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Continental Tire North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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Continental Tire North America, Inc.,(Continental), has determined that certain passenger car tires manufactured between March of 2007 and June of 2009 did not fully comply with paragraphs S5.5(e) and S5.5(f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Continental has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Continental has petitioned for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

This notice of receipt of Continental's petition is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.

Affected are approximately 28,169 size 235/55R18 100V SL Continental brand CrossContact UHP model passenger car tires manufactured between March of 2007 and June of 2009 at Continental's plant located in Otrokovice, Czech Republic. A total of 8,858 of these tires have been delivered to Continental's customers. The remaining tires (approximately 19,311) are being held in Continental's possession until they can be correctly relabeled.

NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, these provisions only apply to the tires that have already passed from the manufacturer to an owner, purchaser, or dealer.

Paragraphs S5.5(e) and S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139 require in pertinent part:

S5.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in paragraphs (a) through (i) of S5.5, each tire must be marked on each sidewall with the information specified in S5.5(a) through (d) and on one sidewall with the information specified in S5.5(e) through (i) according to the phase-in schedule specified in S7 of this standard. The markings must be placed between the maximum section width and the bead on at least one sidewall, unless the maximum section width of the tire is located in an area that is not more than one-fourth of the distance from the bead to the shoulder of the tire. If the maximum section width falls within that area, those markings must appear between the bead and a point one-half the distance from the bead to the shoulder of the tire, on at least one sidewall. The markings must be in letters and numerals not less than 0.078 inches high and raised above or sunk below the tire surface not less than 0.015 inches * * *

(e) The generic name of each cord material used in the plies (both sidewall and tread area) of the tire;

(f) The actual number of plies in the sidewall, and the actual number of plies in the tread area, if different * * *

Continental explains that the noncompliance is that, due to a mold stamping anomaly, the sidewall marking on the tires incorrectly describes the actual generic name and number of the body plies. Specifically, the tires in question were inadvertently manufactured with “TREAD 6 PLIES: 2 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 2 NYLON; SIDEWALL 2 PLY POLYESTER.” The labeling should have been “TREAD 5 PLIES: 1 RAYON + 2 STEEL + 2 NYLON; SIDEWALL 1 PLY RAYON.” Continental states that all other sidewall identification markings and safety information are correct.

Continental states that it discovered the mold stamping problem that caused the non-compliance during a specification change.

Continental argues that this non-compliant sidewall marking is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety as it “does not affect the safety, performance and durability of the tire; the tires were built as designed.” In addition, Continental states that the tires comply with all other NHTSA requirements.

Continental said that it performs ongoing compliance testing “to assure tire performance” and that “all tires included in this petition will meet or exceed the performance requirements of FMVSS 139.” Continental further states that “there will be no operational impact on the performance or safety of vehicles on which these tires are mounted.”

Continental points out that NHTSA has previously granted similar petitions for non-compliances in sidewall marking.

Continental also stated that it has corrected the problem that caused these errors so that they will not be repeated in future production.

In summation, Continental states that it believes that because the noncompliances are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety that no corrective action is warranted.

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by any of the following methods:

a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 Start Printed Page 17831New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.

b. By hand delivery to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm except Federal Holidays.

c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at​. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to 1-202-493-2251.

Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to, including any personal information provided.

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.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register was published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).

You may view documents submitted to a docket at the address and times given above. You may also view the documents on the Internet at by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets available at that Web site.

The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

Dates: Comment closing date: May 7, 2010.

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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: April 1, 2010.

Claude H. Harris,

Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.

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[FR Doc. 2010-7870 Filed 4-6-10; 8:45 am]