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Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
January 7, 2011

[Federal Register: January 7, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 5)]
[Notices]               
[Page 1210-1211]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07ja11-100]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0176; Notice 1]

 
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (Mitsubishi) \1\ has 
determined that an unknown number of replacement seat belts that it 
imported do not include the installation, usage and maintenance 
instructions required by paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 209, Seat Belt Assemblies. 
Mitsubishi filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, 
Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports on October 25, 
2010.
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    \1\ Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (Mitsubishi), is 
organized under the laws of the state of California. Mitsubishi 
manufactures and imports motor vehicles and replacement equipment.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Mitsubishi 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.
    This notice of receipt of Mitsubishi'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.
    Mitsubishi explained that an unknown number of nonconforming seat 
belt assemblies were sold by Mitsubishi to its authorized dealers in 
the United States for resale and replacement purposes.
    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.
    Paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 requires:

    (k) Installation instructions. A seat belt assembly, other than 
a seat belt assembly installed in a motor vehicle by an automobile 
manufacturer, shall be accompanied by an instruction sheet providing 
sufficient information for installing the assembly in a motor 
vehicle. The installation instructions shall state whether the 
assembly is for universal installation or for installation only in 
specifically stated motor vehicles, and shall include at least those 
items specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c, ``Motor Vehicle 
Seat Belt Installations,'' November 1973. If the assembly is for use 
only in specifically stated motor vehicles, the assembly shall 
either be permanently and legibly marked or labeled with the 
following statement, or the instruction sheet shall include the 
following statement:
    This seat belt assembly is for use only in [insert specific 
seating position(s), e.g., ``front right''] in [insert specific 
vehicle make(s) and model(s)].
    (l) Usage and maintenance instructions. A seat belt assembly or 
retractor shall be accompanied by written instructions for the 
proper use of the assembly, stressing particularly the importance of 
wearing the assembly snugly and properly located on the body, and on 
the maintenance [o]f the assembly and periodic inspection of all 
components. The instructions shall show the proper manner of 
threading webbing in the hardware of seat belt assemblies in which 
the webbing is not permanently fastened. Instructions for a 
nonlocking retractor shall include a caution that the webbing must 
be fully extended from the retractor during use of the seat belt 
assembly unless the retractor is attached to the free end of webbing 
which is not subjected to any tension during restraint of an 
occupant by the assembly. Instructions for Type 2a shoulder belt 
shall include a warning that the shoulder belt is not to be used 
without a lap belt.

    Mitsubishi described the noncompliance as the failure to provide 
installation, use and maintenance instructions with the seat belt 
assemblies as required in FMVSS No. 209 S4.1(k) and S4.1(l).
    Mitsubishi argues that this noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    (1) The service seat belt assemblies in question are only made 
available to Mitsubishi authorized dealerships for their use or 
subsequence resale. The Mitsubishi parts ordering system used by 
Mitsubishi dealers clearly identifies the correct service seat belt 
components for any given model/model year/seat position combination and 
the parts are unique to each seat belt and designed to assemble 
properly only in their intended application.
    (2) When ordering Mitsubishi replacement seat belt parts, the 
dealer must refer to the Mitsubishi parts catalog to identify the 
ordering part number with the information on the specific vehicle model 
type, location and model year. Each replacement seat belt assembly is 
packaged individually with a specific part number label to ensure 
shipping the correct parts. Dealers routinely confirm that the part 
received matches their order to validate that the correct parts were 
received.
    (3) Installation instructions for seat belts are readily available 
in the Mitsubishi workshop manuals. Technicians at Mitsubishi 
dealerships that replace seat belts have access to the installation 
instruction information in the workshop manual. Installers other than 
Mitsubishi dealership technicians also have seat belt installation 
information available in the workshop manuals and are available on the 
Mitsubishi Service Web site. As a result, the seat belt parts can be 
successfully installed with the information already available even 
though installation instructions were not accompanied in the 
replacement seat belt assemblies.
    (4) Instructions for proper use and maintenance are described in 
the owner's manual which is installed in each vehicle. Therefore, 
incorrect usage

[[Page 1211]]

and maintenance by the vehicle owner is highly unlikely.
    Mitsubishi is also not aware of any customer or field reports of 
replacement seat belt assemblies being incorrectly installed in the 
subject applications as a result of the absence of the installation 
instructions in the service part. Mitsubishi also is not aware of any 
reports requesting the installation instruction, which is believed to 
be indicative of the availability of this information from the other 
sources mentioned above.
    Finally, Mitsubishi has taken action to ensure that all replacement 
seat belt assemblies are packaged with the required installation 
instructions and has corrected all the replacement seat belt assemblies 
in the inventory for shipment to dealers.
    In view of the above, Mitsubishi believes that the described 
noncompliance with FMVSS No. 209 is inconsequential and does not 
present a risk to motor vehicle safety. Thus, Mitsubishi 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.
    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.
    Comment closing date: February 7, 2011.

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

    Issued on: January 3, 2011.
Claude H. Harris
Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2011-79 Filed 1-6-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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