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Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of receipt of petition for decision that nonconforming 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series passenger cars are eligible for importation.

SUMMARY:

This document announces receipt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a petition for a decision that 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series passenger cars that were not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards are eligible for importation into the United States because (1) they are substantially similar to vehicles that were originally manufactured for importation into and sale in the United States and that were certified by their manufacturer as complying with the safety standards, and (2) they are capable of being readily altered to conform to the standards.

DATES:

The closing date for comments on the petition is May 6, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should refer to the docket number and notice number, and be submitted to: Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., SW., Washington, DC 20590. [Docket hours are from 9 am to 5 pm].

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Entwistle, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, NHTSA (202-366-5306).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Under 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A), a motor vehicle that was not originally manufactured to conform to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards shall be refused admission into the United States unless NHTSA has decided that the motor vehicle is substantially similar to a motor vehicle originally manufactured for importation into and sale in the United States, certified under 49 U.S.C. 30115, and of the same model year as the model of the motor vehicle to be compared, and is capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards. Start Printed Page 16148

Petitions for eligibility decisions may be submitted by either manufacturers or importers who have registered with NHTSA pursuant to 49 CFR part 592. As specified in 49 CFR 593.7, NHTSA publishes notice in the Federal Register of each petition that it receives, and affords interested persons an opportunity to comment on the petition. At the close of the comment period, NHTSA decides, on the basis of the petition and any comments that it has received, whether the vehicle is eligible for importation. The agency then publishes this decision in the Federal Register.

J.K. Technologies, L.L.C. of Baltimore, Maryland (“J.K.”) (Registered Importer 90-006) has petitioned NHTSA to decide whether 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series passenger cars are eligible for importation into the United States. The vehicles which J.K. believes are substantially similar are 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series passenger cars that were manufactured for importation into, and sale in, the United States and certified by their manufacturer, Bayerische Motoren Werke, A.G., as conforming to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.

The petitioner claims that it carefully compared non-U.S. certified 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series passenger cars to their U.S.-certified counterparts, and found the vehicles to be substantially similar with respect to compliance with most Federal motor vehicle safety standards.

J.K. submitted information with its petition intended to demonstrate that non-U.S. certified 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series passenger cars, as originally manufactured for sale in Europe, conform to many Federal motor vehicle safety standards in the same manner as their U.S. certified counterparts, or are capable of being readily altered to conform to those standards.

Specifically, the petitioner claims that non-U.S. certified 1999 and 2001 BMW 3 Series passenger cars are identical to their U.S. certified counterparts with respect to compliance with Standard Nos. 102 Transmission Shift Lever Sequence. * * *, 103 Defrosting and Defogging Systems, 104 Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems, 105 Hydraulic Brake Systems, 106 Brake Hoses, 109 New Pneumatic Tires, 113 Hood Latch Systems, 116 Brake Fluid, 124 Accelerator Control Systems, 135 Passenger Car Brake Systems, 201 Occupant Protection in Interior Impact, 202 Head Restraints, 204 Steering Control Rearward Displacement, 205 Glazing Materials, 206 Door Locks and Door Retention Components, 207 Seating Systems, 209 Seat Belt Assemblies, 210 Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages, 212 Windshield Retention, 216 Roof Crush Resistance, 219 Windshield Zone Intrusion, 301 Fuel System Integrity, and 302 Flammability of Interior Materials.

With regard to compliance with the Bumper Standard found in 49 CFR part 581, the petitioner claims that the vehicles are equipped with bumpers and support structures identical to those used on U.S. certified models.

The petitioner also contends that the vehicles are capable of being readily altered to meet the following standards, in the manner indicated:

Standard No. 101 Controls and Displays: (a) Inscription of the word “brake” on the dash in place of the international ECE warning symbol; (b) replacement of the speedometer with a unit reading in miles per hour; (c) where necessary, replacement of the instrument cluster with a U.S.-model component, and reprogramming of the replacement unit to operate all necessary safety systems, such as chimes and warnings.

Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment: (a) Installation of U.S.-model headlamps and front sidemarker lamps, (b) installation of U.S.-model taillamp assemblies that incorporate rear sidemarker lamps, (c) installation of a U.S.-model high mounted stop lamp. The petitioner states that often only headlights and taillights need replacement for the vehicles to conform to the standard.

Standard No. 110 Tire Selection and Rims: Installation of a tire information placard.

Standard No. 111 Rearview Mirror: Replacement of the passenger side rearview mirror with a U.S.-model component, or inscription of the required warning statement on that mirror.

Standard No. 114 Theft Protection: Reprogramming of the vehicle to actuate the appropriate safety systems during conversion of the dash.

Standard No. 118 Power Window Systems: Alteration of the power window system to operate the required defeat device during reprogramming of the lights and dash. The petition states that most vehicles have the required defeat devices as standard equipment.

Standard No. 208 Occupant Crash Protection: (a) Petitioner states that the vehicles are equipped with a seat belt warning lamp that is identical to the component installed on U.S.-certified models, but that the audible warning buzzer must be programmed to meet the standard.; (b) inspection of all vehicles and replacement of the driver's and passenger's side air bags, knee bolsters, control units, sensors, and seat belts with U.S.-model components on vehicles that are not already so equipped. Petitioner states that the front and rear outboard designated seating positions have combination lap and shoulder belts that are self-tensioning and that release by means of a single red pushbutton.

Standard No. 214 Side Impact Protection: Inspection of all vehicles and installation of door bar on those not already so equipped. The petitioner states that the vehicles are equipped with side impact air bags and control systems that are identical to those installed on U.S.-certified models.

The petitioner states that all vehicles will be inspected for compliance with the parts marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard at 49 CFR part 541, and will be marked as necessary.

The petitioner also states that a vehicle identification plate must be affixed to the vehicles near the left windshield post and a reference and certification label must be affixed in the area of the left front door post to meet the requirements of 49 CFR part 565.

Interested persons are invited to submit comments on the petition described above. Comments should refer to the docket number and be submitted to: Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., SW., Washington, DC 20590. [Docket hours are from 9 am to 5 pm]. It is requested but not required that 10 copies be submitted.

All comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated above will be considered, and will be available for examination in the docket at the above address both before and after that date. To the extent possible, comments filed after the closing date will also be considered. Notice of final action on the petition will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A) and (b)(1); 49 CFR 593.8; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

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Issued on: April 1, 2002.

Marilynne Jacobs,

Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.

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[FR Doc. 02-8145 Filed 4-3-02; 8:45 am]

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