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Chrysler Group, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance


American Government Topics:  Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee

Chrysler Group, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
December 30, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 249 (Tuesday, December 30, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 78559-78561]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30240]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0046; Notice 2]


Chrysler Group, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Chrysler Group, LLC, (Chrysler), now known as Fiat Chrysler 
Automobiles NV, has determined that certain model year (MY) 2014 Jeep 
Cherokee multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPV), and MY 2013-2014 Dodge 
Dart passenger cars (PC) do not fully comply with paragraph S5.2.1 of 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 101, Controls and 
Displays and paragraph S5.5.5 of FMVSS No. 135,\1\ Light Vehicle Brake 
Systems. Chrysler has filed an appropriate report dated March 4, 2014 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports.
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    \1\ Subsequent to receiving Chrysler's petition, NHTSA was 
notified by the petitioner that it had inadvertently referred to 
FMVSS No. 105, a standard that does not apply to the subject 
vehicles, in its petition.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Stuart 
Seigel, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5287, facsimile 
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(202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    I. Chrysler's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) 
and the rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556), 
Chrysler 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 Chrysler's petition was published, with a 30-
Day public comment period, on June 30, 2014 in the Federal Register (79 
FR 36868). 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-2014-0046.''
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are vehicles built for the U.S. 
territories, approximately 411 MY 2014 Jeep

[[Page 78560]]

Cherokee MPV manufactured between June 17, 2013 and January 14, 2014 
and 22 MY 2013-2014 Dodge Dart PC manufactured between July 1, 2012 and 
December 13, 2013.
    III. Noncompliance: Chrysler explains that the noncompliance is 
that the telltale used for Brake Warning and Park Brake Warning is 
displayed using International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 
symbols instead of the telltale symbol required by S5.2.1 of FMVSS No. 
101 and paragraph S5.5.5 of FMVSS No. 135.
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S5.2.1 of FMVSS No. 101 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S5.2.1 Except for the Low Tire Pressure Telltale, each control, 
telltale and indicator that is listed in column 1 of Table 1 or 
Table 2 must be identified by the symbol specified for it in column 
2 or the word or abbreviation specified for it in column 3 of Table 
1 or Table 2. If a symbol is used, each symbol provided pursuant to 
this paragraph must be substantially similar in form to the symbol 
as it appears in Table 1 or Table 2. If a symbol is used, each 
symbol provided pursuant to this paragraph must have the 
proportional dimensional characteristics of the symbol as it appears 
in Table 1 or Table 2.

    Paragraph S5.5.5 of FMVSS No. 135 requires in pertinent part:

    S5.5.5. Labeling. (a) Each visual indicator shall display a word 
or words in accordance with the requirements of Standard No. 101 (49 
CFR 571.101) and this section, which shall be legible to the driver 
under all daytime and nighttime conditions when activated. Unless 
otherwise specified, the words shall have letters not less than 3.2 
mm (\1/8\inch) high and the letters and background shall be of 
contrasting colors, one of which is red. Words or symbols in 
addition to those required by Standard No. 101 and this section may 
be provided for purposes of clarity.
    (b) Vehicles manufactured with a split service brake system may 
use a common brake warning indicator to indicate two or more of the 
functions described in S5.5.1(a) through S5.5.1(g). If a common 
indicator is used, it shall display the word ``Brake.''. . .

    V. Summary of Chrysler's Analyses: Chrysler stated its belief that 
the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety 
for the following reasons:
    1. Chrysler notes that the purpose of the brake telltale is to warn 
the operator about either one of two conditions: (1) The parking brake 
is applied or is malfunctioning; or (2) the service brakes may be 
malfunctioning. The affected vehicles ``brake display telltale'' 
illuminates in red as required and, except for the missing identifier 
word ``Brake,'' the vehicles comply with all other applicable FMVSS 
requirements. When the telltale is not illuminated, there is no 
degradation of brake performance. All braking system functionality, 
including service brakes and the parking brake is unaffected by this 
noncompliance and the subject vehicles will operate as intended. Even 
though the word ``Brake'' is not used, Chrysler's stated its belief 
that in the event one of the affected vehicles displayed the red-color 
ISO brake telltale, the driver would recognize a possible brake system 
malfunction.
    2. Chrysler states that the telltale functions as both the 
vehicle's brake system symbol and the parking brake symbol. In the 
Dart, the parking brake is engaged by pulling up on the parking brake 
handle in view of the instrument cluster where the brake telltale is 
illuminated. In the Cherokee, the parking brake is electronic where a 5 
second ``Parking Brake Engaged'' message is displayed in the Electronic 
Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) and the brake telltale is illuminated 
in the instrument cluster. The brake telltale also illuminates during 
the cluster warning lamp function check. Due to the ISO telltale 
illumination during parking brake engagement and during lamp function 
checks, an operator is conditioned to associate the telltale with the 
braking system and would be alerted in the event of a possible brake 
system malfunction. In the unlikely event the ISO brake telltale is 
illuminated and the operator does not understand its meaning, the ISO 
brake telltale graphic is shown and described in the Owner's Manual for 
both vehicles. Thus, an operator could easily determine that the ISO 
telltale relates to the brake system.
    3. Chrysler also believes that in the subject vehicles, in the 
event the brake fluid level is less than the recommended level, the 
brake telltale is illuminated and the EVIC will display a five second 
``Brake Fluid Low'' message that continues until the condition is 
corrected. This additional visual input to the operator helps 
facilitate the association of the telltale with the braking system.
    4. Chrysler has stated its belief that NHTSA has previously granted 
a similar inconsequential noncompliance petition regarding the use of 
ISO symbols.
    5. Chrysler is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, 
consumer complaints, legal claims or any incidents or injuries related 
to the subject noncompliance.
    Chrysler has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production vehicles will comply with 
FMVSS No. 101 and FMVSS No. 135.
    In summation, Chrysler believes that the described noncompliance of 
the subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and 
that its petition, to exempt Chrysler 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 Decision

    NHTSA Analysis: NHTSA has reviewed Chrysler's justification for an 
inconsequential noncompliance decision and agrees that, based on the 
following analysis, the inadvertent use of an ISO label on the combined 
brake telltale for Brake Warning and the Park Brake Warning, poses 
little if any risk to motor vehicle safety.
    Chrysler stated that there are two conditions which will cause the 
subject combined brake warning telltale that is located on the 
instrument cluster and labeled with an ISO symbol instead of the 
required text ``BRAKE'', to illuminate:
    1. The parking brake is applied; and/or
    2. The brake fluid level is less than the recommended level.
    For each condition, the subject combined telltale is illuminated as 
required with the background in contrasting colors, one of which is 
red.
    In the Cherokee, the parking brake is engaged electronically and a 
5 second ``Parking Brake Engaged'' message is displayed in the 
Electronic Vehicle Information Center. For the Dart, the parking brake 
is activated by pulling up on the parking brake handle which remains 
visible to the driver.
    In the Dart and Cherokee vehicles, in the event the brake fluid is 
less than the recommended level, in addition to the ISO symbol 
illumination, redundant notification is provided to the driver of the 
existence of the condition by the Electronic Vehicle Information Center 
which displays a five second ``Brake Fluid Low'' message that continues 
until the condition is corrected.
    NHTSA agrees with Chrysler's statement that the functionality of 
both the parking brake system and the service brake system remains 
unaffected by the mislabeling. Vehicle stopping distance and thus 
collision avoidance is not compromised due to the mislabeling.
    The ISO symbol has been used on US-certified vehicles for many 
years in conjunction with the required text ``BRAKE.'' In addition, 
each time the driver activates the parking brake he/she will visually 
be reminded of the meaning of the ISO symbol. The parking brake 
activation and the representative ISO symbol are operationally linked. 
The ISO symbol is also illuminated

[[Page 78561]]

during lamp function each time the vehicle is started. If not familiar 
with its meaning, the owner's manual can be referenced which will 
explain the relationship with the brake system. Over time, the ISO 
symbol has evolved to become increasingly recognizable and 
understandable to drivers so if activated they would likely be alerted 
to a possible brake system malfunction. We further believe drivers 
recognize that a telltale illuminated in red, even if unlabeled, 
represents a malfunction which needs to be remedied.
    We believe that the combination of the red contrasting color of the 
ISO symbol, driver conditioning over time as to the meaning of the ISO 
symbol, the vehicle message center warning for the Cherokee indicating 
parking brake applied, the noticeable position of the DART parking 
brake lever when applied, the reduced drivability of the vehicles when 
the vehicle is driven with an applied parking brake, the message center 
warning ``Low Brake Fluid'' for both vehicles which remains activated 
until the condition is corrected, as well as the availability of the 
description of ISO symbol in the Owner's manual are sufficient to 
adequately alert the driver should the indicated problems in the 
braking system occur.
    The manufacturer has shown that the discrepancy with the labeling 
requirement is unlikely to lead to any misunderstanding especially 
since other sources of correct information beyond the ISO symbol, are 
available. Lastly, we note that NHTSA has not received any consumer 
complaints regarding subject vehicles noncompliances.
    NHTSA Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
decided that Chrysler has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS 
No. 101 and FMVSS No. 135 noncompliances are inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety. Accordingly, Chrysler's petition is hereby granted and 
Chrysler is exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, 
and a remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    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 Chrysler no 
longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance 
existed. However, the granting of this petition does not relieve 
Chrysler 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 Chrysler 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).

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2014-30240 Filed 12-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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