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Pirelli Tire LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Pirelli

Pirelli Tire LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
November 9, 2010

[Federal Register: November 9, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 216)]
[Notices]               
[Page 68855-68856]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr09no10-103]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0142; Notice 1]

 
Pirelli Tire LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Pirelli Tire LLC (Pirelli) \1\ has determined that approximately 
30,881 Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S and Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico replacement 
tires produced between September 1, 2007, and February 26, 2009, do not 
fully comply with the tire labeling requirements of paragraphs S5.5 and 
S7.3 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New 
Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. On March 12, 2010, Pirelli 
filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ Pirelli Tire LLC is a manufacturer and importer of 
replacement equipment that is organized under the laws of the State 
of Georgia.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Pirelli petitioned for an exemption from the 
notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the 
basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety. Specifically, Pirelli submitted the original petition, dated 
March 12, 2010, and a supplement to the original petition dated April 
12, 2010.
    This notice of receipt of Pirelli's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    Pirelli estimated that 30,881 \2\ Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S and 
Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico replacement tires produced between September 
1, 2007, and February 26, 2009, in the tire sizes indicated in the 
following table have the subject noncompliance.
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    \2\ Pirelli's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt Pirelli as replacement 
equipment manufacturer from the notification and recall 
responsibilities of 49 CFR Part 573 for 30,881 of the affected 
tires. However, the agency cannot relieve Pirelli's 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 Pirelli 
recognized that the subject noncompliance existed. Those tires must 
be brought into conformance, exported, or destroyed.

P245/45ZR17 95W, Pzero Nero M+S
P235/45ZR17 94W, Pzero Nero M+S
P235/40ZR18 91W, Pzero Nero M+S
P215/35ZR18 84W, Pzero Nero M+S
P215/35ZR19 85W, Pzero Nero M+S
265/35ZR22 102W Extra Load, Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico
295/30ZR22 103W Extra Load, Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico
305/35ZR23 111W Extra Load, Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico
265/45ZR20 108W Extra Load, Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico

Paragraphs S5.5 and S7.3 of FMVSS No. 139 require in pertinent part:

    S5.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in paragraphs (a) 
through (i) of S5.5, each tire must be marked on each sidewall with 
the information specified in S5.5(a) through (d) and on one sidewall 
with the information specified in S5.5(e) through (i) according to 
the phase-in schedule specified in S7 of this standard. The markings 
must be placed between the maximum section width and the bead on at 
least one sidewall, unless the maximum section width of the tire is 
located in an area that is not more than one-fourth of the distance 
from the bead to the shoulder of the tire. If the maximum section 
width falls within that area, those markings must appear between the 
bead and a point one-half the distance from the bead to the shoulder 
of the tire, on at least one sidewall. The markings must be in 
letters and numerals not less than 0.078 inches high and raised 
above or sunk below the tire surface not less than 0.015 inches.
    S5.5.1 Tire identification number. (a) Tires manufactured before 
September 1, 2009. Each tire must be labeled with the tire 
identification number required by 49 CFR part 574 on a sidewall of 
the tire. Except for retreaded tires, either the tire identification 
number or a partial tire identification number, containing all 
characters in the tire identification number, except for the date 
code and, at the discretion of the manufacturer, any optional code, 
must be labeled on the other sidewall of the tire.
    (b) Tires manufactured on or after September 1, 2009. Each tire 
must be labeled with the tire identification number required by 49 
CFR part 574 on the intended outboard sidewall of the tire. Except 
for retreaded tires, either the tire identification number or a 
partial tire identification number, containing all characters in the 
tire identification number, except for the date code and, at the 
discretion of the manufacturer, any optional code, must be labeled 
on the other sidewall of the tire. Except for retreaded tires, if a 
tire does not have an intended outboard sidewall, the tire must be 
labeled with the tire identification number required by 49 CFR part 
574 on one sidewall and with either the tire identification number 
or a partial tire identification number, containing all characters 
in the tire identification number except for the date code and, at 
the discretion of the manufacturer, any optional code, on the other 
sidewall * * *
    S7.3 Tires manufactured on or after September 1, 2007. Each tire 
must comply with S4, S5.5, S5.5.1, S5.5.2, S5.5.3, S5.5.4, S5.5.5, 
and S5.5.6 of this standard.

    Pirelli described the noncompliance as the absence of either the 
complete or partial tire identification number (TIN) on the inner tire 
sidewall as required by paragraphs S5.5 and S7.3 of FMVSS No. 139.
    Pirelli argues that because all of the affected tires have an 
asymmetric tread pattern, they can only be correctly installed with the 
intended outer sidewall facing the outside of the vehicle. Pirelli also 
points out that asymmetric tires represent a very small percentage of 
the overall tire market.
    Pirelli explained that all of the affected tires are stenciled on 
the intended outside sidewall with the lettering OUTER in four 
different languages (English, French, German and Italian).
    Pirelli further explained that the non-compliance was identified on 
February 26, 2010, during an inspection of mold branding at the plant 
that produced the subject tires. Pirelli then examined related 
production records in order to accurately identify the specific 
noncompliant tires. All molds are being modified or have been modified 
to ensure that the appropriate TIN information is contained on both 
sidewalls for future production.
    Pirelli provided the following basis of why they believe the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety:

    While the subject tires are noncompliant with paragraph S5.5 of 
FMVSS No. 139 for labeling, the noncompliance has an inconsequential 
effect on tire performance and motor vehicle safety because all of 
the affected tires meet or exceed all of the minimum performance 
requirements of FMVSS No. 139.

    In addition, the Company mentioned the existence of certain factors 
that facilitates and encourages proper

[[Page 68856]]

installation and thus provide accessibility and visibility of the full 
TIN on the outside sidewall:

    Pirelli's internal policy allows dealers to sell these 
asymmetric tires only in pairs or in groups of four. As a result, 
these replacement tires are installed either on both sides of the 
rear axle or on all four locations. The odds of even one tire being 
mounted incorrectly are extremely remote, and the odds of two or 
four tires being mounted the wrong way are even more remote.
    All subject tires are either Pzero Nero M+S or Scorpion Zero 
Asimmetrico. Both product families are ultra high performance tires; 
their asymmetric tread design is one of the main features sought by 
consumers for the following reasons: Precision handling in all 
conditions; full and compact external shoulder blocks for increased 
safety and dry handling performance; and inner shoulders designed to 
maximize traction with deeper and more regular cuts. These benefits 
are obtained only if the tires are mounted with the outer sidewall 
pointing to the outside of the vehicle. Having paid a substantial 
price to obtain these performance characteristics, the customers 
seek to ensure that their tires are installed correctly.
    Pirelli's product literature and training procedures reinforce 
the message on proper mounting.
    Pirelli provides extensive training to its authorized dealers, 
and that training focuses specifically on the need to mount 
asymmetric tires in the correct way.
    A second TIN number (on the inboard side of the tire) is not 
necessary either to ensure traceability or to allow consumers to 
operate their vehicles safely.
    Pirelli has not received a single complaint from any consumer, 
dealer, law enforcement agency, or other source that indicated any 
difficulty or problem in finding the full TIN, including the date 
code on its asymmetrical tires.
    Pirelli collects and tracks data on warranty claims for all of 
tires, including the tires at issue here. The warranty data confirm 
that these tires have performed extremely well in the field. The 
number of claims is very small, and there have been no claims 
involving property damage.

    In summation, for the reasons stated above, Pirelli believes that 
the described noncompliance concerning the tire labeling requirements 
of paragraphs S5.5 and S7.3 of FMVSS No. 139 is inconsequential and 
does not present a risk to motor vehicle safety. Thus, Pirelli requests 
that its petition, to exempt it from providing recall notification of 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. In the 
supplement to its petition Pirelli additionally requested that if NHTSA 
decides that a complete exemption should not be granted, that at a 
minimum, NHTSA exempt the company from standard remedy requirements. 
Rather than replacing all tires subject to any such recall, Pirelli 
suggests that it would instead issue recall notices to all end users 
who can be located. Pirelli then would have its dealers inspect the 
tires. If the tires are properly mounted, with the TINs facing the 
outside of the vehicle, the tires would be left on the vehicle. If any 
tires were found to be mounted with the outer sidewalls facing inward 
(which is extremely unlikely), the tires would be remounted in the 
appropriate way.
    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.
    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and 
notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by 
any of the following methods:
    a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    b. By hand delivery to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on 
weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm except Federal Holidays.
    c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management 
System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed 
to 1-202-493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to http://
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Dates: Comment closing date: December 9, 2010.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: November 3, 2010.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2010-28195 Filed 11-8-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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