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Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Continental

Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Michael A. Cole
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
30 July 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 146 (Monday, July 30, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 36668-36670]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-16153]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0040; Notice 2]


Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Grant of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA), has determined that 
certain Continental brand tires do not fully comply with Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for 
Light Vehicles. CTA filed a noncompliance report dated March 31, 2017, 
and later revised it on February 23, 2018. CTA also petitioned NHTSA on 
April 27, 2017, and amended it on June 28, 2017, for a decision that 
the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor 
vehicle safety.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Abraham Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Compliance, NHTSA, telephone (202) 366-5310, facsimile (202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    1. Overview: CTA has determined that certain Continental brand 
tires do not fully comply with paragraphs S5.5(e) and S5.5(f) of FMVSS 
No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles (49 CFR 
571.139). CTA filed a noncompliance report dated March 31, 2017, and 
later revised it on February 23, 2018, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, 
Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. CTA also 
petitioned NHTSA on April 27, 2017, and amended it on June 28, 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.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on September 29, 2017, in the Federal Register 
(82 FR 45661). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) website at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2017-0040.''
    II. Tires Involved: Approximately 111,500 of the following 
Continental brand tires, manufactured between December 2, 2012, and 
March 25, 2017, are potentially involved:

 XL Continental CrossContact UHP size 255/55R18 109Y
 Barum Brillantis 2 size 175/70R13 82T
 Continental ContiTrac size P225/70R15 100S
 XL General Grabber UHP size 275/55R20 117V
 Continental ExtremeContact DWS size 285/30ZR20 99W XL
 Continental CrossContact LX20 size 245/55R19 103S
 XL Continental CrossContact LX20 size 285/45R 114H
 General Altimax RT43 size 215/45R17 87V

    III. Noncompliance: CTA states that the noncompliance is due to 
mold errors, and that as a result, the number of tread plies indicated 
on the sidewall of the subject tires do not match the actual number of 
plies in the tire construction and in one tire model the

[[Page 36669]]

ply material was incorrect, as required by paragraphs S5.5(e) and 
S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139. Specifically, below is a list of the subject 
tires with the labeling as marked (Marked) and how the sidewall should 
have been marked (Actual):

 XL Continental Cross Contact UHP size 255/55R18 109Y
--Marked: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 RAYON + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE''
--Actual: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 RAYON + 2 STEEL + 1 POLYAMIDE''
 Barum Brillantis 2 size 175/70R13 82T
--Marked: ``TREAD 4 PLIES: 1 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 1 POLYAMIDE''
--Actual: ``TREAD 5 PLIES: 1 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE''
 Continental ContiTrac size P225/70R15 100S
--Marked: ``TREAD 4 PLIES: 2 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL''
--Actual: ``TREAD 5 PLIES: 2 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 1 POLYAMIDE''
 XL General Grabber UHP size 275/55R20 117V
--Marked: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE SIDEWALL: 
2 POLYESTER''
--Actual: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 RAYON + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE SIDEWALL: 2 
RAYON''
 Continental ExtremeContact DWS size 285/30ZR20 99W
--Marked: ``PLIES: TREAD: 1 RAYON + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE''
--Actual: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 RAYON + 2 STEEL + 1 POLYAMIDE''
 Continental CrossContact LX20 size 245/55R19 103S
--Marked: ``PLIES: TREAD: 1 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE''
--Actual: ``PLIES: TREAD: 1 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 1 POLYAMIDE''
 XL Continental CrossContact LX20 size 285/45R22 114H
--Marked: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE''
--Actual: ``PLIES: TREAD: 1 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE''
 General Altimax RT43 size 215/45R17 87V
--Marked: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 1 POLYAMIDE''
--Actual: ``PLIES: TREAD: 2 POLYESTER + 2 STEEL + 2 POLYAMIDE''

    IV. Rule Text: Paragraphs S5.5(e) and S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139 
include the requirements relevant to this petition:
     Each tire must be marked on each sidewall with the 
information specified in paragraphs S5.5(a) through (d) and on one 
sidewall with the information specified in paragraphs S5.5(e) through 
(i) according to the phase-in schedule specified in paragraph S7.
     Must include the generic name of each cord material used 
in the plies (both sidewall and tread area) of the tire. S5.5(e)
     Must state the actual number of plies in the sidewall, and 
the actual number of plies in the tread area, if different. S5.5(f)
    V. Summary of CTA's Petition: CTA 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, CTA submitted the following reasoning:
    (a) The tires covered by this petition are labeled with incorrect 
information regarding the number of tread plies and in two cases, the 
incorrect and/or missing ply material. However, this mislabeling has no 
impact on the operational performance of these tires or on the safety 
of vehicles on which these tires are mounted. The subject tires meet or 
exceed all of the performance requirements specified by FMVSS No. 139.
    (b) NHTSA has concluded in response to numerous other petitions 
that this type of noncompliance is inconsequential to safety.
    (c) CTA cited three petitions\1\ that NHTSA has previously granted 
and noted that on several occasions NHTSA has stated:

    \1\ Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, 82 FR 17075 (April 7, 2017); 
Nitto Tire USA, Inc., 81FR 17764 (April 30, 2016); Hankook Tire 
America Corp., 79 FR 30688 (May 28, 2014); Bridgestone 78 FR 47049 
(August 2, 2013).
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    In the agency's judgment, the incorrect labeling of the tire 
construction information will have an inconsequential effect on 
motor vehicle safety because most consumers do not base tire 
purchases or vehicle operation parameters on the ply material in a 
tire.

    (d) All tires covered by this petition meet or exceed the 
performance requirements of FMVSS No. 139, as well as the other 
labeling requirements of the standard.
    (e) CTA is not aware of any crashes, injuries, customer complaints, 
or field reports associated with the mislabeling.
    (f) CTA has quarantined all existing inventory of these tires that 
contain the noncompliant tire sidewall labeling.
    (g) CTA has corrected the molds at the manufacturing plant, so no 
additional tires will be manufactured with the noncompliance.
    CTA 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.
    CTA's complete petition and all supporting documents are available 
by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at: 
https://www.regulations.gov and following the online search 
instructions to locate the docket number listed in the title of this 
notice.

NHTSA's Analysis

    The agency agrees with CTA that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. NHTSA believes that one 
measure of inconsequentiality to motor vehicle safety, in this case, is 
that there is no effect of the noncompliance on the operational safety 
of vehicles on which these tires are mounted. The safety of people 
working in the tire retread, repair and recycling industries must also 
be considered and is a measure of inconsequentiality.
    Although tire construction affects the strength and durability of 
tires, neither the agency nor the tire industry provides information 
relating tire strength and durability to the number of plies and types 
of ply cord material in the tread sidewall. Therefore, tire dealers and 
customers should consider the tire construction information along with 
other information such as the load capacity, maximum inflation 
pressure, and tread wear, temperature, and traction ratings, to assess 
performance capabilities of various tires. In the agency's judgement, 
the incorrect labeling of the tire construction information will have 
an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because most 
consumers do not base tire purchases or vehicle operation parameters on 
the number of plies in a tire.
    The agency also believes the noncompliance will have no measureable 
effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling 
industries. The use of steel cord construction in the sidewall and 
tread is the primary safety concern of these industries. In this case, 
since the tire sidewalls are marked correctly for the number of steel 
plies, this potential safety concern does not exist.

NHTSA's Decision

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that CTA has met its

[[Page 36670]]

burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 139 noncompliance in 
the affected tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, CTA's petition is hereby granted and CTA is consequently 
exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, and a free 
remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    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, this decision 
only applies to the subject tires that CTA no longer controlled at the 
time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the 
granting of this petition does not relieve equipment distributors and 
dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or 
introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of 
the noncompliant tires under their control after CTA 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).

Michael A. Cole,
Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2018-16153 Filed 7-27-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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