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BMW of North America, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  BMW 330i

BMW of North America, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
11 April 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 68 (Tuesday, April 11, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17511-17514]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-07164]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0012; Notice 1]


BMW of North America, LLC, 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) 2017 BMW 330i and 330i xDrive motor vehicles do not 
fully comply with 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 filed a noncompliance 
report dated January 26, 2017. BMW also petitioned NHTSA on February 
17, 2017, 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 May 11, 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

[[Page 17512]]

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) 2017 BMW 330i and 330i xDrive motor vehicles do 
not fully comply with paragraphs S4.3(c) and S4.3(d) 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 filed a noncompliance information report dated 
January 26, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance 
Responsibility and Reports. BMW also petitioned NHTSA on February 17, 
2017, 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 3,300 MY 2017 BMW 330i and 
330i xDrive motor vehicles, manufactured between August 1, 2016, and 
December 1, 2016, are potentially involved.
    III. Noncompliance: BMW explains that the noncompliance is that the 
tire information placard on the subject vehicles states that the 
vehicles were equipped with 18-inch tires when in fact the subject 
vehicles were actually equipped with 17-inch tires. The tire 
information placard also states that the cold tire inflation pressure 
for the rear tires is 240kPa/35psi when it should read 220kPa/32psi. 
Thus, the subject vehicles do not fully comply with paragraphs S4.3(c) 
and (d) of FMVSS No. 110.
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraphs S4.3(c) and (d) of FMVSS No. 110 States 
in pertinent:

    S4.3 Placard. Each vehicle, except for a trailer or incomplete 
vehicle, shall show the information specified in S4.3 (a) through 
(g), and may show, at the manufacturer's option, the information 
specified in S4.3 (h) and (i), on a placard permanently affixed to 
the driver's side B-pillar. In each vehicle without a driver's side 
B-pillar and with two doors on the driver's side of the vehicle 
opening in opposite directions, the placard shall be affixed on the 
forward edge of the rear side door . . .
    (c) Vehicle manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation 
pressure for front, rear and spare tires subject to the limitations 
of S4.3.4. For full size spare tires, the statement ``see above'' 
may, at the manufacturer's option replace manufacturer's recommended 
cold tire inflation pressure. If no spare tire is provided, the word 
``none'' must replace the manufacturer's recommended cold tire 
inflation pressure . . .
    (d) Tire size designation, indicated by the headings ``size'' or 
``original tire size,'' and ``spare tire'' or ``spare,'' for the 
tires installed at the time of first purchase for purposes other 
than resale. For full size spare tires, the statement ``see above'' 
may, at the manufacturer's option replace the tire size designation. 
If no spare tire is provided, the word ``none'' must replace the 
tire size designation; . . .

    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) Overview of Tire Information Placards for 17-inch Tires and 18-
inch Tires: Although affected vehicles were properly equipped with 17-
inch tires, the FMVSS No. 110 tire information placard states that the 
vehicles were equipped with 18-inch tires. The placard includes the 
manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation pressure and tire size 
designation for the 18-inch tires.
    Additionally, affected vehicles were equipped with a tire 
information placard intended for the BMW 320i model, although affected 
vehicles are the BMW 330i and 330i xDrive models.
    Notably, the tire information placard for the 18-inch rear tires 
denotes a cold tire inflation pressure value of 35psi, whereas the 
placard for the 17-inch rear tire denotes a cold tire inflation 
pressure value of 32psi. This will not result in a vehicle overload 
condition as explained in further detail below.
    (b) Using Tire Information Placard to Set Tire Pressure: If a 
vehicle operator uses the tire information placard to set the tire 
pressures, the tire pressures will be set at 32psi and 35psi for the 
front and for the rear tires, respectively. This will not lead to a 
vehicle overload condition as explained below:
    For the front tires, the tire information placard displays the 
manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation pressure value which is 
identical to that which is required for the tires equipped on the 
vehicles.
    For the rear tires, the tire information placard displays the 
manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation pressure value, which is 
larger than that which is required for the tires equipped on the 
vehicle.
    Therefore, a vehicle operator would not inflate the front and rear 
tires to a tire pressure which is lower than that which is required. In 
other petitions in which there exists the possibility to inflate tires 
to a tire pressure value which is lower than the required value, 
calculations can be performed to show that even in those cases, the 
equipped tires at the lower tire pressure value still have sufficient 
load carrying capacity, and therefore will not lead to a vehicle 
overload condition. Such calculations can be performed using either 
axle load limits, or using individual tire load limits.
    However, for the vehicles that are the subject of this petition, 
that possibility does not exist. The vehicle operator would not 
underinflate the front tires or the rear tires; therefore, such 
calculations are not necessary in this petition.
    (c) Using Other Information Sources to Set Tire Pressure: If a 
vehicle operator notices that the tires depicted on the tire 
information placard do not correspond to the tires equipped on the 
vehicle, there are a number of information sources and services 
available, which can be used to identify the correct tire pressure and, 
therefore, achieve the

[[Page 17513]]

proper inflation level for the tires equipped on the vehicle.
     Sources That Point to the Vehicle Owner's Manual
    --FMVSS No. 110 Section 4.3(f) requires that the tire information 
placard contain the following statement: ``See Owner's Manual for 
Additional Information''. Therefore, the tire information placard will 
help point the vehicle operator to the Owner's Manual in order to 
identify the correct tire inflation pressures for use on the vehicle.
    --FMVSS No. 138 Section 4.5(a) requires that the Owner's Manual 
contain the following text:
    ``Each tire, including the spare (if provided), should be checked 
monthly when cold and inflated to the inflation pressure recommended by 
the vehicle manufacturer on the vehicle placard or tire inflation 
pressure label. (If your vehicle has tires of a different size than the 
size indicated on the vehicle placard or tire inflation pressure label, 
you should determine the proper tire inflation pressure for those 
tires.)'' (Emphasis added.)
    Vehicle Operators who attempt to check the vehicle's tire pressure 
on a routine schedule (e.g., monthly, as noted above), or when 
necessary, would be pointed to the Owner's Manual for additional 
clarifying information. Therefore, after reviewing this information, it 
is likely that they would inflate the tires to the recommended cold 
tire inflation pressure. This is explained in further detail below.
    A vehicle operator could check the specific tires installed on the 
vehicle which, in this case, are 17-inch tires. The information that is 
stamped onto the sidewall of the tires identifies the tire size. 
Subsequent to checking and identifying the installed tires, the vehicle 
operator could consult the vehicle Owner's Manual, or contact BMW 
Roadside AssistanceTM, BMW AssistTM, or BMW 
Customer Relations, for further information in order to set the correct 
tire pressure. This is explained in further detail below.
     Owner's Manual
    The vehicle Owner's Manual contains information pertaining to the 
various tire sizes and tire pressures available for use on the affected 
vehicles.
    Affected vehicles contain a tire information placard denoting 18-
inch tires having a front, and rear, tire pressure of 32psi and 35psi. 
However, affected vehicles (BMW 330i, 330i xDrive) were equipped with 
17-inch tires in which a front, and a rear, tire pressure should be 
32psi. Therefore, a vehicle operator would be able to check the Owner's 
manual, identify the correct tires equipped on the vehicle, and then 
set the tire inflation pressures to the correct levels.
    Additionally, affected vehicles are also equipped with and in-
vehicle electronic Owner's Manual accessed through the 
iDriveTM controller containing the same information as in 
the hardcopy Owner's Manual.
    Furthermore, the electronic Owner's Manual also contains contact 
information for BMW Roadside AssistanceTM, and if equipped 
also BMW AssistTM, and BMW Customer Relations. Vehicle 
operators can use these additional information sources and services to 
identify the correct tires equipped on the vehicle, and then set the 
tire inflation pressures to the correct levels.
     BMW Roadside AssistanceTM
    BMW Roadside AssistanceTM (available 24 hours/day) 
representatives have information available indicating by vehicle model 
and model year, all of the available tire sizes and specifications for 
the affected vehicles. All affected vehicles contain a reference to, 
and instructions for contacting, BMW Roadside AssistanceTM 
in the vehicle Owner's Manual. Therefore, if contacted, BMW Roadside 
AssistanceTM would be able to help the vehicle operator 
determine the correct tire pressure for use on the vehicle.
    Vehicle operators are able to contact BMW Roadside 
AssistanceTM using the toll-free telephone number located:

--on the BMW Roadside AssistanceTM Card located in the 
vehicle's portfolio
--on one, or more, BMW Roadside AssistanceTM specific Labels 
in the vehicle
--within the vehicle's Quick Reference Guide
--within the vehicle's Service and Warranty Book.

    Vehicle Operators are also able to contact BMW Roadside 
AssistanceTM using the:

-- in-vehicle iDriveTM controller and menu option for BMW 
Roadside AssistanceTM
--in-vehicle emergency call button on the overhead console

     BMW AssistTM
    BMW AssistTM (available 24 hours/day) representatives 
have information available indicating by vehicle model and model year, 
all of the available tire sizes and specifications for the affected 
vehicles. All affected vehicles contain a reference to, and 
instructions for contacting, BMW AssistTM in the vehicle 
Owner's Manual. Therefore, if contacted, BMW AssistTM would 
be able to help the vehicle operator determine the correct tire 
pressures for use on the vehicle.
    Vehicle Operators are able to contact BMW AssistTM by 
using the:

--in-vehicle iDriveTM controller and menu option for BMW 
AssistTM
--in-vehicle emergency call button on the overhead console

    Vehicles with BMW AssistTM contain a BMW 
AssistTM Book located in the vehicle's portfolio with 
contact information for BMW AssistTM, BMW Roadside 
AssistanceTM, and BMW Customer Relations.
     BMW Customer Relations
    If a vehicle operator contacts BMW Customer Relations, and provides 
the Vehicle Identification Number, a Customer Relations Representative 
will be able to inform the vehicle operator of the specific vehicle 
configuration. Therefore, if contacted, BMW Customer Relations would be 
able to help the vehicle operator determine the correct tire pressures 
for use on the vehicle.
    Vehicle Operators are able to contact BMW Customer Relations by:

--Using the toll free telephone number located in the vehicle Owner's 
Manual and the Service and Warranty Book
--using the in-vehicle iDriveTM controller and menu option 
for BMW Customer Relations
--contacting BMW AssistTM who can, if necessary, transfer 
the vehicle operator to BMW Customer Relations
    (d) Field Experience:

Owner Contacts to BMW Customer Relations

    BMW Customer Relations has not received any contacts from vehicle 
owners regarding this issue. Therefore, BMW is unaware that any vehicle 
owner has encountered this issue.

Accidents/Injuries

    BMW is unaware of any accidents or injuries that have occurred as a 
result of this issue.
    (e) Prior NHTSA Grants to Manufacturer Petitions: NHTSA has 
previously granted petitions for inconsequential noncompliance 
regarding FMVSS No. 110 involving vehicles whereby the tire information 
placard contained tire size and tire pressure information which did not 
match the tires equipped on the vehicle. In particular, it was shown 
that although the tire information placard displayed the manufacturer's 
recommended cold tire inflation pressure which was a smaller value than 
that which was required for the tires equipped on the vehicle, the load 
carrying capacity of the equipped tires, at this smaller tire pressure, 
was still sufficient and would not lead to a vehicle overload 
condition.

[[Page 17514]]

    For the affected vehicles that are the subject of this petition, 
the FMVSS No. 110 tire information placard displays the manufacturer's 
recommended cold tire inflation pressure value for the front tires 
which is identical to that which is required for the tires equipped on 
the vehicle and, displays the manufacturer's recommended cold tire 
inflation pressure value for the rear tires which is larger than the 
value which is required for the tires equipped on the vehicle. 
Consequently, there is no risk of an underinflated tire, the load 
carrying capacity of the equipped tires is still sufficient and, 
therefore, there is no risk of a vehicle overload condition.
    Nevertheless, as a reference, and for comparison to this petition, 
NHTSA has granted petitions from manufacturers in cases where the tire 
information placard displayed a tire inflation pressure value which was 
smaller than that which was required for the tires equipped on the 
vehicle. (See BMW, 81 FR 62970, September 13, 2016; BMW, 78 FR 76408, 
December 17, 2013; and Volkswagen, 78 FR 28287, May 14, 2013)
    (f) Vehicle Production: Vehicle production has been corrected to 
conform to FMVSS No. 110 Section 4.3(c) and S4.3(d).
    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.
    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. 2017-07164 Filed 4-10-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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