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Notice

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

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Continental Tire North America, Inc., (Continental),[1] has determined that certain passenger car replacement tires manufactured in 2009 do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5(b) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (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, dated August 10, 2010.

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 17,121 size 235/45ZR17 94W Continental brand Extremecontact DWS model passenger car tires manufactured from March 2009 Start Printed Page 73160to October 2009 at Continental's plant located in Camaçari- BA, Brasil. A total of approximately 16,325 of these tires have been delivered to Continental's customers in the United States and Canada.

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 16,325 [2] tires that have already passed from the manufacturer to an owner, purchaser, or dealer.

Paragraph S5.5(b) of FMVSS No. 139 requires 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* * *

(b) The tire size designation as listed in the documents and publications specified in S4.1.1 of this standard;

Continental explains that the noncompliance is that, due to a mold labeling error, the sidewall marking on the reference side of the tires incorrectly identifies the tire size code as “658R 3VR” when in fact it should be identified as “658P 3VR” in the tread area of the tires as required by paragraph S5.5(b).

Continental also explains that while the non-compliant tires are mislabeled, all of the tires included in this petition meet or exceed the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 139.

Continental argues that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because the noncompliant sidewall marking does not create an unsafe condition and all other labeling requirements have been met.

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

Continental additionally states that it has corrected the affected tire molds and all future production will have the correct material shown on the sidewall.

In summation, Continental believes that the described noncompliance of its tires to meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 139 is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt from providing recall notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.

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.

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 New 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 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal Holidays.

c. Electronically: By logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/​. 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 http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).

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.

Comment closing date: December 29, 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: November 19, 2010.

Claude H. Harris,

Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

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Footnotes

1.  Continental Tire North America, Inc. (Continental) is a replacement equipment manufacturer and importer that is incorporated in the State of Ohio.

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2.  Continental's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, requests an agency decision to exempt Continental as a replacement equipment manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 CFR Part 573 for the 16,325 tires that were delivered to its customers in the United States. However, the agency cannot relieve Continental distributors of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant tires under their control after Continental recognized that the subject noncompliance existed. Those tires must be brought into conformance, exported, or destroyed. In addition, any of the affected tires that Continental has not delivered to its customers must be brought into compliance, exported or destroyed.

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[FR Doc. 2010-29879 Filed 11-26-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P