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Rover Group Ltd.; Grant of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Range Rover

Rover Group Ltd.; Grant of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Barry Felrice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 15, 1994


[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 50 (Tuesday, March 15, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-5917]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: March 15, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
[Docket No. 93-82; Notice 2]

 

Rover Group Ltd.; Grant of Petition for Determination of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Rover Group Ltd. (Rover) of Lanham, Maryland, determined that some 
of its spare wheels fail to comply with 49 CFR 571.120, ``Tire 
Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars,'' 
(Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 120), and filed an 
appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573 ``Defect and 
Noncompliance Reports.'' Rover also petitioned to be exempted from the 
notification and remedy requirements of the National Traffic and Motor 
Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.) on the basis that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published on November 4, 
1993, and an opportunity afforded for comment (58 FR 59780). This 
notice grants the petition.
    Paragraph S5.2 of FMVSS No. 120 requires that each rim shall be 
marked with the following:
    (a) A designation which indicates the source of the rim's published 
nominal dimensions * * *.
    (b) The rim size designation * * *.
    (c) The symbol DOT, constituting a certification by the 
manufacturer of the rim that the rim complies with all applicable motor 
vehicle safety standards.
    (d) A designation that identifies the manufacturer of the rim by 
name, trademark, or symbol.
    (e) The month, day, and year, or the month and year, of 
manufacture, expressed in numerals.
    Between March 8, 1993 and July 9, 1993, Rover produced 1,703 model 
year 1993 Range Rover County and County LWB vehicles with spare wheels 
that do not comply with Paragraph S5.2 of FMVSS No. 120. In addition, 
approximately 39 noncompliant replacement wheels were manufactured that 
may have entered the U.S. parts distribution system with the same 
noncompliance.
    The rims on the subject wheels may be lacking the designation that 
indicates the source of the rim's published nominal dimensions 
(S5.2(a)), the ``DOT'' certification (S5.2(c)), and wholly numerical 
date code (S5.2(e)).
    Rover cites the following reasons for requesting an exemption from 
the notification and remedy requirements:

    A. The tire and rim of the affected spare wheels are properly 
matched, and are appropriate for the load-carrying characteristics 
of these vehicles. The lack of complete rim marking has no effect on 
the performance of the tire/rim combination.
    B. The alloy wheels attached to the vehicles contain all of the 
FMVSS No. 120 required information. As these alloy wheels are the 
same size as the steel spare wheel, they should provide an adequate 
reference for any required information required by the owner/
operator/mechanic.
    C. The persons who change tires rely primarily on the 
information marked on the sidewalls of the tires being removed. 
Under this circumstance, the most likely source of information to be 
consulted on the wheel is the wheel size, which is included on the 
subject steel wheels.
    D. The vehicle owner's manual references the proper wheel and 
tire size, and wheel/tire information appears on the certification 
label fitted to the edge of the driver's door. (Certain of these 
vehicles built before May 22, 1993 are also the subject of a July 2, 
1993 Part 573 Report, and subsequent recall campaign.)
    E. The subject spare wheels include a date code that can be 
decoded by Rover Group and the wheel manufacturer, Dunlop, which 
companies, in accordance with a 49 CFR 571.120 S5.2(d), may be 
contacted should there be any confusion about the source of the 
published nominal dimensions of the wheel or its certification 
status.
    F. NHTSA has long maintained the policy that the omission of the 
certification (DOT) symbol is not the type of non-compliance 
requiring notification and remedy.
* * * * *
    Rover believes that the safety goals of FMVSS 120 have been 
achieved by means of the wheel size (the information most often 
referenced by service personnel) being marked on the steel spare 
wheel and all required information being provided to the vehicle 
operator or service personnel (1) on the four alloy wheels installed 
on the vehicle axles, (2) the vehicle owner's manual and (3) the 
certification label fitted to the edge of the driver's door. 
Therefore, we submit that the failure to provide a wholly numerical 
date code, ``DOT'' certification mark and the source of the rim's 
published nominal dimensions on the subject spare wheels is 
inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.

    No comments were received on the petition.
    There are two rim marking failures here of the spare wheel that 
NHTSA regards as constituting a noncompliance with FMVSS NO. 120. The 
first is the failure to designate a source of the rim's published 
nominal dimensions. The petitioner argued that this failure is 
inconsequential because the required information is on the four wheels 
that are attached to the vehicle, in the operator's manual, and on the 
certification label fitted to the driver's door. NHTSA believes that 
the availability of this information in three other locations affords 
sufficient reference if the information is needed.
    The second failure is to provide a wholly numerical date code. The 
petitioner points out that the date code that is provided can be 
decoded by the petitioner and the wheel manufacturer. The agency agrees 
that the information that is provided is sufficient to identify the 
wheel rims in question should the need arise.
    Finally, the failure to mark the rims with the symbol ``DOT'' is 
not a failure to comply with FMVSS No. 120 of a nature that the company 
would be required to institute a notification and remedy campaign were 
it the only failure that had occurred. This is a simple failure to 
certify compliance of the rim with all applicable Federal motor vehicle 
safety standards. This does not raise a safety issue in the context of 
this petition because the petitioner has stated that the rim, in fact, 
meets all performance requirements of FMVSS No. 120.
    For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby found that the petitioner 
has met its burden of persuasion that the noncompliance herein 
described is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and 
its petition is granted.

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1417; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50.

    Issued on: March 9, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-5917 Filed 3-14-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-M

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