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Notice

Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision that Nonconforming 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) 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 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) 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 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) 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 February 17, 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 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.

Automobile Concepts, Inc. of North Miami, Florida (“AMC”) (Registered Importer 01-278) has petitioned NHTSA to decide whether 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) passenger cars are eligible for importation into the United States. The vehicles which AMC believes are substantially similar are 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) 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 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) 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.

AMC submitted information with its petition intended to demonstrate that non-U.S. certified 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) 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 2003-2004 Mercedes Benz E Class (211) 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, 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, 212 Windshield Retention, 214 Side Impact Protection, 216 Roof Crush Resistance, 219 Windshield Zone Intrusion, 225 Child Restraint Anchorage Systems, and 302 Flammability of Interior Materials.

In addition, the petitioner claims that the vehicles comply with the Bumper Standard found in 49 CFR part 581.

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) modification of the speedometer to read in miles per hour by downloading U.S. version information, or replacement of the speedometer with one that reads in miles per hour.

Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment: Installation of U.S.-model headlamps, tail lamps, and front and rear sidemarkers.

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

Standard No. 111 Rearview Mirror: Inscription of the required warning statement on the passenger side rearview mirror's face.

Standard No. 114 Theft Protection: Reprogramming of the vehicle's computer to activate the key warning system.

Standard No. 118 Power Window Systems: Reprogramming of the vehicle's computer so that the power windows will not operate with the ignition switched off.

Standard No. 208 Occupant Crash Protection: (a) Activation of the seat belt warning buzzer by reprogramming the vehicle's instrument cluster; (b) inspection of all vehicles and Start Printed Page 2385replacement of the driver's and passenger's air bags and knee bolsters, and all seat belts with U.S.-model components on vehicles that are not already so equipped. Petitioner states that the vehicles should be equipped in 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.

Standard No. 209 Seat Belt Assemblies: Inspection of all vehicles and replacement of any noncompliant seat belts with U.S.-model components.

Standard No. 210 Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages: Inspection of all vehicles and replacement of any noncompliant seat belt anchorages with U.S.-model components.

Standard No. 301 Fuel System Integrity: Replacement of all non-U.S. model fuel system components with U.S.-model components.

Standard No. 401 Interior Trunk Release: Installation of a U.S.-model switch that will enable the trunk lid to be released from inside the trunk.

The petitioner states that all vehicles must be inspected to ensure that they are equipped with an anti-theft device that meets the requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard found in 49 CFR part 541, and that such devices will be installed in any vehicles that are not already so equipped.

The petitioner also states that a vehicle identification number 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. In addition, the petitioner states that a certification label must be affixed to the driver's doorjamb to meet the requirements of 49 CFR part 567.

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 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: January 12, 2004.

Kenneth N. Weinstein,

Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 04-925 Filed 1-14-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P