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BMW of North America, LLC, a Subsidiary of BMW AG, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mini Cooper

BMW of North America, LLC, a Subsidiary of BMW AG, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
June 27, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 124 (Thursday, June 27, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38799-38800]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15464]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0116; Notice 2]


BMW of North America, LLC, a Subsidiary of BMW AG, Grant of 
Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Grant of Petition.

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SUMMARY: BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) \1\, a subsidiary of BMW AG 
\2\, Munich, Germany, has determined that certain model year (MY) 2012 
MINI Cooper Countryman passenger cars with optional three passenger 
rear seating and manufactured between August 1, 2011 and May 23, 2012, 
do not fully comply with paragraph S4.3 (b) of 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. 
BMW has filed an appropriate report dated June 1, 2012, pursuant to 49 
CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ BMW of North America, LLC is a U.S. company that 
manufactures and imports motor vehicles.
    \2\ BMW AG is a German company that manufactures motor vehicles.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, BMW 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. Notice of receipt of the 
petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on 
September 13, 2012 in the Federal Register (77 FR 56700). No comments 
were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to 
locate docket number ``NHTSA-2012-0116.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this 
decision contact Ms. Amina Fisher, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, 
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone 
(202) 366-5307.
    Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 5,700 MY 2012 MINI 
Cooper Countryman passenger vehicles with optional three passenger rear 
seating manufactured between August 1, 2011 and May 23, 2012.
    Summary of BMW'S Analyses: BMW explains that the noncompliance is 
that the vehicle placard on the affected vehicles incorrectly 
identifies the rear designated seating capacity as ``2'' when in fact 
it should be ``3,'' and the total designated seating capacity as ``4'' 
when in fact it should be ``5.''
    BMW states that while the vehicle placard incorrectly identifies 
the vehicle seating capacity, this noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    1. It would become clear to a vehicle owner that the rear seat of 
an affected vehicle contains three sets of seat belts, provides 
adequate space for three people to occupy the rear seat and that the 
vehicle in fact does accommodate five passengers not four as labeled.
    2. The tire pressure value on the vehicle placard is correct. In 
fact, the recommended tire inflation pressure for both the five 
passenger and the four passenger vehicles is the same. Therefore, there 
is no risk of under-inflation.
    3. The vehicle capacity weight listed on the vehicle placard is 
correct, and is the same for Countryman model vehicles built for four 
or five occupants. Therefore, there is no risk of overloading.
    4. The vehicle's Monroney label \3\ contains a listing of all 
options that have been equipped on the affected vehicles. The option 
regarding the rear seat for three occupants is noted on the Monroney 
label; therefore, an owner would have been notified at time of purchase 
of the vehicle that the rear seat is equipped to accommodate three 
occupants.
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    \3\ Automobile Information Disclosure Act (AIDA), 15 U.S.C. 
1231-1233.
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    5. The vehicle Owner's Manual contains information pertaining to 
the vehicle's tires, tire pressure and the vehicle capacity weight. 
Therefore, if owners check the Owner's Manual, correct information is 
available for their use.
    6. BMW also provides vehicle drivers with help determining the 
correct tire, tire pressure and loading information by way of toll-free 
telephone numbers for MINI Roadside Assistance\TM\ (available 24 hours/
day) and MINI Customer Relations.
    7. BMW has received no customer complaints and is unaware of any 
accidents or injuries regarding this noncompliance of the affected 
vehicles.
    BMW has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected future 
production and that all other required markings are present and 
correct.
    In summation, BMW believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject vehicles 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.
    Background Requirement: Section Sec.  4.3 (b) of FMVSS No. 110 
specifically states:

    Sec.  4.3 Placard. Each vehicle, except for a trailer or 
incomplete vehicle, shall show the information specified in Sec.  
4.3 (a) through (g), . . . , on a placard permanently affixed to the 
driver's side B-pillar . . .
    (b) Designated seated capacity (expressed in terms of total 
number of occupants and number of occupants for each front and rear 
seat location); . . .

    NHTSA Decision: NHTSA has reviewed BMW's analyses that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. NHTSA agrees 
that understating the number of rear seat occupants poses little safety 
risk, and vehicle owners will observe three seat belts and correctly 
identify three seating positions. BMW has provided sufficient 
documentation that the vehicle placard does comply with all other 
safety performance requirements. Since the vehicle placard clearly 
states the correct vehicle capacity weight and tire inflation pressure 
and NHTSA has verified both are compatible with five occupants, there 
is little risk of vehicle overloading.
    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that BMW has 
met its burden of persuasion and that the subject FMVSS No. 110 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, 
BMW's petition is hereby granted, and BMW is exempted from the 
obligation of providing notification of, and a remedy for, that 
noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

[[Page 38800]]

    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, this decision 
only applies to approximately 5,700 vehicles that BMW no longer 
controlled at the time that it determined that a noncompliance existed 
in the subject vehicles. However, the granting of 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 BMW notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

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

    Issued On: June 19, 2013.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-15464 Filed 6-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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