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BMW Group of America, LLC, Incorporated, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  BMW, BMW, Rolls-Royce

BMW Group of America, LLC, Incorporated, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
18 January 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 11 (Wednesday, January 18, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5641-5642]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-01005]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0115; Notice 1]


BMW Group of America, LLC, Incorporated, Receipt of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: BMW of North America, LLC (BMW), has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 2016-2017 BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce vehicles do not 
fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
209, Seat Belt Assemblies. BMW filed a report dated October 13, 2016. 
BMW also petitioned NHTSA on November 4, 2016, for a decision that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle 
safety.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is February 17, 
2017.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited in the title of this notice and 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to U.S. Department 
of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: Deliver comments by hand to U.S. Department 
of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The 
Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except 
Federal Holidays.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at https://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that comments you have submitted by mail were 
received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the 
comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    All comments and supporting materials received before the close of 
business on the closing date indicated above will be filed in the 
docket and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the fullest extent possible.
    When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will 
also be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority 
indicated at the end of this notice.
    All comments, background documentation, and supporting materials 
submitted to the docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and 
times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at 
https://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for 
accessing the dockets. The docket ID number for this petition is shown 
in the heading of this notice.
    DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in a 
Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Overview

    BMW of North America, LLC (BMW), has determined that certain model 
year (MY) 2016-2017 BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce vehicles do not fully 
comply with paragraph 4.3(j)(2)(ii) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 209, Seat Belt Assemblies. BMW filed a report 
dated October 13, 2016, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. BMW also petitioned NHTSA on 
November 4, 2016, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 
CFR part 556, for an exemption from the notification and remedy 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    This notice of receipt of BMW's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.

II. Vehicles Involved

    Approximately 15,630 of the following MY 2016-2017 BMW, Mini, and 
Rolls-Royce vehicles manufactured

[[Page 5642]]

between June 29, 2016 and October 10, 2016 are potentially involved:

 2017 BMW X1 SAV (X1 sDrive28i, X1 xDrive28i)
 2017 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo (535i Gran Turismo, 535i xDrive 
Gran Turismo, 550i xDrive Gran Turismo)
 2016 BMW 5 Series (528i, 528i xDrive, 535i, 535i xDrive, 550i, 
550i xDrive, M5)
 2016 BMW 5 Series (535d, 535d xDrive)
 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman and Mini Cooper S Clubman
 Mini Hardtop 4-door Cooper and Mini Hardtop 4-door Cooper S
 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost

III. Noncompliance

    BMW explains that the noncompliance involves the Emergency Locking 
Retractor (ELR) in the safety belt assembly of the vehicle's front left 
seat. These ELRs are equipped with a vehicle-sensitive locking 
mechanism and a webbing-sensitive locking mechanism. The noncompliance 
specifically involves the vehicle-sensitive locking mechanism, which 
does not lock as designed when subjected to the requirements of 
paragraph S4.3(j)(2)(ii) of FMVSS No. 209.

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S4.3 of FMVSS No. 209 states in pertinent part:

    S4.3 Requirements for hardware . . .
    (j) Emergency-locking retractor . . .
    (2) For seat belt assemblies manufactured on or after February 
22, 2007 and for manufacturers opting for early compliance. An 
emergency-locking retractor of a Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt 
assembly, when tested in accordance with the procedures specified in 
paragraph S5.2(j)(2) . . .
    (ii) Shall lock before the webbing payout exceeds the maximum 
limit of 25 mm when the retractor is subjected to an acceleration of 
0.7 g under the applicable test conditions of S5.2(j)(2)(iii)(A) or 
(B). The retractor is determined to be locked when the webbing belt 
load tension is at least 35 N.

V. Summary of BMW's Petition

    BMW described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief that 
the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle 
safety.
    In support of its petition, BMW submitted the following reasoning:
    (a) The vehicle-sensitive locking mechanism functions, but the non-
compliance involves a slight exceedance of the FMVSS No. 209 Section 
S4.3(j)(2)(ii) requirement.
    (b) The slight exceedance is such that, based upon testing of non-
compliant units, the vehicle-sensitive locking mechanism locks at 
approximately 1.0g within 25mm, or at 0.7 g within 90mm.
    (c) The tilt-lock function of the ELR is compliant, and locks at 
angles greater than 15-deg up to 41-deg when subjected to the FMVSS No. 
209 Section S4.3(j)(2) rollover requirements.
    (d) The ELR also contains a voluntary webbing-sensitive locking 
mechanism which provides crash and rollover restraint performance 
comparable to the performance provided by an FMVSS No. 209 compliant 
vehicle-sensitive locking mechanism.
    (e) Crash test results comparing FMVSS No. 209 S4.3(j)(2)(ii) 
compliant ELRs and ELRs in which the vehicle-sensitive locking 
mechanism has been disabled (to demonstrate a ``worst-case scenario'', 
even though in affected vehicles the vehicle-sensitive mechanism 
remains functional) demonstrate comparable results according to FMVSS 
No. 208 assessments.
    Test results indicate that any performance differences are with 
normal ``data scatter'' and are attributed to test tolerances.
    (f) Affected safety belt assemblies comply with all other 
applicable provisions of FMVSS No. 209.
    (g) NHTSA previously granted a petition from General Motors in 
which the ELR's vehicle-sensitive locking mechanism was completely non-
functional, whereas the ELR's vehicle-sensitive locking mechanism in 
the affected BMW vehicles is functional, but may experience a slight 
exceedance of the FMVSS no. 209 S4.3(j)(2)(ii) requirement.
    (h) BMW has not received any customer complaints related to this 
issue.
    (i) BMW is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this 
issue.
    (j) Vehicle production has been corrected.
    BMW concluded by expressing the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.
    To view BMW's petition, test data and analyses in its entirety you 
can visit https://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets and by using the docket ID 
number for this petition shown in the heading of this notice.
    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 BMW no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. 
However, any decision on 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.

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2017-01005 Filed 1-17-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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