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Notice

Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 1979-1980 Volkswagen Transporter Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles 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 1979-1980 Volkswagen Transporter multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs) are eligible for importation.

SUMMARY:

This document announces receipt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a petition for a decision that 1979-1980 Volkswagen Transporter MPVs 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 January 21, 2004.

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]. 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 Start Printed Page 71222comment (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 of the same model year that was originally manufactured for importation into and sale in the United States and certified under 49 U.S.C. § 30115, and that the vehicle 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.

Eurotech Imports of South Burlington, Vermont (“Eurotech”) (Registered Importer 02-313) has petitioned NHTSA to decide whether 1979-1980 Volkswagen Transporter MPVs are eligible for importation into the United States. The vehicles that Eurotech believes are substantially similar are 1979-1980 Volkswagen Vanagon MPVs 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 1979-1980 Volkswagen Transporter MPVs 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.

Eurotech submitted information with its petition intended to demonstrate that non-U.S. certified 1979-1980 Volkswagen Transporter MPVs, 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 1979-1980 Volkswagen Transporter MPVs 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 and Electric Brake Systems, 106 Brake Hoses, 113 Hood Latch Systems, 116 Brake Fluid, 119 New Pneumatic Tires for Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars, 124 Accelerator Control Systems, 201 Occupant Protection in Interior Impact, 204 Steering Control Rearward Displacement, 205 Glazing Materials, 206 Door Locks and Door Retention Components, 207 Seating Systems, 208 Occupant Crash Protection, 209 Seat Belt Assemblies, 210 Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages, 212 Windshield Retention, 216 Roof Crush Resistance, 219 Windshield Zone Intrusion, and 302 Flammability of Interior Materials.

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) Substitution of the word “Brake” for the ECE warning symbol as a marking for the brake failure indicator lamp; (b) installation of a seat belt warning lamp that displays the appropriate seat belt symbol; (c) recalibration of the speedometer/odometer to show speed in miles per hour and distance traveled in miles.

Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment: (a) Installation of U.S.-model headlamp assemblies that incorporate headlamps certified to DOT requirements; (b) installation of U.S.-model front and rear sidemarker/reflector assemblies; (c) installation of U.S.-model taillamp assemblies.

Standard No. 111 Rearview Mirror: Replacement of the passenger side rearview mirror with a U.S.-model component.

Standard No. 114 Theft Protection: Installation of a warning buzzer microswitch in the steering lock assembly and a warning buzzer.

Standard No. 118 Power Window Systems: Rewiring of the power window system so that the window transport is inoperative when the ignition is switched off.

Standard No. 120 Tire Selection and Rims for Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars: Installation of a tire information placard.

Standard No. 301 Fuel System Integrity: Installation of a rollover valve in the fuel tank vent line.

Petitioner states that a vehicle identification number (VIN) plate must be affixed to the vehicles so that it is readable from outside the driver's windshield pillar, and a reference and certification label must be affixed to the edge of the driver's side door or to the latch post nearest the driver 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: December 17, 2003.

Kenneth N. Weinstein,

Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 03-31420 Filed 12-19-03; 8:45 am]

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