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General Motors Corporation, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5

General Motors Corporation, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
November 19, 2010

[Federal Register: November 19, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 223)]
[Notices]               
[Page 70962-70963]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr19no10-112]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0003; Notice 2]

 
General Motors Corporation, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    General Motors Corporation (GM) has determined that certain Model 
Year 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 passenger cars did not fully 
comply with paragraphs S4.3(c) and S4.3(d) of 49 CFR 571.110, Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims, 
for Motor Vehicles With a GVWR of 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 pounds) or 
Less. GM has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, 
Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), GM has 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.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published with a 30-day 
public comment period, on 2/9/2009, in the Federal Register (74 FR 
6453). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System Web 
site at: http:[sol][sol]www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2009-0003.''
    For further information on this decision, contact Mr. John 
Finneran, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Telephone (202) 366-0645, 
Facsimile (202) 366-5930.
    Affected are approximately 6,619 model year 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt 
and Pontiac G5 passenger cars built from April 2008 through November 
12, 2008.
    Paragraph S4.3 of FMVSS No. 110 requires in pertinent part:

    S4.3 Placard. Each vehicle, except for a trailer or incomplete 
vehicle, shall show the information specified in S4.3(a) through 
(g), and may show, at the manufacturer's option, the information 
specified in S4.3(h) and (i), on a placard permanently affixed to 
the driver's side B-pillar. In each vehicle without a driver's side 
B-pillar and with two doors on the driver's side of the vehicle 
opening in opposite directions, the placard shall be affixed on the 
forward edge of the rear side door. If the above locations do not 
permit the affixing of a placard that is legible, visible and 
prominent, the placard shall be permanently affixed to the rear edge 
of the driver's side door. If this location does not permit the 
affixing of a placard that is legible, visible and prominent, the 
placard shall be affixed to the inward facing surface of the vehicle 
next to the driver's seating position. This information shall be in 
the English language and conform in color and format, not including 
the border surrounding the entire placard, as shown in the example 
set forth in Figure 1 in this standard. At the manufacturer's 
option, the information specified in S4.3(c), (d), and, as 
appropriate, (h) and (i) may be shown, alternatively to being shown 
on the placard, on a tire inflation pressure label which must 
conform in color and format, not including the border surrounding 
the entire label, as shown in the example set forth in Figure 2 in 
this standard. The label shall be permanently affixed and proximate 
to the placard required by this paragraph. The information specified 
in S4.3(e) shall be shown on both the vehicle placard and on the 
tire inflation pressure label (if such a label is affixed to provide 
the information specified in S4.3(c), (d), and, as appropriate, (h) 
and (i)) may be shown in the format and color scheme set forth in 
Figures 1 and 2. * * *
    (c) Vehicle manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation 
pressure for front, rear and spare tires, subject to the limitations 
of S4.3.4. For full size spare tires, the statement ``see above'' 
may, at the manufacturer's option replace manufacturer's recommended 
cold tire inflation pressure. If no spare tire is provided, the word 
``none'' must replace the manufacturer's recommended cold tire 
inflation pressure.
    (d) Tire size designation, indicated by the headings ``size'' or 
``original tire size'' or ``original size,'' and ``spare tire'' or 
``spare,'' for the tires installed at the time of the first purchase 
for purposes other than resale. For full size spare tires, the 
statement ``see above'' may, at the manufacturer's option replace 
the tire size designation. If no spare tire is provided, the word 
``none'' must replace the tire size designation; * * *

    In its petition, GM explained that the noncompliances with FMVSS 
No. 110 exist due to errors in the vehicle tire and loading information 
placards that it affixed to the vehicles. GM explains that

[[Page 70963]]

the subject vehicles were originally designed to be equipped with spare 
tires as standard equipment. The vehicle owner's manuals and tire and 
information placards included all required information associated with 
the spare tire equipped vehicles. When a production change substituted 
a Tire Sealant and Compressor Kit (inflator kit) for the spare tire, 
the vehicle tire and information placards should have been revised to 
comply with paragraphs S4.3(c) and S4.3(d) of FMVSS No. 110, but were 
not.
    GM described the noncompliances as the following errors on the tire 
and loading information placard:

    (1) The tire size designation shows a spare tire size 
appropriate for the subject vehicles instead of the word ``none''.
    (2) The manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation pressure 
shows inflation pressure appropriate for the subject spare tire 
instead of the word ``none''.

    GM also stated that all other information (front and rear tire size 
designations and their respective cold tire inflation pressures as well 
as seating capacity and vehicle capacity weight) on the subject 
placards is correct and that it was not aware of any field or owner 
complaints associated with these noncompliances.
    GM additionally stated that it believes that this noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:

    (1) All information required for maintaining and/or replacing 
the front and rear tires, as well as the seating capacity and 
vehicle capacity weight are correct on the tire and loading 
information placard on the subject vehicles.
    (2) The vehicle price label (a.k.a., the Monroney label) has the 
correct information, whether the vehicle is equipped with an 
inflator kit or a spare tire. Therefore, original purchase owners 
should already know if their vehicle is equipped with an inflator 
kit in place of a spare tire.
    (3) In addition to the FMVSS No. 138 required owner's manual 
language of checking the inflation pressures of all tires including 
the spare monthly, the owner's manual also recommends the owner to 
check the tires including the compact spare once a month or more. 
The tire information placard on the subject vehicles contains spare 
tire size and recommended cold tire inflation pressure instead of 
the word ``none'' as required by FMVSS No. 110. The inflator kit is 
located in the same location where a spare tire would be for 
vehicles ordered with an optional spare tire. Therefore, if an owner 
were to look for the spare tire, he/she would find the inflator kit, 
and realize that the vehicle is equipped with an inflator kit 
instead of a spare tire.
    (4) In the event of a flat tire, the inflator kit serves the 
purpose of getting back on the road. Since the inflator kit is 
located in the same location as the spare tire, the customer should 
have no problem finding it. The owner's manual provides the 
instructions for using the inflator kit as well as installing the 
spare tire. There is a label with instructions on the sealant 
canister of the inflator kit as well.
    (5) The inflator kit includes a tire sealant canister, an air 
compressor as well as a pressure gage in one unit. The inflator kit 
can be used to inflate one or more tires regardless whether the 
vehicle has a punctured tire or not. The sealant of the GM sealant 
canister does not damage the TPMS pressure sensor, and the TPMS 
continues to function.
    (6) OnStar e-mail service subscribers get monthly reminders on 
tire pressure maintenance, including the recommended cold tire 
inflation pressures and status of their tire pressures.
    (7) Risk to the public is negligible because the vehicle does 
have an inflator kit.
    (8) GM is not aware of any incidents or injuries related to the 
subject condition.

    GM also has informed NHTSA that it has corrected the problem that 
caused these errors so that they will not be repeated in future 
production.
    In summation, GM states that it believes that the noncompliances 
are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and that no corrective 
action is warranted.

NHTSA Decision

    The agency agrees with GM that the noncompliances are 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The agency believes that the 
true measure of inconsequentiality to motor vehicle safety in this case 
is that there is no effect of the noncompliances on the operational 
safety of the subject vehicles in which the vehicle tire and loading 
information placards erroneously indicated that a spare tire was 
available when, in fact, a tire inflator kit was installed in lieu of 
the spare tire.
    In the agency's judgment, this noncompliance to FMVSS No. 110 will 
have an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because:
    In the event of a flat tire, the inflator kit serves the purpose of 
getting back on the road. Since the inflator kit is located in the same 
location as the spare tire, the customer should have no problem finding 
it. The owner's manual provides the instructions for using the inflator 
kit as well as installing a spare tire, should one become available. 
There is a label with use instructions on the sealant canister of the 
inflator kit as well.
    Additionally, all information required for maintaining and/or 
replacing the front and rear tires (i.e., tire size designations and 
their respective cold tire inflation pressures), as well as the seating 
capacity and vehicle capacity weight are correct on the tire and 
loading information placard on the subject vehicles.
    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that GM has 
met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 10 labeling 
noncompliances are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, GM's petition is granted and the petitioner is exempted 
from the obligation of providing notification of, and a remedy for, the 
subject noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

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

    Issued on: November 15, 2010.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2010-29170 Filed 11-18-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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