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Decision That Nonconforming 2012 McLaren MP4-12C Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  McLaren MP4-12C

Decision That Nonconforming 2012 McLaren MP4-12C Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
April 3, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 64 (Friday, April 3, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18279-18281]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-07607]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0004, Notice 2]


Decision That Nonconforming 2012 McLaren MP4-12C Passenger Cars 
Are Eligible for Importation

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: This document announces a decision by the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration that certain 2012 McLaren MP4-12C 
passenger cars (PCs) that were not originally manufactured to comply 
with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) are 
eligible for importation into the United States because they are 
substantially similar to vehicles originally manufactured for 
importation into and sale in the United States that were certified by 
their manufacturer as complying with the safety standards (the U.S. 
certified version of the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C PC), and they are capable 
of being readily altered to conform to the standards.

DATES: This decision became effective on March 26, 2015.

ADDRESSES: For further information contact George Stevens, Office of 
Vehicle Safety Compliance, NHTSA (202-366-5308).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Under 49 U.S.C 30141(a)(1)(A), a motor vehicle that was not 
originally manufactured to conform to all applicable FMVSS shall be 
refused admission into the United States unless NHTSA has decided that 
the motor vehicle is substantially similar to a motor vehicle 
originally manufactured for importation into and sale in the United 
States, certified as required under 49 U.S.C. 30115, and of the same 
model year as the model of the motor vehicle to be compared, and is 
capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable FMVSS.
    Petitions for eligibility decisions may be submitted by either 
manufacturers or importers who have registered with NHTSA pursuant to 
49 CFR part 592. As specified in 49 CFR 593.7, NHTSA publishes notice 
in the Federal Register of each petition that it receives, and affords 
interested persons an opportunity to comment on the petition. At the 
close of the comment period, NHTSA decides, on the basis of the 
petition and any comments that it has received, whether the vehicle is 
eligible for importation. The agency then publishes this decision in 
the Federal Register.
    J.K. Technologies, LLC, of Baltimore, Maryland (``JK'') (Registered 
Importer# RI-90-006), petitioned NHTSA to decide whether 2012 McLaren 
MP4-12C PCs are eligible for importation into the United States. NHTSA 
published a notice of the petition on March 3, 2014 (79 FR 11869) to 
afford an opportunity for public comment. The reader is referred to 
that notice for a thorough description of the petition.

Comments

    On March 27, 2014, NHTSA received a request from McLaren Automotive 
Inc. (McLaren), the vehicle's original manufacturer, to extend the 
comment period by two weeks. NHTSA approved this request to allow 
McLaren additional time to respond to the issues presented in the 
petition.
    McLaren submitted its comments on April 15, 2014. In its comments, 
McLaren stated that while it agreed that the U.S. and the non-U.S. 
versions of the vehicle are ``substantially similar'' within the 
meaning of section 30141(a)(1)(A)(i), it strongly disputed JK's 
assertions that the non-U.S. version could be readily altered to comply 
with all applicable FMVSS. McLaren elaborated by presenting detailed 
reasons for its assertions with respect to specific FMVSS.
    On May 21, 2014, NHTSA forwarded McLaren's comments to JK and asked 
that it respond by June, 4, 2014. By letter dated June 10, 2014, JK 
requested a 45 day extension in order to gather engineering data to 
adequately address the concerns raised by McLaren. NHTSA approved JK's 
request for this extension and JK responded on July 29, 2014.
    A summary of McLaren's comments, JK's responses, and the 
conclusions that NHTSA has reached with regard to the issues raised by 
the parties is set forth below.

Comments and Conclusions

    NHTSA has reviewed the petition, McLaren's comments and JK's 
responses to those comments, and has concluded that the vehicles 
covered by the petition are capable of being readily altered to comply 
with all applicable FMVSS. However, NHTSA has also decided that an RI 
who imports or modifies one of these vehicles must include in the 
statement of conformity and associated documents (referred to as a 
``conformity package'') it submits to NHTSA under 49 CFR 592.6(d) 
specific proof to confirm that the vehicle was manufactured to conform 
to, or was successfully altered to conform to, each of the following 
standards:
    FMVSS No. 101, Controls and displays; McLaren commented that the 
necessary reprogramming to achieve conformity to the standard can only 
be performed with a tool available only to authorized McLaren dealers 
that can only be operated by an authorized McLaren entity using a 
recognized username and password. McLaren claimed that the tool is not 
offered for sale to non-McLaren affiliated entities.
    JK responded that the reprogramming equipment it used to modify the 
vehicle to the standard is available in Europe and that it validated 
the programs and encryption codes on a U.S. version of the vehicle.
    NHTSA has decided that a description of how the programming changes 
were completed and how compliance with the standard was verified must 
be included in each conformity package. Photographs, printouts, and/or 
screenshots, as practicable, must also be submitted as proof that the 
reprogramming was carried out.
    FMVSS No. 108, Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment; 
McLaren commented that in addition to the modifications described in 
the petition, ``a completely new US vehicle [wiring] harness would be 
required.'' Moreover, as it contended with regard to FMVSS No. 101, 
McLaren asserted that reprogramming ``can only be performed using an 
approved McLaren tool'' which the manufacturer claimed is ``only 
available to authorized McLaren dealers'' and ``can only be used by an 
authorized McLaren entity with the use of a username and password.''
    JK responded that it has ``a USA version vehicle for these programs 
and encryption codes,'' and that it will replace or add wiring 
harnesses as necessary.
    NHTSA has decided that a description of how the programming changes 
were completed and how

[[Page 18280]]

compliance was verified must accompany each conformity package. 
Photographs, printouts, and/or screenshots, as practicable, must also 
be submitted as proof that the reprogramming was carried out.
    FMVSS No. 111, Rearview mirrors; McLaren commented that in addition 
to the modifications noted in the petition, the driver's outside 
rearview mirror would need to be replaced with a compliant mirror.
    NHTSA has decided that proof, including photographs, must be 
submitted with each conformity package to show that the vehicle was 
either originally equipped with, or was altered through the addition 
of, a driver's side rearview mirror that allows the vehicle to meet the 
applicable requirements of FMVSS No. 111.
    FMVSS No. 114 Theft protection and rollaway prevention; As was the 
case with FMVSS Nos. 101 and 108, McLaren contended that reprogramming 
``can only be performed using an approved McLaren tool'' which is 
``only available to authorized McLaren dealers'' and ``can only be used 
by an authorized McLaren entity with the use of a username and 
password.''
    JK responded that it has ``a USA version vehicle for these programs 
and encryption codes.''
    NHTSA has decided that a description of how the programming changes 
were completed and how compliance was verified must accompany each 
conformity package. Additionally, photographs, printouts, and/or 
screenshots, as practicable, must be submitted as proof that the 
reprogramming was carried out.
    FMVSS No. 138, Tire pressure monitoring systems; McLaren contended 
that tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are not standard equipment 
on all European 12C vehicles and that substantial work would be 
required to bring vehicles into compliance with the standard. McLaren 
asserted that because of the extent and complexity of the required 
changes, vehicles not originally equipped with TPMS cannot be ``readily 
altered'' in order to bring them into compliance with the standard. 
According to McLaren, even if the vehicle is already equipped with the 
TPMS hardware, ``a reconfiguration using an approved McLaren dealership 
tool would be required to bring the TPMS functionality into compliance 
with FMVSS No. 138.'' Mclaren reiterated that this tool is ``only 
available to authorized McLaren dealers'' and ``can only be used by an 
authorized McLaren entity with the use of a username and password''.
    JK responded that it has ``a USA version vehicle for these programs 
and encryption codes.''
    NHTSA has decided that a description of how any applicable 
programming changes were completed and how compliance was verified must 
accompany each conformity package. Additionally, photographs, 
printouts, and/or screenshots, as practicable, must be submitted as 
proof that the reprogramming was carried out.
    FMVSS No. 205, Glazing materials; McLaren commented that contrary 
to the claim in the petition, non-U.S. vehicles do not comply with this 
standard because they are ``fitted with AS3 glass in the rear of the 
vehicle (behind the B-Pillar). Such AS3 glass does not comply with the 
light transmittance requirements of FMVSS No. 205. It would be 
difficult to replace that AS3 glass with the AS2 glass required by 
FMVSS No. 205; in some cases the entire engine would have to be removed 
to make the modification.''
    JK responded that each vehicle will be inspected and that any non-
compliant glass will be replaced. JK contended that the non-U.S. 
certified vehicle it inspected was already equipped with compliant 
glass.
    NHTSA has decided that photographic evidence of the required 
markings to demonstrate that the glazing complies with the standard 
must be submitted with each conformity package.
    FMVSS No. 208, Occupant Protection; McLaren challenged the 
petition's assertion that the non-U.S. certified vehicles are 
originally manufactured to meet all requirements of this standard, 
noting in particular that European model vehicles are not equipped with 
``advanced air bags,'' as that term is used in the United States. 
McLaren contended that the occupant restraint software system used in 
U.S. vehicles is specific to those vehicles and that only vehicles with 
a designated U.S. vehicle identification number (VIN) can be programmed 
with that software. For that reason, McLaren claimed the necessary 
reconfiguration of the system would be impossible, since a European 12C 
vehicle's VIN would not be recognized, and the software upload would be 
prevented.
    JK responded that it ``will change and/or add all the US model 
systems to the European vehicles modified under this petition.'' JK 
noted that these parts include knee airbags, wiring harnesses, and 
sensors, and claimed that ``the programming of the ECU is a 
modification that JK is very familiar with.'' JK also stated that it 
has ``the necessary equipment to load the correct US McLaren MP4-12C 
advanced airbag programs into the European MP4-12C and retain the 
European VIN.''
    NHTSA has decided that each conformity package must include a 
detailed description of the occupant protection system in place on the 
vehicle at the time was delivered to the RI, and a similarly detailed 
description of the occupant protection system in place after the 
vehicle is altered, including photographs of all required labeling. The 
description must also include parts assembly diagrams and associated 
part numbers for all components that were removed from or installed on 
the vehicle, a description of how the programming changes were 
completed, and a description of how compliance was verified. 
Additionally, photographs (e.g., monitor print screen captures) or 
report printouts, as practicable, must be submitted as proof that the 
reprogramming was carried out.
    FMVSS No. 225, Child restraint anchorage systems; McLaren disputed 
the petition's claim that U.S. and non-U.S.-certified vehicles are 
identical with regard to this standard. The manufacturer contended that 
European vehicles lack a top tether anchor plate and further observed 
that installation of the anchor plate requires drilling into the fuel 
cell bulkhead.
    JK responded that the upper anchorages will be added in the exact 
position designated by McLaren and that it has all of the engineering 
drawings for the U.S. model MP4-12C for these tethers.
    NHTSA has decided that a detailed description of the alterations 
made to achieve conformity with the standard must be included in each 
conformity package. The description must include sufficient information 
to validate how the alterations allowed the vehicle to meet the 
requirements of the standard. This information must include 
photographic evidence that the modification was carried out, as well as 
testing and/or engineering analysis reports documenting how the RI has 
verified that the alterations will allow the vehicle to meet all 
applicable requirements of the standard.
    FMVSS No. 401 Interior trunk release; McLaren commented that 
reprogramming can only be performed using an approved McLaren tool that 
is only available to authorized McLaren dealers and can only be used by 
an authorized McLaren entity with the use of a username and password.
    JK responded that it has the necessary equipment to load the 
correct US McLaren programs.
    NHTSA has decided that each conformity package must include a

[[Page 18281]]

description of how the programming changes were completed and how 
compliance was verified. Additionally, photographs, printouts, and/or 
screenshots, as practicable, must be submitted as proof that the 
reprogramming was carried out.
    49 CFR part 581, Bumper Standard; McLaren commented that in 
addition to the modifications set out in the petition, the bumper foam 
would need to be replaced and a different rear bumper skin would need 
to be installed in the license plate area.
    JK responded that it is aware of all the parts necessary to bring 
these vehicles into compliance with this standard and it will change 
all parts of the system to U.S. parts to make the vehicle compliant.
    NHTSA has decided that each conformity package must include a 
detailed description of all modifications made to achieve conformity 
with the standard. This description must include part numbers for each 
part replaced and be supported with photographic evidence of the 
modifications made to achieve conformity.
    In addition to the information specified above, each conformity 
package must include evidence showing how the RI verified that the 
changes it made in loading or reprograming vehicle software to achieve 
conformity with each separate FMVSS, did not also cause the vehicle to 
fall out of compliance with any other applicable FMVSS.

Decision

    Accordingly, on the basis of the foregoing, NHTSA hereby decides 
that MY 2012 McLaren MP4-12C passenger cars that were not originally 
manufactured to comply with all applicable FMVSS, are substantially 
similar to 2012 McLaren MP4-12C PCs manufactured for importation into 
and/or sale in the United States, and certified under 49 U.S.C. 30115, 
and are capable of being readily altered to conform to all applicable 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Vehicle Eligibility Number for Subject Vehicles

    The importer of a vehicle admissible under any final decision must 
indicate on the form HS-7 accompanying entry the appropriate vehicle 
eligibility number indicating that the vehicle is eligible for entry. 
VSP-569 is the vehicle eligibility number assigned to vehicles 
admissible under this notice of final decision.

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2015-07607 Filed 4-2-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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