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Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Acura MDX

Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Raymond R. Posten
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
11 May 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 90 (Thursday, May 11, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22055-22056]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-09512]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard; American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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SUMMARY: This document grants in full the American Honda Motor Co., 
Inc.'s (Honda) petition for exemption of the Acura MDX vehicle line in 
accordance with 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard. This petition is granted because the agency has 
determined that the antitheft device to be placed on the line as 
standard equipment is likely to be as effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking 
requirements of the 49 CFR part 541, Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard (Theft Prevention Standard).

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the 2018 model year (MY).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Deborah Mazyck, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, West 
Building, W43-443, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. 
Ms. Mazyck's phone number is (202) 366-4139. Her fax number is (202) 
493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated November 22, 2016, Honda 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard for the Acura MDX vehicle line beginning with MY 
2018. The petition requested an exemption from parts-marking pursuant 
to 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard, 
based on the installation of an antitheft device as standard equipment 
for the entire vehicle line.
    Under 49 CFR part 543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to 
grant an exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its 
petition, Honda provided a detailed description and diagram of the 
identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft 
device for the Acura MDX vehicle line. Honda stated that its vehicle 
line will offer a front-wheel drive and an all-wheel drive variation. 
Honda further stated that its MY 2018 Acura MDX vehicle line will be 
installed with a transponder-based, engine immobilizer antitheft device 
as standard equipment. Honda also stated that the MDX vehicle line will 
be equipped with a ``smart entry with push button start'' ignition 
system (``smart entry'') and an audible and visible vehicle security 
system as standard equipment on the entire line. Key components of the 
antitheft device will include a passive immobilizer, ``smart entry'' 
remote, powertrain control module (PCM) and an Immobilizer Entry System 
(IMOES).
    Honda's submission is considered a complete petition as required by 
49 CFR 543.7, in that it meets the general requirements contained in 
Sec.  543.5 and the specific content requirements of Sec.  543.6.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of Sec.  543.6, 
Honda provided information on the reliability and durability of its 
proposed device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, 
Honda conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Honda 
provided a detailed list of the tests it used to validate the 
integrity, durability and reliability of the device and believes that 
it follows a rigorous development process to ensure that its antitheft 
device will be reliable and robust for the life of the vehicle. Honda 
stated that its device does not require the presence of a ``smart 
entry'' remote battery to function nor does it have any moving parts 
(i.e., the PCM, IMOES, ignition key, ``smart entry'' remote and the 
electrical components are found within its own housing units), which it 
believes reduces the chance for deterioration and wear from normal use.
    Honda stated that its immobilizer device is always active without 
requiring any action from the vehicle operator, until the vehicle is 
started using a matching ``smart entry'' remote. Deactivation occurs 
when a ``smart entry'' remote with matching codes is placed within 
operating range and the vehicle is started by pushing the engine start/
stop button. Specifically, Honda stated that the immobilizer device 
automatically checks for the immobilizer code when the ``smart entry'' 
remote is within operating range (inside the vehicle, close to the 
doors or window or in close proximity outside the vehicle's exterior) 
and the vehicle is started by pushing the engine start/stop button 
located to the right of the steering wheel on the vehicle dashboard. 
The matching code is validated by the IMOES, allowing the engine to 
start. Honda further states that if a ``smart entry'' remote without a 
matching code is placed inside the operating range and the engine 
start/stop button is pushed, the PCM will prevent fueling and starting 
of the engine. Additionally, the ignition immobilizer telltale 
indicator will begin flashing on the meter panel.
    Honda stated that it will install an audible and visible vehicle 
security system as standard equipment on all its MDX vehicles to 
monitor any attempts of unauthorized entry and to attract attention to 
an unauthorized person attempting to enter its vehicles without the use 
of a ``smart entry'' remote or its built-in mechanical door key. 
Specifically, Honda stated that whenever an attempt is made to open one 
of its vehicle doors, hood or trunk without using the ``smart entry'' 
remote or turning a key in the key cylinder to disarm the vehicle, the 
vehicle's horn will sound and its lights will flash. The vehicle 
security system is activated when all of the doors are locked and the 
hood and trunk are closed and locked. Honda's vehicle security system 
is deactivated by using the key fob buttons to unlock the vehicle doors 
or having the ``smart entry'' remote within operating range when the 
operator grabs either of the vehicle's front door handles.
    Honda believes that additional levels of reliability, durability 
and security will be accomplished because its ``smart entry'' remote 
will utilize rolling codes for the lock and unlock functions of its 
vehicles. Honda stated that it will also equip its vehicle line with a 
hood release located inside the vehicle, counterfeit resistant vehicle 
identification number (VIN) plates and secondary VINs as standard 
equipment.
    In support of its belief that its antitheft device will be as or 
more effective in reducing and deterring vehicle theft than the parts-
marking requirement, Honda referenced data showing several instances of 
the effectiveness of its proposed immobilizer device. Honda first 
installed an immobilizer device as standard equipment on its MY 2001 
Acura MDX vehicles and referenced NHTSA's theft rate data for MYs 2003-
2012 showing a consistent rate of thefts well below the median of 
3.5826 since the installation of its immobilizer device. NHTSA notes 
that the theft rates for MYs 2013 and 2014 MDX vehicle line are 0.5936 
and 0.3209 respectively.

[[Page 22056]]

Using an average of three MYs' theft data (2012-2014), the theft rate 
for the MDX vehicle line is well below the median at 0.4630. 
Additionally, Honda referenced the Highway Loss Data Institute's 2001-
2014 Insurance Theft Report showing an overall reduction in theft rates 
for the Honda MDX vehicles after introduction of its immobilizer device 
on the line.
    Additionally, Honda stated that the immobilizer device proposed for 
the 2018 MDX is similar to the design offered on its Honda Civic, Honda 
Accord, Honda CR-V and Honda Pilot vehicles. The agency granted the 
petitions for the Honda Civic vehicle line in full beginning with MY 
2014 (see 61 FR 19363, March 29, 2013), the Honda Accord vehicle line 
beginning with MY 2015 (see 79 FR 18409, April 1, 2014), the Honda CR-V 
vehicle line beginning with MY 2016 (see 80 FR 3733, January 23, 2015) 
and the Honda Pilot beginning with MY 2017 (see 81 FR 12197, March 8, 
2016). The agency notes that the average theft rate for the Honda 
Civic, Accord, CR-V and Pilot vehicle lines using three MYs' data (MYs 
2012 through 2014) are 0.6611, 0.7139, 0.3203 and 0.9134 respectively.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by Honda on its device, 
the agency believes that the antitheft device for the Acura MDX vehicle 
line is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor 
vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the 
Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR 541). The agency concludes that the 
device will provide the five types of performance listed in Sec.  
543.6(a)(3): Promoting activation; attract attention to the efforts of 
an unauthorized person to enter or move a vehicle by means other than a 
key; preventing defeat or circumvention of the device by unauthorized 
persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by unauthorized entrants; 
and ensuring the reliability and durability of the device.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR 543.7(b), the agency grants 
a petition for exemption from the parts-marking requirements of part 
541 either in whole or in part, if it determines that, based upon 
substantial evidence, the standard equipment antitheft device is likely 
to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as 
compliance with the parts-marking requirements of part 541. The agency 
finds that Honda has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Acura MDX vehicle line is likely to be as 
effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance 
with the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard. 
This conclusion is based on the information Honda provided about its 
device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full Honda's 
petition for exemption for the Acura MDX vehicle line from the parts-
marking requirements of 49 CFR part 541, beginning with the 2018 model 
year vehicles. The agency notes that 49 CFR part 541, Appendix A-1, 
identifies those lines that are exempted from the Theft Prevention 
Standard for a given model year. 49 CFR part 543.7(f) contains 
publication requirements incident to the disposition of all part 543 
petitions. Advanced listing, including the release of future product 
nameplates, the beginning model year for which the petition is granted 
and a general description of the antitheft device is necessary in order 
to notify law enforcement agencies of new vehicle lines exempted from 
the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard.
    If Honda decides not to use the exemption for this line, it must 
formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must 
be fully marked according to the requirements under 49 CFR parts 541.5 
and 541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if Honda wishes in the future to modify the device 
on which this exemption is based, the company may have to submit a 
petition to modify the exemption. Part 543.7(d) states that a part 543 
exemption applies only to vehicles that belong to a line exempted under 
this part and equipped with the antitheft device on which the line's 
exemption is based. Further, part 543.9(c)(2) provides for the 
submission of petitions ``to modify an exemption to permit the use of 
an antitheft device similar to but differing from the one specified in 
that exemption.''
    The agency wishes to minimize the administrative burden that part 
543.9(c)(2) could place on exempted vehicle manufacturers and itself. 
The agency did not intend in drafting part 543 to require the 
submission of a modification petition for every change to the 
components or design of an antitheft device. The significance of many 
such changes could be de minimis. Therefore, NHTSA suggests that if the 
manufacturer contemplates making any changes, the effects of which 
might be characterized as de minimis, it should consult the agency 
before preparing and submitting a petition to modify.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 
1.95.

Raymond R. Posten,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2017-09512 Filed 5-10-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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