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Notice

Nissan Motor Company and Nissan North America, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

 

Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. and Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) have determined that certain vehicles that they produced in 2004 through 2005 do not comply with S9.2.2 of 49 CFR 571.225, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 225, “Child restraint anchorage systems.” Nissan has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, “Defect and Noncompliance Reports.”

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h), Nissan 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.

This notice of receipt of Nissan's petition is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.

Affected are a total of approximately 24,655 model year (MY) 2005 Infiniti FX vehicles manufactured from September 1, 2004 to July 13, 2005; 167 MY 2005 Infiniti Q45 vehicles with rear power seats manufactured from September 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005; and 65,361 MY 2005 Nissan Maxima vehicles manufactured from September 1, 2004 to July 11, 2005.

S9.2.2 of FMVSS No. 225 requires:

With adjustable seats adjusted as described in S9.2.3, each lower anchorage bar shall be located so that a vertical transverse plane tangent to the front surface of the bar is (a) Not more than 70 mm behind the corresponding point Z of the CRF [child restraint fixture], measured parallel to the bottom surface of the CRF and in a vertical longitudinal plane, while the CRF is pressed against the seat back by the rearward application of a horizontal force of 100 N at point A on the CRF.

The lower anchorage bars in the subject vehicles do not comply with this requirement. Nissan states that tests performed for NHTSA by MGA, Inc. revealed a noncompliance in a 2005 Infiniti FX, and Nissan subsequently investigated its vehicle models on this issue.

Nissan believes that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and that no corrective action is warranted. Nissan provides several bases for this assertion.

First, Nissan states that the vehicles do comply with the alternative requirements S15 of FMVSS No. 225, which were available as a compliance option until September 1, 2004.

Second, Nissan states that the extent of the noncompliance is not significant. Specifically, it says:

The left and right lower anchorages in the MY 2005 FX vehicle were located 76 mm and 83 mm behind Point Z, respectively, when tested by MGA under the procedures of S9.2.2. During its subsequent investigation using the MGA CRF, Nissan measured the lower anchorage location in the left and right rear seats in five other FX vehicles. The average distance from Point Z was 78 mm, and the greatest distance was 81 mm. The average distance for the four 5-seat Nissan Maxima vehicles tested was 76 mm, and the greatest distance was 81 mm. The average distance for the three 4-seat Maxima vehicles tested was 92 mm, and the greatest distance was 94 mm. At most, this reflects a distance of less than an inch beyond the distance specified in the standard, and the difference is less than one-half of an inch for the FX and the 5-seat Maxima models.

Third, Nissan conducted a survey program to assess the ease of installing CRSs in these vehicles, and set out the results as an attachment to its petition. Nissan points out that there were few unsuccessful attempts and says that the results “clearly demonstrate that the noncompliance * * * does not adversely affect the ease of installation of the CRSs * * *” Nissan also indicates that the latchings were accomplished in an average time of between 22 seconds and 39 seconds.

Fourth, Nissan states that “other vehicle characteristics in these models compensate for the lower anchorage location to allow for ease of installation,” including seat foam that compresses easily and suppleness of leather seats.

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on the petition described above. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by any of the following methods. Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Nassif Building, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC. It is requested, but not required, that two copies of the comments be provided. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal Holidays. Comments may be submitted electronically by logging onto the Docket Management System Web site at http://dms.dot.gov. Click on “Help” to obtain instructions for filing the document electronically. Comments may be faxed to 1-202-493-2251, or may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

Comment closing date: September 26, 2005.

Authority: Back to Top

49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120; delegations of authority at CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

Issued on: August 19, 2005.

Ronald L. Medford,

Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety.

[FR Doc. 05-16861 Filed 8-24-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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