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Michelin North America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Michelin

Michelin North America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
December 30, 2014

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 249 (Tuesday, December 30, 2014)]
[Pages 78561-78562]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30241]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0095; Notice 2]

Michelin North America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.


SUMMARY: Michelin North America, Inc. (MNA) has determined that certain 
Michelin Pilot Street Radial replacement motorcycle tires, do not fully 
comply with paragraph S6.5(f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of 
More Than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and Motorcycles. MNA has 
filed an appropriate report dated July 3, 2014, pursuant to 49 CFR part 
573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Abraham 
Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5310, facsimile 
(202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. MNA's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 
30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule implementing those provisions at 49 
CFR part 556, MNA 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 September 23, 2014 in the Federal Register 
(FR 56852). 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-2014-0095.''
    II. Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 889 Michelin Pilot 
Street Radial motorcycle tires, involving a total of three dimensions 
(110/70 R17 54H, 130/70 R17 62H, and 140/70 R17 66H), that were 
manufactured between August 12, 2012 and December 21, 2013 in 
Phrapradaeng, Thailand.
    III. Noncompliance: MNA explains that the noncompliance is that on 
the sidewall containing the DOT Tire Identification Number (TIN,) the 
marking describing the generic material content of the casing plies for 
tread and sidewall, required by paragraph S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119, is 
    For the subject tires, the marking reads:

                       Tread plies                        Sidewall plies
2 polyamide                                                  2 polyamide
1 aramid                                                  ..............

    The correct marking for these tires is:

                       Tread plies                        Sidewall plies
2 polyester                                                  2 polyester
1 aramid                                                  ..............

    V. Rule Text: Paragraph S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S6.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in this paragraph, each 
tire shall be marked on each sidewall with the information specified 
in paragraphs (a) through (j) of this section. . . . Markings may 
appear on only one sidewall and the entire sidewall area may be used 
in the case of motorcycle tires and recreational, boat, baggage, and 
special trailer tires. . . .
    (f) The actual number of plies and the composition of the ply 
cord material in the sidewall and, if different, in the tread area; 
. . .

    V. Summary of MNA's Analyses: MNA stated its belief that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for 
the following reasons:
    (A) The subject tires meet or exceed all of the minimum performance 
requirements of FMVSS No. 119 for motorcycle tires, and carry on their 
sidewalls all the other required markings of FMVSS No. 119. The content 
of these tires is as designed; it is only the marking of the generic 
material for the casing plies which is inconsistent with the content. 
Since the

[[Page 78562]]

generic material marking does not influence the purchase nor the 
fitment of tires to vehicles, the above described noncompliance is 
viewed by MNA to have no impact on the performance of the tire, nor the 
associated motor vehicle safety.
    (B) The subject tires contain the necessary tire material labeling 
information on at least one sidewall. The number of reinforcing plies 
in the tread, and in the sidewall, are correct. It is the descriptor 
for the generic material which is not consistent with the actual 
content of the tire--``Polyamide'' in place of ``Polyester.'' Since 
this marking is only on one sidewall and there is no other marking to 
compare it to, consumers will not be confused by the content of the 
marking, nor do they make purchasing decisions based upon this mark. 
Only a specialist, familiar with the differences between ``Polyamide'' 
and ``Polyester'', with access to the internal content of the tire, 
would recognize this discrepancy.
    (C) This marking discrepancy has no impact on a consumer's, 
dealer's, or distributor's ability, nor our ability, to identify 
product in the event of a market action. During market actions, the 
tire dimension, brand name, load capacity, and TIN are used to identify 
tires which are to be removed from the market. The tire's generic 
material content marking would therefore not have an impact on a 
consumer's or dealer's ability to implement a market action.
    (D) MNA stated its belief that NHTSA has granted previous petitions 
for inconsequential noncompliance involving noncompliant ply-cord 
generic material content labeling. For example, the term ``Polyester'' 
was substituted for ``Nylon'' in a tread ply labeling noncompliance for 
which a petition was filled by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company 
(Goodyear). In that case, NHTSA agreed with Goodyear that the non-
compliance was inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. See 77 FR 2775.
    MNA has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production motorcycle tires will 
comply with FMVSS No. 119.
    In summation, MNA believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject motorcycle tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, 
and that its petition, to exempt MNA 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.

NHTSA Decision

    NHTSA Analysis: The agency agrees with MNA that the noncompliance 
is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The agency believes that 
the true measure of inconsequentiality to motor vehicle safety in this 
case is that there is no effect of the noncompliances on the 
operational safety of vehicles on which these tires are mounted. 
Although tire construction affects the strength and durability, neither 
the agency nor the tire industry provides information relating tire 
strength and durability to the number of plies and types of ply cord 
material in the tread and sidewall. Therefore, tire dealers and 
customers should consider the tire construction information along with 
other information such as load capacity, maximum inflation pressure, 
and tread wear, temperature, and traction ratings, to assess 
performance capabilities of various tires.
    In the agency's judgment, the incorrect labeling of the tire 
construction information in this instance will have an inconsequential 
effect on motor vehicle safety because most consumers do not base tire 
purchases or vehicle operation parameters on the ply material in a 
    NHTSA Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
decided that MNA has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 
119 noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, MNA's petition is hereby granted and MNA 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 subject noncompliant tires that MNA 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 the noncompliant tires under their control after MNA 
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).

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2014-30241 Filed 12-29-14; 8:45 am]

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