median at 
1.9067.
    Honda also referenced a Highway Loss Data Institute report showing 
an overall reduction in theft rates for the Honda Accord vehicles after 
introduction of the immobilizer device. Honda stated that the data show 
that there was an immediate decrease in MY/calendar year 1998 thefts 
with its immobilizer-installed vehicles but also showed sustained lower 
theft rates in following years.
    Based on the evidence submitted by Honda on its antitheft device, 
the agency believes that the antitheft device for the Accord 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.
    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 Honda has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Honda Accord 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 Honda provided about its 
device.
    The agency concludes that because Honda does not plan to 
incorporate the vehicle security system on the entire vehicle line as 
standard equipment, 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.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full Honda's 
petition for exemption for the Accord 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 Honda 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 Honda 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.

Lori K. Summers,
Director, Office of Crashworthiness Standards.
[FR Doc. 2014-07234 Filed 3-31-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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