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Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford Motor Company

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Ford C-Max

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Ford Motor Company

Joseph S. Carra
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Federal Register
March 23, 2011

[Federal Register: March 23, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 56)]
[Notices]               
[Page 16472-16474]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr23mr11-145]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

 
Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard; Ford Motor Company

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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

SUMMARY: This document grants in full the Ford Motor Company's (Ford) 
petition for an exemption of the C-MAX vehicle line in accordance with 
Sec.  543.9(c)(2) of 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from the Theft 
Prevention Standard. 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

[[Page 16473]]

the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR 
part 541). Ford requested confidential treatment for an attachment it 
submitted in support of its petition. The agency has addressed Ford's 
request for confidential treatment by letter dated March 1, 2011.

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the 2013 model year.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Carlita Ballard, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Ballard's telephone 
number is (202) 366-5222. Her fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated January 25, 2011, Ford 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR part 541) for the MY 2013 Ford C-MAX 
vehicle line. 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 an entire vehicle line.
    Under Sec.  543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant 
exemptions for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, Ford 
provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, 
and location of the components of the antitheft device for the C-MAX 
vehicle line. Ford will install its Passive Antitheft Electronic 
Immobilizer System (PATS) on the 2013 C-MAX as standard equipment. Ford 
stated that it will also offer its Intelligent Access with Push Button 
Start (IAwPB) antitheft device as optional equipment. Ford stated that 
both systems are passive, electronic immobilizer devices that use 
encrypted transponder technology with 28 trillion different possible 
electronic key codes for the PATS system and 400 million different 
possible electronic key codes for the IAwPB system. Key components of 
the PATS antitheft device will include an electronic transponder key, 
transceiver module, ignition lock, and a passive immobilizer. Key 
components of the IAwPB device is an electronic keyfob, remote function 
actuator, body control module, power train control module and a passive 
immobilizer. Ford stated that its MY 2013 C-MAX vehicle line will also 
be equipped with several other standard antitheft features common to 
Ford vehicles, (i.e., counterfeit resistant VIN labels; secondary VINs, 
hood release inside vehicle, and cabin accessibility through the use of 
a valid key fob or keycode). Ford further stated that its C-MAX 
vehicles will also be available with an optional perimeter alarm 
system. The perimeter alarm system will utilize both an audible and 
visible alarm if unauthorized access is attempted. Ford'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.
    Ford stated that the devices integration of the transponder into 
the normal operation of the ignition key assures activation of the 
system. Ford further stated that both devices are always active and 
require no other operator action. Specifically, in the PATS device, 
when the ignition key is turned to the ``start'' position, the 
transceiver module reads the ignition key code and transmits an 
encrypted message from the keycode to the control module, which then 
determines key validity and authorizes engine starting by sending a 
separate encrypted message to the powertrain control module (PCM). In 
the IAwPB device, when the ``startstop'' button is pressed, the 
transceiver module reads the key code and transmits an encrypted 
message from the keycode to the control module to determine validity 
and authorizes engine starting by sending a separate encrypted message 
to the body control module, the PEP/RFA module and the PCM. Ford 
pointed out that in addition to the programmed key, the three modules 
that must be matched to start the vehicle adds even an additional level 
of security to the IAwPB device. In both devices, if the codes do not 
match, the vehicle will be inoperable.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, Ford 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed 
device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, Ford 
conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Ford provided a 
detailed list of the tests conducted and believes that the device is 
reliable and durable since the device complied with its specified 
requirements for each test.
    Ford compared the device proposed for its vehicle line with other 
devices which NHTSA has determined to be as effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft as would compliance with the parts-
marking requirements. Ford stated that it believes that the standard 
installation of either the PATS device or the IAwPB device would be an 
effective deterrent against vehicle theft.
    Ford stated that it installed the PATS device on all MY 1996 Ford 
Mustang GT and Cobra models as standard equipment. Ford also stated 
that the PATS device was extended to the complete Ford Mustang vehicle 
line as standard equipment in MY 1997. Ford also stated that according 
to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) theft statistics, MY 1997 
Mustangs installed with the PATS device showed a 70% reduction in theft 
rate when compared to MY 1995 Mustangs. Ford also stated that the PATS 
device is currently offered as standard equipment on most of its North 
American Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles but is offered as optional 
equipment on its F-series Super Duty pickups, Econoline and Transit 
Connect vehicle. Ford stated that beginning with MY 2011, the IAwPB 
device will also be offered as standard equipment on the Lincoln MKT 
and optionally on the Lincoln MKS, MKX, Ford Taurus, Edge, Explorer, 
Focus and Fiesta vehicles.
    Ford referenced the agency's published theft rate data for the 
Volvo S60 for comparison purposes because it stated that the Ford C-MAX 
is a new vehicle and would utilize the PATS and IAwPB systems that 
would be similar to the Volvo S60 in design and architecture. Ford 
stated that the Volvo S60's theft rate is lower than the vehicle theft 
rate for all vehicles in four of the last five calendar years for which 
published data is available. Specifically, the agency's data show that 
theft rates for the Volvo S60 for MYs 2006-2008 are 1.3803, 0.6907 and 
2.3543 respectively. Using an average of 3 MYs data (2006-2008), the 
theft rate for the Volvo S60 vehicle line is well below the median at 
1.4751. Ford stated that since either the PATS device or the IAwPB 
device are the primary theft devices on Ford C-MAX vehicles, it 
believes that theft rates similar to Volvo S60 are likely to continue 
or improve in the future.
    The agency agrees that the device is substantially similar to 
devices in other vehicle lines for which the agency has already granted 
exemptions. Based on the evidence submitted by Ford, the agency 
believes that the antitheft device for the C-MAX 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).
    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

[[Page 16474]]

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 Ford has 
provided adequate reasons for its belief that the antitheft device for 
the Ford C-MAX 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 Ford provided about its device.
    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.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full Ford's 
petition for exemption for the C-MAX 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 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 Ford decides not to use the exemption for this line, it must 
formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must 
be fully marked according to the requirements under 49 CFR 541.5 and 
541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if Ford 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. Section 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, Sec.  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.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 33106; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50.

    Issued on: March 17, 2011.
Joseph S. Carra,
Acting Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2011-6724 Filed 3-22-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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