Skip to Content

Notice

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Grant of petition for exemption.

SUMMARY:

This document grants in full the petition of Ford Motor Company (Ford) in accordance with § 543.9(c)(2) of 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from the Theft Prevention Standard, for the Ford Escape vehicle line beginning with model year (MY) 2009. This petition is granted because the agency has determined that the antitheft device to be placed on the line as standard equipment is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard.

DATES:

The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with model year (MY) 2009.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Deborah Mazyck, Office of International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Mazyck's telephone number is (202) 366-0846. Her fax number is (202) 493-2290.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In a petition dated February 8, 2008, Ford requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541) for the Ford Escape vehicle line beginning with MY 2009. The petition requested an exemption from parts-marking pursuant to 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard, based on the installation of an antitheft device as standard equipment for an entire vehicle line.

Under § 543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant exemptions for one of its vehicle lines per year. Ford has petitioned the agency to grant an exemption for its Ford Escape vehicle line beginning with MY 2009. In its petition, Ford provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft device for the Ford Escape vehicle line. Ford will install its passive antitheft device as standard equipment on the vehicle line. Features of the antitheft device will include an electronic key, ignition lock, and a passive immobilizer. Ford's submission is considered a complete petition as required by 49 CFR 543.7, in that it meets the general requirements contained in § 543.5 and the specific content requirements of § 543.6.

The antitheft device to be installed on the MY 2009 Ford Escape is the SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft Electronic Engine Immobilizer System (SecuriLock). The Ford SecuriLock is a transponder-based electronic immobilizer system. Ford stated that the integration of the transponder into the normal operation of the ignition key assures activation of the system. When the ignition key is turned to the start position, the transceiver module reads the ignition key code and transmits an encrypted message to the cluster. Validation of the key is determined and start of the engine is authorized once a separate encrypted message is sent to the powertrain's control module (PCM). The powertrain will function only if the key code matches the unique identification key code previously programmed into the PCM. If the codes do not match, the powertrain engine starter will be disabled. Ford also stated that the SecuriLock electronic engine immobilizer device makes conventional theft methods such as hot-wiring or attacking the ignition lock cylinder ineffective and virtually eliminates drive-away thefts. Start Printed Page 21174

The agency's theft rate data is not available for calendar year/model year (CY/MY) 2007 and 2008. Ford stated that since the introduction of the Ford Escape in MY 2001, it has been equipped with the SecuriLock system (except the 2005 Escape Hybrid). Ford also provided theft rate data for the MY 2001 through 2005 Ford Escape vehicle line. The chart illustrates that the reported theft rate for the Escape is significantly below the agency's median theft rate of 3.5826 for all vehicles in each calendar year/model year. Ford stated that it believes that the exceptional low theft rate of 1.0342 for CY/MY 2005 is likely to continue or improve in future years.

Additionally, Ford noted the reduction in theft rate for other vehicle lines equipped with the SecuriLock device. Ford's SecuriLock device was first introduced as standard equipment on its MY 1996 Mustang GT and Cobra. In MY 1997, the SecuriLock system was installed on the entire Mustang vehicle line as standard equipment. Ford stated that the 1997 model year Mustang with SecuriLock shows a 70% reduction in theft compared to the MY 1995 Mustang, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) theft statistics. There were 149 reported thefts for 1997 compared to 500 reported thefts in 1995.

In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, Ford provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, Ford conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Ford also provided a detailed list of the tests conducted and believes that the device is reliable and durable since the device complied with its specified requirements for each test.

The agency also notes that the device will provide four of the five types of performance listed in § 543.6(a)(3): promoting activation; preventing defeat or circumvention of the device by unauthorized persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by unauthorized entrants; and ensuring the reliability and durability of the device.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR 543.7(b), the agency grants a petition for exemption from the parts-marking requirements of part 541 either in whole or in part, if it determines that, based upon substantial evidence, the standard equipment antitheft device is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts marking requirements of part 541. The agency finds that Ford has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the antitheft device for the Ford Escape vehicle line is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541). This conclusion is based on the information Ford provided about its device.

For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full Ford's petition for exemption for the Escape vehicle line from the parts-marking requirements of 49 CFR Part 541. The agency notes that 49 CFR Part 541, Appendix A-1, identifies those lines that are exempted from the Theft Prevention Standard for a given model year. 49 CFR Part 543.7(f) contains publication requirements incident to the disposition of all Part 543 petitions. Advanced listing, including the release of future product nameplates, the beginning model year for which the petition is granted and a general description of the antitheft device is necessary in order to notify law enforcement agencies of new vehicle lines exempted from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard.

If Ford decides not to use the exemption for this line, it must formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must be fully marked according to the requirements under 49 CFR Parts 541.5 and 541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts).

NHTSA notes that if Ford wishes in the future to modify the device on which this exemption is based, the company may have to submit a petition to modify the exemption.

Part 543.7(d) states that a Part 543 exemption applies only to vehicles that belong to a line exempted under this part and equipped with the anti-theft device on which the line's exemption is based. Further, Part 543.9(c)(2) provides for the submission of petitions “to modify an exemption to permit the use of an antitheft device similar to but differing from the one specified in that exemption.”

The agency wishes to minimize the administrative burden that Part 543.9(c)(2) could place on exempted vehicle manufacturers and itself. The agency did not intend in drafting Part 543 to require the submission of a modification petition for every change to the components or design of an antitheft device. The significance of many such changes could be de minimis. Therefore, NHTSA suggests that if the manufacturer contemplates making any changes, the effects of which might be characterized as de minimis, it should consult the agency before preparing and submitting a petition to modify.

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 33106; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

End Authority Start Signature

Issued on: April 15, 2008.

Stephen R. Kratzke,

Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E8-8479 Filed 4-17-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P