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Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Daimler AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Daimler AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
January 25, 2011

[Federal Register: January 25, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 16)]
[Notices]               
[Page 4421-4422]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr25ja11-136]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0178; Notice 1]

 
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Daimler AG, Receipt of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (MBUSA) \1\ on behalf of itself and on 
behalf of its parent company Daimler AG (DAG) has determined that 
certain 2002-2009 G-Class multipurpose vehicles, equipped with headlamp 
grill shields, that were manufactured from September 2002 through 
August 2008, fail to meet the requirements of paragraph S7.8.5 of 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, 
Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment. MB has filed an 
appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports, dated September 27, 2010.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (MBUSA), is organized under the laws 
of the state of Delaware. MBUSA is the importer of the subject 
vehicles and Daimler AG is the manufacturer of the vehicles. Daimler 
AG is organized under the laws of Germany.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), MBUSA 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 MB'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.
    MBUSA estimates that approximately 1,938 2002-2009 G-Class 
multipurpose passenger vehicles equipped with headlamp grill shields 
are affected. The vehicles were manufactured by its parent company DAG 
from September 2002 through August 2008.
    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

[[Page 4422]]

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.
    Paragraph S7.8.5 of FMVSS No. 108 requires:

    S7.8.5 When activated in a steady-burning state, headlamps shall 
not have any styling ornament or other feature, such as a 
translucent cover or grill, in front of the lens. Headlamp wipers 
may be used in front of the lens provided that the headlamp system 
is designed to conform with all applicable photometric requirements 
with the wiper stopped in any position in front of the lens. When a 
headlamp system is installed on a motor vehicle, it shall be aimable 
with at least one of the following: An externally applied aiming 
device, as specified in S7.8.5.1; an on-vehicle headlamp aiming 
device installed by the vehicle or lamp manufacturer, as specified 
in S7.8.5.2; or by visual/optical means, as specified in S7.8.5.3.

    MB described the noncompliance as the presence of protective grills 
mounted in front of the headlamps.
    In its petition MBUSA argues that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    (1) The standard does not account for a headlamp grill that does 
not pose any risk of scratching or condensation buildup, force the beam 
to pass through an additional layer of glazing, or cause deterioration 
of photometric performance due to the presence of a grill. The design 
of the G-Class grill allows full luminosity, in compliance with the 
performance requirements of FMVSS No. 108 and creates no interference 
with the normal, long-term operation of the headlamps. Accordingly, as 
with the stated exception in FMVSS No. 108 for headlamp wipers, MBUSA 
petitions that this protected safety device, like wipers, should be 
allowed on the affected vehicles.
    (2) The grills are attached with clamping screws to the vehicle 
body. The screws and grills do not touch the headlamp assemblies in any 
way, eliminating any possibility of scratching or cracking the 
headlamps. The grills also provide additional protection against 
environmental conditions to ensure long-term performance of the 
headlamps.
    (3) Rather than degrade the long term luminosity of the headlamps, 
the grills promote performance by protecting the headlamps from debris 
and other environmental conditions.
    (4) Photometric testing conducted in 2006 shows that the headlamps 
meet all performance requirements with the grills intact.
    (5) DAG also tested headlamps that had been mounted on a vehicle 
with a grill since October 2006. The photometric performance of these 
headlamps still showed no accelerated deterioration nor any other 
indications of affected use.
    (6) To date, MBUSA has received no reports of any concerns relating 
to the grills or any indications that the grills in any way interfere 
with the performance of the vehicle's lighting.
    Supported by the above stated reasons, MB believes that the 
described FMVSS No. 108 noncompliance is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety, and 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 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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 24, 2011.

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

    Issued on: January 18, 2011.
Claude H. Harris,
Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2011-1416 Filed 1-24-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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