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Notice

Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 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 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 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 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 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 December 15, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should refer to the docket number and notice number, and be submitted to: Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Start Printed Page 64679Seventh St. SW., Washington, DC 20590. Docket hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Coleman Sachs, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, NHTSA (202) 366-3151.

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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.

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.

Sunshine Car Import L.C. of Cape Coral, Florida (“SCI”) (Registered Importer 01-289) has petitioned NHTSA to decide whether 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 passenger cars are eligible for importation into the United States. The vehicles which SCI believes are substantially similar are 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 passenger cars that were manufactured for importation into, and sale in, the United States and certified by their manufacturer as conforming to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.

The petitioner claims that it carefully compared non-U.S. certified 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 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.

SCI submitted information with its petition intended to demonstrate that non-U.S. certified 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 passenger cars, as originally manufactured, 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 2002-2003 Mercedes Benz E-320 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, 105 Hydraulic Brake Systems, 106 Brake Hoses, 109 New Pneumatic Tires, 113 Hood Latch Systems, 116 Brake Fluid, 124 Accelerator Control Systems, 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, 216 Roof Crush Resistance, 219 Windshield Zone Intrusion, and 302 Flammability of Interior Materials.

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 instrument cluster in place of the international ECE warning symbol; (b) replacement or conversion of the speedometer to read in miles per hours.

Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment: inspection of all vehicles and installation of U.S.-model headlamps, tail lamps, side markers, and high mounted stop lamps on vehicles that are not already so equipped.

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 the mirror's face.

Standard No. 114 Theft Protection: reprogramming of the instrument cluster software to activate the key warning buzzer.

Standard No. 118 Power Window Systems: inspection of all vehicles and installation, in vehicles that are not already so equipped, of a relay in the power window system so that the window transport will not operate with the ignition switched off.

Standard No. 201 Occupant Protection in Interior Impact: inspection of all vehicles and replacement of all parts necessary to achieve compliance with the standard with U.S.-model components on vehicles that are not already so equipped.

Standard No. 208 Occupant Crash Protection: (a) Reprogramming of the instrument cluster software to activate the seat belt warning buzzer; (b) inspection of all vehicles and replacement of the driver's and passenger's air bags, control units, sensors, and seat belts with U.S.-model components on vehicles that are not already so equipped. The petitioner states that the vehicles should be equipped at the front and rear outboard seating positions with combination lap and shoulder belts that are self-tensioning and that release by means of a single red pushbutton and with a lap belt at the rear center seating position. The petitioner further states that the vehicles are equipped with a seat belt warning lamp that is identical to the lamp installed on U.S.-certified models.

Standard No. 214 Side Impact Protection: inspection of all vehicles to ensure that they are equipped with door beams identical to those in the U.S. certified model and installation of those components on vehicles that are not already so equipped.

Standard No. 301 Fuel System Integrity: inspection of all vehicles to ensure that they are equipped with components necessary to achieve compliance with the standard that are identical to the components installed on the vehicles' U.S.-certified counterparts.

Standard No. 401 Interior Trunk Release: installation of an emergency trunk lid release.

The petitioner states that all vehicles must be inspected for compliance with the Bumper Standard found in 49 CFR part 581 and that U.S.-model components necessary to achieve compliance with the standard must be installed on vehicles not already so equipped.

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 Start Printed Page 64680described 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 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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: November 10, 2003.

Kenneth N. Weinstein,

Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 03-28525 Filed 11-13-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P