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Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford Motor Company

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Ford EcoSport

Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford Motor Company

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


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 90 (Thursday, May 11, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22060-22061]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-09511]



[[Page 22060]]

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 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard; Ford Motor Company

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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

SUMMARY: This document grants in full the Ford Motor Company's (Ford) 
petition for exemption of the EcoSport vehicle line in accordance with 
49 CFR part 543, Exemption from the 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 49 CFR part 541, 
Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard (Theft Prevention 
Standard). Ford also requested confidential treatment for specific 
information in its petition. While official notification granting or 
denying its request for confidential treatment will be addressed by 
separate letter, no confidential information provided for purposes of 
this document has been disclosed.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Carlita Ballard, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building, Room W43-439, Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Ballard's telephone 
number is (202) 366-5222. Her fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  In a petition dated September 20, 2016, 
Ford requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the 
Theft Prevention Standard for the EcoSport 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, Ford provided a detailed description and diagram of the 
identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft 
device for its EcoSport vehicle line. Ford stated that its MY 2018 
EcoSport vehicle line will be installed with a passive electronic 
immobilizer device using encrypted transponder technology as standard 
equipment on the entire vehicle line. Along with a passive immobilizer 
device, Ford stated that the EcoSport vehicle line will be equipped 
with one of two systems, the SecuriLock/Passive Anti-Theft Electronic 
Engine Immobilizer System (SecuriLock/PATS) or the Intelligent Access 
with Push Button Start (IAwPB) Electronic Engine Immobilizer System. 
Ford stated that the SecuriLock/PATS system will be installed on all 
EcoSport trim levels except its SE and Titanium packages which will be 
installed with the IAwPB system. Specifically, Ford stated that key 
components of the SecuriLock/PATS system will include an immobilizer, 
an electronic transponder key, powertrain control module/transmission 
control module (PCM/TCM), transceiver module, ignition lock and 
instrument cluster. Key components of the IAwPB system will include a 
passive immobilizer, electronic key fob, remote function actuator/body 
control module (RFA/BCM), keyless vehicle module (KVM), and powertrain 
control module. Ford further stated that its platinum trim-packaged 
vehicles will also offer a separate perimeter alarm system as standard 
equipment. The perimeter alarm system activates a visible and audible 
alarm if unauthorized access is attempted.
    Ford'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 543.6, Ford 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed 
device. To ensure reliability and durability of the antitheft device, 
Ford conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Ford 
provided a detailed list of the tests conducted and believes that the 
antitheft device is reliable and durable since it complied with its own 
specified requirements for each test. Ford also stated that it believes 
its antitheft device is reliable and durable because it has no moving 
parts which reduces the chance for component deterioration or wear 
resulting from normal use. Additionally, Ford stated that incorporation 
of several other features in the antitheft device further support 
reliability and durability. Other features incorporated in the 
antitheft device include: Encrypted communication between the 
transponder, the instrument cluster and the PCM/TCM; numerous code 
combinations; inability to mechanically override the antitheft device 
to start the vehicle; and inability to start the vehicle by attempting 
to slam-pull the ignition lock cylinder or short the ``Start/Stop'' 
button.
    Ford stated that activation of the antitheft immobilizer device 
occurs when the ignition key is turned to the ``Start'' position on the 
SecuriLock/PATS system or the ``Start/Stop'' button is pressed on the 
IAwPB system. The transceiver module then reads the ignition keycode 
and transmits an encrypted message from the keycode to the instrument 
cluster. Once the key is validated, starting of the engine is 
authorized by sending a separate encrypted message to the powertrain 
control module/transmission control module (PCM/TCM). Deactivation of 
the SecuriLock/PATS system and the IAwPB system occurs automatically 
each time an engine start sequence occurs. Ford stated that with both 
systems, the powertrain will function only if the keycode matches the 
unique identification keycode that was previously programmed into the 
PCM/TCM or the RFA/BCM. With the IAwPB system, Ford stated that if the 
programmed key is not present in the vehicle, the engine will not 
start. Ford also stated that the IAwPB system's BCM and PCM share 
security when first installed during vehicle assembly forming matched 
modules, and if separated from each other, the matched modules will not 
function in any other vehicles.
    Ford stated that its MY 2018 EcoSport vehicle line will also be 
equipped with several other standard antitheft features common to Ford 
vehicles (i.e., hood release, counterfeit resistant VIN labels, 
secondary VINs inscribed on the vehicle body, and an exterior key lock/
pad that is located on the driver door to limit cabin access).
    Ford compared the antitheft immobilizer device proposed for its 
vehicle line to other antitheft devices which NHTSA has determined to 
be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as would 
compliance with the parts-marking requirements. Ford stated that it 
believes that the standard installation of its antitheft immobilizer 
device using either the SecuriLock/PATS or the IAwPB system would be an 
effective deterrent against vehicle theft.
    In support of its belief that its antitheft device will be as or 
more effective in reducing and deterring

[[Page 22061]]

motor vehicle theft than the parts-marking requirements, Ford stated 
that it installed the SecuriLock/PATS immobilizer device as standard 
equipment on all of its MY 1996 Ford Mustang GT and Cobra vehicle 
lines, as well as other selected models including the Ford Mustang 
vehicle line. Ford also referenced the National Insurance Crime Bureau 
(NICB) theft statistics which showed that there was a 70% reduction in 
the theft rate for the MY 1997 Ford Mustang vehicle line installed with 
the SecuriLock/PATS immobilizer device as compared to the theft rate 
for its MY 1995 Ford Mustang vehicle line not installed with the 
antitheft immobilizer device.
    Ford also reported that beginning with MY 2008, the SecuriLock/PATS 
immobilizer device was installed as standard equipment on all of its 
North American Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles except for the F-
series Super Duty, Econoline and Crown Victoria Police Interceptor 
vehicles. Ford further stated that the SecuriLock/PATS system with its 
standard equipment immobilizer device is similar in design and 
implementation to the antitheft device offered on the Ford Fusion 
vehicle line starting with the 2012 model year. Ford was granted an 
exemption for the Fusion vehicle line on January 11, 2011 by NHTSA (See 
71 FR 7824) beginning with its MY 2006 vehicles. The theft rate for the 
MY 2012 Ford Fusion using an average of three MYs' data (2011-2013) is 
1.2712. Ford also referenced theft rate data published by NHTSA showing 
that theft rates for the Ford Escape vehicle line have been gradually 
decreasing and stated that it is currently very close to the theft rate 
for all vehicles published for MY's 2008-2013. Ford stated that since 
its SecuriLock/PATS or IAwPB immobilization device will be the primary 
theft deterrents on Ford EcoSport vehicles, it believes that the very 
low theft rates are likely to continue or improve in the future. The 
theft rate for the MY 2013 Ford Escape using an average of three MYs' 
data (2011-2013) is 0.7764. There is no current theft rate data 
available for Ford's new EcoSport vehicle line.
    The agency agrees that Ford's antitheft device is substantially 
similar to antitheft devices installed on other vehicle lines for which 
the agency has already granted exemptions.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by Ford about its 
antitheft device, the agency believes that the antitheft device for the 
EcoSport 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 part 541). The 
agency concludes that the antitheft device will provide four of the 
five types of performance listed in Sec.  543.6(a)(3): Promoting 
activation; 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 Ford has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Ford EcoSport 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 part 541). This conclusion is based on the information Ford 
provided about its antitheft device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full Ford's 
petition for exemption for the EcoSport vehicle line from the parts-
marking requirements of 49 CFR part 541. 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 Ford 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 Ford wishes in the future to modify the 
immobilizer 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 
part 1.95.

Raymond R. Posten,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2017-09511 Filed 5-10-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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