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Notice

Daimler Vans USA, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Receipt of petition.

SUMMARY:

Daimler Vans USA, LLC, (Daimler Vans) on behalf of Daimler AG (DAG) has determined that certain model year (MY) 2016-2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris vans do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims and Motor Home/Recreation Vehicle Trailer Load Carrying Capacity Information for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or Less. Daimler Vans filed a noncompliance report dated October 24, 2018, and later amended it on November 9, 2018. Daimler Vans also petitioned NHTSA on November 9, 2018, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces receipt of the Daimler Vans petition.

DATES:

The closing date for comments on the petition is October 16, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

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

  • Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
  • Hand Delivery: Deliver comments by hand to the 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 for Federal Holidays.
  • Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/​. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Comments may also be faxed to (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 comments you have submitted by mail were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

All comments and supporting materials received before the close of business on the closing date indicated above will be filed in the docket and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the fullest extent possible.

When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will also be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated at the end of this notice.

All comments, background documentation, and supporting materials submitted to the docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets. The docket ID number for this petition is shown in the heading of this notice.

DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in a Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).

End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview: Daimler Vans has determined that certain MY 2016-2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris vans do not fully comply with FMVSS No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims and Motor Home/Recreation Vehicle Trailer Load Carrying Capacity Information for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or Less (49 CFR 571.110). Daimler Vans filed a noncompliance report dated October 24, 2018, and later amended it on November 9, 2018, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Start Printed Page 48703Responsibility and Reports. Daimler Vans also petitioned NHTSA on November 9, 2018, for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance.

This notice of receipt, of the Daimler Vans petition, is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or other exercises of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.

II. Vehicles Involved: Approximately 24,438 MY 2016-2018 Mercedes Benz-Metris vans, manufactured between June 1, 2016, and September 28, 2018, are potentially involved.

III. Noncompliance: The purpose of FMVSS No. 110 is to ensure that each vehicle is equipped with tires and rims that are appropriate to carry up to the maximum weight of the vehicle in order to prevent vehicle overloading. Manufacturers are permitted to install passenger car tires on an MPV, truck, bus or trailer. However, when passenger car tires are used in one of these other light vehicle applications, paragraph S4.2.2.2 of FMVSS No. 110, provides that each tire's maximum load rating is to be divided by 1.10 before the manufacturer determines the maximum load ratings of the tires fitted to each axle. Specifically, the subject vehicles were certified with a maximum load rating of 775 kg (1708 pounds) per tire or 1,550 kg (3417 pounds) combined per axle, however, after dividing the maximum load rating by 1.10, the tires on the subject vehicles have a maximum load rating of 750 kg (1653 pounds) per tire and 1500 kg (3307 pounds) per axle—values below the GAWR for the front and rear axles.

IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S4.2.2.2 of FMVSS No. 110 includes the requirement relevant to this petition. When passenger car tires are installed on an MPV, truck, bus, or trailer, each tire's load rating is reduced by dividing it by 1.10 before determining, under paragraph S4.2.2.1, the sum of the maximum load ratings of the tires fitted to an axle.

V. Summary of Petition: Daimler Vans described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.

In support of its petition, Daimler Vans USA, LLC submitted the following reasoning:

1. There is no safety risk posed with this noncompliance because the tires are designed to carry significantly more than the GAWR listed on the certification label.

2. The Metris vans also have installed the same tire size as the Metris vans sold in Europe that have the same axle weight ratings and those vehicles have performed without incident for years.

3. Despite the discrepancy in calculating the maximum load rating, the Metris vans are more than able to accommodate additional weight loaded onto the vehicle. Per the specifications provided by the tire supplier, based on the tire's load index rating of 101, each tire, in fact, has a maximum load rating of 825 kg (1,818 pounds) per tire and a combined maximum load rating of 1,650 kg (3,637 pounds) per axle. Thus, the tires were designed and manufactured to safely and effectively manage weights that are well beyond the GAWR for each axle.

4. The GAWR listed on the vehicle certification label is accurate so that a consumer relying on and following the values for the front and rear GAWR, for purposes of vehicle loading, would not be at risk of overloading the axles.

5. The tires on the Metris vans have a payload reserve of 6.5 percent at a load of 1,550 kg per axle, which is slightly below the payload reserve of 10 percent specified by FMVSS No. 110. Moreover, the tire pressure specified for each tire on the Metris Van is at least 11% higher (tire pressure reserve) then the ETRTO recommended tire pressure. This tire pressure reserve reduces the stress on the tire, due to reduced deflection of the tire under load.

6. Further, the Metris vans are equipped with a standard tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that is compliant with FMVSS No. 138. Depending on the severity of the loss of tire pressure, the Metris vans display one of three specialized TPMS warnings in the instrument panel advising the operator of the loss of pressure and how quickly the operator should take corrective action. If the tires were to experience a loss of tire pressure, the driver would be alerted to this condition and could take appropriate measures. Thus, if there were to be a loss of tire pressure, consistent with the standard, the TPMS system would warn the operator.

7. After identifying the discrepancy in the values listed on the tire and loading information placard, DAG reviewed what, if any, impact there could be on various vehicle systems that could potentially be affected by the discrepancy. This review considered the effect on steering, breaking, axle strength, and crashworthiness if the operator loaded the vehicle to the maximum amount listed on the tire and loading information placard. As a result of the review, DAG was able to confirm that the discrepancy will not adversely impact any of these systems or otherwise diminish the performance or crashworthiness of the Metris vans.

8. DAG is not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of accidents or injuries related to overloading the vehicles that could reasonably be related to not derating the reinforced passenger car tires prior to certification. In addition, Metris vans sold in Europe are equipped with tires that are the same size and the vehicles have the same axle weight ratings. The European vehicles have similarly performed without incident.

9. The agency has previously granted petitions for inconsequential noncompliance involving similar inconsistencies involving tire maximum load ratings. In 2017, the agency granted a petition for inconsequential noncompliance where a manufacturer had incorrectly overstated the maximum occupant and cargo weight on the tire and loading information placard, by a total of 30 kg. Although on its face, this discrepancy would have appeared to have led consumers to potentially overload the vehicle, the agency concluded that when the vehicle was loaded to the value listed on the placard, the specific tires installed on the vehicles were nonetheless technically capable of handling the overstated weight and cargo. In this instance, for one vehicle variation, the maximum loads were below the GAWR and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and for another vehicle variation, the maximum loads were “essentially at the certified GAWR and GVWR values.” The agency concluded that the tires were “more than adequate” to manage the additional vehicle and cargo weight and that the vehicles could safely manage the additional weight without overload concerns. See 82 FR 33547 (July 20, 2017) (grant of petition for inconsequential noncompliance by Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC).

10. The noncompliance at issue here is similar to the above petition. In this case, there is also little concern of vehicle overloading because the specifications for the tires installed on the Metris vans are technically capable of managing the additional weight even without the reinforced passenger car tires having been derated.

Daimler Vans concluded by expressing the belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the Start Printed Page 48704noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.

The Daimler Vans complete petition and all supporting documents are available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov and following the online search instructions to locate the docket number listed in the title of this notice.

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, any decision on this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that Daimler Vans no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after Daimler Vans notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.

End Authority Start Signature

Otto G. Matheke III,

Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-19918 Filed 9-13-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P