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Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Toyota Avalon

Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Raymond R. Posten
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
19 October 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 201 (Thursday, October 19, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48743-48744]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22657]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard; Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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SUMMARY: This document grants in full the Toyota Motor North America, 
Inc.'s, (Toyota) petition for an exemption of the Avalon vehicle line. 
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 Federal Motor 
Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard (Theft Prevention Standard).

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is applicable beginning 
with the 2019 model year (MY).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hisham Mohamed, International Policy, 
Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, W43-437, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Mr. Mohamed's phone number is (202) 
366-0307. His fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated June 19, 2017, Toyota 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard for the Avalon vehicle line beginning with MY 2019. 
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, Toyota provided a detailed description and diagram of the 
identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft 
device for the Avalon vehicle line. Toyota stated that its MY 2019 
Avalon vehicle line will be installed with a ``smart entry and start'' 
system and an engine immobilizer as standard equipment. Key components 
of the ``smart entry and start'' system device on the Avalon vehicle 
line will include, a certification electronic control unit (ECU), 
engine switch, steering lock ECU, security indicator, door control 
receiver, electrical key, an engine immobilizer and an electronic 
control module (ECM). Toyota stated that there will also be position 
switches installed on the vehicle to protect the hood and doors from 
unauthorized tampering/opening. Toyota further explained that locking 
the doors can be accomplished through use of a key, wireless switch or 
its smart entry system, and that unauthorized tampering with the hood 
or door without using one of these methods will cause the position 
switches to trigger its antitheft device to operate. Toyota stated that 
it will not incorporate an audible and visual alarm system as standard 
equipment on its trim-line vehicles.
    Toyota'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, 
Toyota provided information on the reliability and durability of its 
proposed device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, 
Toyota conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Toyota 
provided a detailed list of the tests conducted (i.e., high and low 
temperature operation, overvoltage, strength, impact, vibration, 
electro-magnetic interference, etc.). Toyota stated that it believes 
that its device is reliable and durable because it complied with its 
own specific design standards and the antitheft device is installed on 
other vehicle lines for which the agency has granted a parts-marking 
exemption. As an additional measure of reliability and durability, 
Toyota stated that its vehicle key cylinders are covered with casting 
cases to prevent the key cylinder from easily being broken. Toyota 
further explained that there are approximately 10,000 combinations for 
inner cut keys which makes it difficult to unlock the doors without 
using a valid key because the key cylinders would spin out and cause 
the locks to not operate.
    Toyota stated that its ``smart entry and start system'' device is 
activated when the engine switch is pushed from the

[[Page 48744]]

``ON'' ignition status to any other status. The certification ECU then 
performs the calculation for the immobilizer and the immobilizer 
signals the ECM to activate the device. Toyota also stated that key 
verification is also performed after the driver pushes the engine 
switch. Specifically, after the driver pushes the engine switch, the 
certification ECU and steering lock ECU receive confirmation of a valid 
key, and the certification ECU allows the ECM to start the engine. 
Toyota also stated that in the ``smart entry and start system'' 
installed vehicle, a security indicator notifies the users and others 
inside and outside the vehicle with the status of the immobilizer. 
Toyota further explained that the security indicator flashes 
continuously when the immobilizer is activated, and turns off when it 
is deactivated.
    Toyota stated that the proposed antitheft device has also been 
installed as standard equipment on its Avalon vehicle line beginning 
with its MY 2015 vehicles. The theft rate for the MY 2015 Avalon 
vehicle line is not available. However, Toyota compared its proposed 
device to other devices NHTSA has determined to be as effective in 
reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as would compliance with the 
parts-marking requirements. Toyota compared its proposed device to that 
which has been installed on the Nissan Altima and granted a parts-
marking exemption from 49 CFR part 541 by the agency beginning with its 
MY 2000 vehicles. Toyota also referenced the NHTSA theft rate data 
published for several years before and after the Nissan Altima was 
equipped with a standard immobilizer device. Specifically, Toyota 
stated that the publication showed that the average theft rate for the 
Nissan Altima dropped to 3.0 per 1,000 cars produced between MY's 2000-
2006 compared to 5.3 per 1,000 cars produced between MY's 1996-1999. 
This represents approximately a 43% decrease in the theft rate for the 
Nissan Altima vehicle line installed with an immobilizer between MY's 
2000-2006 as compared to the Nissan Altima vehicle line without an 
immobilizer between MY's 1996-1999. The theft rates for the Nissan 
Altima vehicle line using an average of three model years' data (2012-
2014) are 2.4207, 1.7598 and 2.1212 respectively, all well below the 
median theft rate of 3.5826. Therefore, Toyota has concluded that the 
antitheft device proposed for its Avalon vehicle line is no less 
effective than those devices on the lines for which NHTSA has already 
granted full exemption from the parts-marking requirements. Toyota 
stated that it believes that installing the immobilizer device as 
standard equipment reduces the theft rate for the Avalon vehicle line 
and expects it to experience comparable effectiveness and ultimately be 
more effective than parts-marking labels.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by Toyota on its device, 
the agency believes that the antitheft device for the Avalon 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 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 Toyota has provided adequate reasons for its belief that the 
antitheft device for the Avalon 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 Toyota 
provided about its device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full 
Toyota's petition for exemption for the Avalon 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 Toyota decides not to use the exemption for this line, it should 
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 Toyota 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. 2017-22657 Filed 10-18-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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