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Petition for Exemption from the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Toyota

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Toyota Highlander

Petition for Exemption from the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Toyota

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
May 2, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 85 (Friday, May 2, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 25175-25176]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09995]



[[Page 25175]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption from the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard; Toyota

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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SUMMARY: This document grants in full the Toyota Motor North America, 
Inc.'s, (Toyota) petition for an exemption of the Toyota Highlander 
vehicle line in accordance with 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from Vehicle 
Theft Prevention Standard. 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 49 CFR Part 541, Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard (Theft Prevention Standard).

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the 2015 model year (MY).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Deborah Mazyck, International 
Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, W43-443, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Mazyck's phone number is 
(202) 366 4139. Her fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated December 12, 2013, 
Toyota requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of 
the Theft Prevention Standard for the Highlander vehicle line beginning 
with MY 2015. 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 the entire vehicle line.
    Under 49 CFR 543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant 
an exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, 
Toyota provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, 
design, and location of the components of the antitheft device for the 
Highlander vehicle line. Toyota stated that the MY 2015 Highlander 
vehicle line will be installed with an engine immobilizer device as 
standard equipment. Toyota further stated that its Highlander vehicle 
line will be equipped with either of the three entry systems, a ``smart 
entry and start system'', a ``conventional key'' entry system and a 
hybrid vehicle ``smart entry and start system'' for its hybrid vehicle 
(HV) model. Key components of the normal ``smart entry and start'' 
system will include an engine immobilizer, a certification electronic 
control unit (ECU), engine switch, steering lock ECU, security 
indicator, door control receiver, electrical key and an electronic 
control module (ECM). The ``conventional key'' system components 
consist of an engine immobilizer, transponder key ECU assembly, 
transponder key coil, security indicator, ignition key and an (ECM). 
Key components of the hybrid vehicle ``smart entry and start'' system 
will be an engine immobilizer, certification ECU, power switch, 
steering lock ECU, security indicator, door control receiver, 
electrical key, power source HV-ECU and an ECM. Toyota also stated that 
only the upper trim level Highlander models will be equipped with an 
audible and visual alarm and there will be position switches installed 
in the vehicle to protect its hood and doors from unauthorized entry. 
The position switches will trigger the alarm system when they sense 
inappropriate opening of the hood. The position switches in the doors 
will trigger the alarm system when an attempt is made to open any of 
the doors without the use of a key, a wireless switch or a smart entry 
system. Additionally, Toyota stated that all of the doors can be locked 
by using a key, a wireless switch or a smart entry system. Toyota's 
submission is considered a complete petition as required by 49 CFR 
543.7 in that it meets the general requirements contained in Sec.  
543.5 and the specific content requirements of Sec.  543.6.
    Toyota stated that its normal ``smart entry and start system''--
installed system allows the driver to press the engine switch button 
located on the instrument panel to start the vehicle. Once the driver 
pushes the engine switch button, the certification ECU verifies the 
electrical key. When the key is verified, the certification ECU and 
steering lock ECU receive confirmation of the valid key, and the 
certification ECU allows the ECM to start the engine. With the 
``conventional key' system, once the key is inserted into the key 
cylinder, the transponder chip in the key sends the key ID codes to the 
transponder key ECU assembly to verify the code. Once the code has been 
verified, the immobilizer will allow the ECM to start the engine. With 
the hybrid vehicle ``smart entry and start'' system, once the driver/
operator pushes the power switch button, the certification ECU verifies 
the key. Once the key is verified and the certification ECU and 
steering lock ECU receive confirmation of a valid key, the 
certification ECU will allow the ECM to start the vehicle.
    Toyota stated that with its normal ``smart entry and start 
system,'' the immobilizer is activated when the engine switch is pushed 
from the ``ON'' status to any other ignition status, the certification 
ECU performs the calculation of the immobilizer and then the 
immobilizer signals the ECM to activate the device. For the 
``conventional key'' system, activation of the immobilizer occurs when 
the ignition key is turned from the ``ON'' status to any other position 
and/or the key is removed. For the smart entry and start system for the 
HV models, the immobilizer is activated when the engine switch is 
pushed from the ``ON'' status to any other ignition status, the 
certification ECU performs the calculation of the immobilizer and then 
the immobilizer signals the Power Management ECU to activate the 
device. The device is deactivated in its ``smart key-installed 
systems'' when the doors are unlocked and the device recognizes the key 
code. Deactivation of the ``conventional key system'' occurs when the 
door is unlocked and the key is turned to the ``ON'' position. Toyota 
also stated that the devices' security indicator will provide the 
immobilizer status for its Highlander vehicle line. When the 
immobilizer is activated, the indicator flashes continuously. When the 
immobilizer is not activated, the indicator is turned off.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of Sec.  543.6, 
Toyota provided information on the reliability and durability of its 
proposed device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, 
Toyota conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Toyota 
provided a detailed list of the tests conducted (i.e., high and low 
temperature, strength, impact, vibration, electro-magnetic 
interference, etc.). Toyota stated that it believes that its device is 
reliable and durable because it complied with its own specific design 
standards and the antitheft device is installed on other vehicle lines 
for which the agency has granted a parts-marking exemption. Toyota 
stated that the antitheft device is already installed as standard 
equipment on its MY 2014 Highlander and has been on the Highlander HV 
model beginning with its MY 2008 vehicles. Toyota further stated that 
it plans to continue to install the device on its MY 2015 Highlander 
and HV vehicles. The theft rate for the Toyota Highlander vehicle line 
using an average of three model years' data (MYs

[[Page 25176]]

2009-2011) is 0.5669, well below the median theft rate of 3.5826. As an 
additional measure of reliability and durability, Toyota stated that 
its vehicle key cylinders are covered with casting cases to prevent the 
key cylinder from easily being broken. Toyota further stated that there 
are also so many key cylinder combinations and key plates for its 
gutter keys it would be very difficult to unlock the doors without 
using a valid key.
    Toyota also compared its proposed device to other devices NHTSA has 
determined to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle 
theft as would compliance with the parts-marking requirements (i.e., 
Toyota Prius and Prius v Toyota Camry and Corolla, Lexus LS and GS 
vehicle lines). The Toyota Camry, Corolla, Lexus LS and GS vehicle 
lines have all been granted parts-marking exemptions by the agency. The 
theft rates for the Toyota Camry, Corolla, Lexus LS, GS and Prius 
vehicle lines using an average of three model years' data (2009-2011) 
are 1.8415, 1.3295, 0.7258, 0.6315 and 0.2675 respectively. Therefore, 
Toyota has concluded that the antitheft device proposed for its 
Highlander vehicle line is no less effective than those devices in the 
lines for which NHTSA has already granted full exemption from the 
parts-marking requirements. Toyota believes that installing the 
immobilizer as standard equipment reduces the theft rate and expects 
the Highlander to experience comparable effectiveness ultimately being 
more effective than parts-marking labels.
    Based on the evidence submitted by Toyota, the agency believes that 
the antitheft device for the Highlander 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).
    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 Toyota has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Toyota Highlander 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 
Toyota provided about its device.
    The agency concludes that the device will provide four of the five 
types of performance listed in Sec.  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.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full 
Toyota's petition for exemption for the Toyota Highlander 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 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 Toyota decides not to use the exemption for this line, it should 
formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must 
be fully marked according to the requirements under 49 CFR 541.5 and 
541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if Toyota 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. Section 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 antitheft device on which the 
line's exemption is based. Further, section 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 
section 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.

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

Claude H. Harris,
Acting Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2014-09995 Filed 5-1-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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