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General Motors Corporation, Mootness of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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General Motors Corporation (GM) has determined that certain 2004 model year Saab 9-3 Sport Sedans and Convertibles do not comply with S4.2(b) of 49 CFR 571.114, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 114, “Theft protection.” Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h), GM has petitioned for a determination that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, “Defect and Noncompliance Reports.” Notice of receipt of a petition was published, with a 30-day comment period, on July 14, 2004, in the Federal Register (69 FR 42240). NHTSA received one comment.

Out of a population of approximately 4032 model year 2004 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedans and Convertibles equipped with a manual transmission, approximately 11 are affected. S4.2(b) of FMVSS No. 114 requires that “[e]ach vehicle shall have a key-locking system which, whenever the key is removed, prevents either steering or forward self-mobility of the vehicle or both.” The affected vehicles were produced with an ignition key locking system that contains a center spring plate switch that can bind in the closed position. This switch communicates to certain vehicle systems that the ignition key has been inserted or removed. When this switch binds in the closed position, certain systems will read that the ignition key is still in the ignition switch, even after ignition key removal. One of the systems using the input from this switch is the electronic steering column lock to meet the S4.2 requirement of FMVSS No. 114. If a vehicle has the aforementioned condition, the steering column will not lock upon ignition key removal.

However, all Saab 9-3 vehicles are equipped with an electronic engine immobilizer system that prevents engine operation in the absence of the vehicle's ignition key from the ignition switch module. The immobilizer remains fully operational on vehicles with the aforementioned condition present. Although a vehicle could be steered with this condition, the engine could not be started, even through hot-wiring or other vehicle manipulation. The one comment to the Federal Register notice was from a private individual and did not address the specific issue concerning S4.2(b).

NHTSA has determined that the vehicles in question are in compliance with the requirements of S4.2(b) because the electronic engine immobilizer system prevents vehicle forward self-mobility when the key is not in the ignition switch module. Therefore, this petition is moot.

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

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Issued on: October 20, 2004.

Kenneth N. Weinstein,

Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 04-23874 Filed 10-25-04; 8:45 am]