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Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 1998 Lexus GS300 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 1998 Lexus GS300 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 1998 Lexus GS300 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 16, 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 Start Printed Page 67210comment (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 (“SCI”) of Ft. Myers, Florida, (Registered Importer 01-289) has petitioned NHTSA to decide whether nonconforming 1998 Lexus GS300 passenger cars are eligible for importation into the United States. The vehicles which SCI believes are substantially similar are 1998 Lexus GS300 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 1998 Lexus GS300 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 1998 Lexus GS300 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 1998 Lexus GS300 passenger cars are identical to their U.S. certified counterparts with respect to compliance with Standard Nos. 102 Transmission Shift Lever Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect, 103 Windshield Defrosting and Defogging Systems, 104 Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems, 105, Hydraulic and Electric Brake Systems, 106 Brake Hoses,109 New Pneumatic Tires, 113 Hood Latch System, 116 Motor Vehicle Brake Fluids, 124 Accelerator Control 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 Mounting, 216 Roof Crush Resistance, 219 Windshield Zone Intrusion, 301 Fuel System Integrity, 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, and (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 replacement of any non-U.S. model components required to meet the requirements of this standard with U.S.-model components.

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

Standard No. 111 Rearview Mirrors: Installation of a U.S.-model passenger side rearview mirror, or inscription of the required warning statement on the face of that mirror.

Standard No. 114 Theft Protection: Installation of a supplemental key warning buzzer system to meet the requirements of this standard.

Standard No. 118 Power-Operated Window, Partition, and Roof Panel Systems: Inspection of all vehicles and installation, on vehicles that do not already meet the requirements of the standard, of a supplemental relay system to meet the requirements of the standard.

Standard No. 208 Occupant Crash Protection: (a) Installation of U.S. version software to ensure that the seat belt warning system meets the requirements of this standard, (b) installation of U.S.-model driver's side airbag and front seat belts, and (C) inspection of all vehicles and replacement of any non-U.S.-model components necessary for conformity with this standard with U.S.-model components.

Petitioner states that the restraint systems used in the vehicles include airbags and knee bolsters at the front outboard seating positions as well as combination lap and shoulder belts at the front and rear designated seating positions. These seat belt systems are self-tensioning and release by means of a single red pushbutton.

Standard No. 214 Side Impact Protection: Inspection of all vehicles and replacement of any non-U.S.-model components necessary for conformity with this standard with U.S.-model components.

The petitioner also states that all vehicles will be inspected prior to importation to assure compliance with the Theft Prevention Standard at 49 CFR part 541, and that vehicles will be modified, if necessary, to comply with that standard.

The petitioner additionally states that a vehicle identification plate must be affixed to the vehicles near the left windshield 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 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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Start Printed Page 67211 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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Claude H. Harris,

Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.

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[FR Doc. 04-25426 Filed 11-15-04; 8:45 am]

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