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Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; BMW of North America, LLC

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  BMW X2

Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; BMW of North America, LLC

Raymond R. Posten
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
21 June 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 118 (Wednesday, June 21, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28376-28378]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-12882]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard; BMW of North America, LLC

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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

SUMMARY: This document grants in full the BMW of North America, LLC's 
(BMW) petition for exemption of the X2 vehicle line in accordance with 
49 CFR 543, Exemption from the Theft

[[Page 28377]]

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 541, Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard (Theft Prevention Standard). BMW 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 March 13, 2017, BMW 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard for the X2 vehicle line beginning with MY 2018. The 
petition requested an exemption from parts-marking pursuant to 49 CFR 
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 543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant 
an exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, BMW 
provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, 
and location of the components of the antitheft device for its X2 
vehicle line. Key features of the antitheft device will include a 
passive immobilizer, a remote control w/mechanical key, ring antenna 
(transponder coil), low frequency antenna (LF) engine control unit 
(DME/DDE) with encoded start release input, and an electronically coded 
vehicle immobilizer/car access system (EWS/CAS) control unit. BMW 
stated that its X2 vehicle line will be installed with a passive 
vehicle immobilizer device as standard equipment and that it will 
prevent the vehicle from being driven away under its own engine power. 
BMW also stated that it will not offer an audible or visible alarm 
feature on the proposed device.
    BMW'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 Part 543.6, BMW 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its device. 
To ensure reliability and durability of the device, BMW stated that it 
conducted tests on the antitheft device which complied with its own 
specific standards and the device is installed on other vehicle lines 
for which the agency has granted a parts-marking exemption. BMW stated 
that its immobilizer device fulfills the requirements of European 
vehicle insurance companies. BMW further address the reliability and 
durability of its device by providing information on the uniqueness of 
its mechanical keys for the X2 vehicle line. Specifically, BMW stated 
that the vehicle's mechanical keys are unique because they require a 
special key blank, cutting machine and a unique vehicle code to allow 
for key duplication. BMW further stated that the new keys will only be 
issued to authorized persons and will incorporate special guide-way 
millings, making the locks almost impossible to pick and the keys 
impossible to duplicate on the open market.
    BMW stated that activation of its immobilizer device occurs 
automatically when the engine is shut off and the vehicle key is 
removed from the ignition lock cylinder. Specifically, BMW stated that 
its transponder sends key data to the EWS/CAS control unit. The correct 
key data must be recognized by the EWS/CAS control unit in order for 
deactivation to occur and for the vehicle to start. The transponder 
contains a chip which is integrated in the key and powered by a 
battery. The transponder also consists of a transmitter/receiver which 
communicates with the EWS/CAS control unit. The EWS/CAS control unit 
provides the interface to the loop antenna (coil), engine control unit 
and starter. The ignition and fuel supply are only released when a 
correct coded release signal has been sent by the EWS/CAS control unit 
to deactivate the device and allow the vehicle to start. When the EWS/
CAS control unit has sent a correct release signal, and after the 
initial starting value, the release signal becomes a rolling, ever-
changing, random code that is stored in the DME/DDE and EWS/CAS control 
units. The DME/DDE must identify the correct release signal to release 
the ignition signal and fuel supply.
    BMW stated that the vehicle is also equipped with a central-locking 
system that can be operated to lock and unlock all doors or to unlock 
only the driver's door, thereby preventing forced entry into the 
vehicle through the passenger doors. The vehicle can be further secured 
by locking the doors and hood using either the key lock cylinder on the 
driver's door or the remote frequency remote control. BMW stated that 
the frequency for the remote control constantly changes to prevent an 
unauthorized person from opening the vehicle by intercepting the 
signals of its remote control.
    BMW further stated that all of its vehicles are currently equipped 
with antitheft devices as standard equipment, including its X2 vehicle 
line. BMW compared the effectiveness of its antitheft device with 
devices which NHTSA has previously determined to be as effective in 
reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as would compliance with the 
parts-marking requirements of Part 541. Specifically, BMW has installed 
its antitheft device on its X1 (MPV and passenger cars), X3, X4 and X5 
vehicle lines, as well as its Carline 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Z4, MINI and 
MINI Countryman vehicle lines, all which have been granted parts-
marking exemptions by the agency. BMW asserts that theft data have 
indicated a decline in theft rates for vehicle lines that have been 
equipped with antitheft devices similar to that which it proposes to 
install on the X2 vehicle line. BMW also stated that for MY/CY 2013, 
the agency's data show that the theft rates for its lines are: 0.34 (1-
series), 0.69 (3-series), 1.26 (5-series), 2.47 (6-series) 1.66 (7-
series), 0.24 (X1), 0.68 (X3), 2.02 (Z4), and 0.32 (MINI Cooper). Using 
an average of 3 MYs data (2011-2013), NHTSA's theft rates for BMW's 1 
series, 3 series, 5 series, 6 series, 7 series, X1, X3, Z4 and MINI 
Cooper vehicle lines are 0.4954, 0.6581, 0.9935, 2.8054, 1.4711, 
0.2356, 0.4961, 1.2843 and 0.3385 respectively, all below the median 
theft rate of 3.5826.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by BMW, the agency 
believes that the antitheft device for the BMW X2 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 
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

[[Page 28378]]

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 
supporting 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 BMW has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the X2 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 BMW provided 
about its device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full BMW's 
petition for exemption for the MY 2018 X2 vehicle line from the parts-
marking requirements of 49 CFR part 541. The agency notes that 49 CFR 
541, Appendix A-1, identifies those lines that are exempted from the 
Theft Prevention Standard for a given MY. 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 BMW 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 as required by 49 CFR parts 541.5 and 541.6 (marking of 
major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if BMW 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, Sec.  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 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. 2017-12882 Filed 6-20-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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