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Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention; Procedures for Selecting Lines Subject to Theft Prevention Standard

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention; Procedures for Selecting Lines Subject to Theft Prevention Standard

Christopher A. Hart
Federal Register
April 26, 1994

[Federal Register: April 26, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 542

[Docket No. 93--53; Notice 2]
RIN 2127-AE67

 
Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention; Procedures for Selecting Lines 
Subject to Theft Prevention Standard

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This final rule amends the procedures for the selection of new 
passenger motor vehicle lines that are likely to be high theft lines. 
For all Model Year (MY) 1997 and later vehicles, manufacturers must, 15 
months in advance of the model year of introduction, inform NHTSA about 
new motor vehicle lines that the manufacturers plan to introduce for 
sale. Manufacturers must include an analysis whether the new line is 
likely to be a high or low theft line. The effect of this final rule is 
to make the procedures consistent with statutory requirements.

DATES: Effective date: This final rule is effective May 26, 1994.
    Petitions for Reconsideration: Petitions for reconsideration of 
this final rule must be received by NHTSA no later than May 26, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration of this final rule should 
refer to the docket number and notice number cited in the heading of 
this notice and be submitted to: Administrator, National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 
20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Barbara A. Gray, Office of Market 
Incentives, NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. 
Gray's telephone number is (202) 366-1740.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984

    The Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-
547) (Theft Act), added title VI to the Motor Vehicle Information and 
Cost Savings Act (Cost Savings Act). Pursuant to title VI, NHTSA 
promulgated 49 CFR part 541, titled ``Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard.'' Part 541 establishes performance requirements 
for inscribing or affixing identification numbers onto certain major 
original equipment and replacement parts of high theft lines of 
passenger motor vehicles.
    Section 603(a)(2) of title VI states that the specific lines, and 
the major parts of the vehicles within such lines, that are to be 
subject to the theft prevention standard may be selected by agreement 
between a manufacturer and the agency. If the agency and manufacturer 
disagree as to the selection, the selection is made by the agency, 
after providing notice to the manufacturer and an opportunity for 
written comment.
    Section 603(c) states that NHTSA ``shall, by rule, require each 
manufacturer to provide information necessary to select pursuant to 
subsection (a)(2) the high theft lines and major parts to be subject to 
the standard.'' (Emphasis added.) However, as promulgated on August 28, 
1985 (50 FR 34831), the agency's regulations regarding the selection of 
high theft lines did not require the submission of such information. 
Those regulations, which are contained in part 542, simply set forth 
the procedures to be followed by those manufacturers which voluntarily 
choose to provide the information and to participate in the selection 
process.
    Since the establishment of part 542, some manufacturers have not 
consistently notified the agency about the introduction of new lines 
within the specified time frame of 18 to 24 months before introduction 
of each new line. On occasion, delayed notification by manufacturers 
has prevented the agency from making its preliminary determination 
sufficiently in advance of the introduction of such lines to permit 
application of the theft prevention standard to those lines during 
their introductory model year. To be subject to the standard in its 
introductory year, a line must be finally selected as high theft not 
less than 6 months before the beginning of that model year.
    In some instances, the agency has had to act on its own initiative 
by anticipating the introduction of new lines and making high theft/low 
theft determinations because the manufacturers did not notify the 
agency within the specified period of 18 to 24 months before the 
introduction of their new lines. In making these determinations, the 
agency has relied on reports in the trade press about planned 
introductions of new lines. Notwithstanding the absence of notification 
from the manufacturers, the manufacturers objected to this practice, 
viewing such agency initiative as an attempt to second guess them about 
the timing of the introduction of new model lines, or to reduce their 
opportunity to provide input regarding the determination.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    On July 21, 1993, NHTSA published in the Federal Register a notice 
of proposed rulemaking to amend part 542 (See 58 FR 38999). In order to 
solve the problem of manufacturers' late notification of the agency 
about new lines, the agency proposed to implement section 603(c) of the 
Cost Savings Act. Under the proposal, each manufacturer would be 
required to provide, for each of its newly planned lines, its 
determination whether the line was likely high or low theft, and 
include a discussion of how it applied the criteria set forth in 
appendix C of part 541, in arriving at its determination. The appendix 
C criteria are: Price; vehicle image; lines competitive with the new 
line; line(s) the new line is intended to replace; presence of any 
antitheft devices; preliminary theft data for the line, if available. 
The agency also proposed that a manufacturer be required to submit such 
information not less than 18 months before introduction of the planned 
line.
    In the NPRM, NHTSA stated it believed that requiring manufacturers 
to submit the necessary information would provide the agency with more 
timely submissions of accurate and up-to-date data to evaluate. This 
would enable the agency to select more effectively and efficiently (by 
agreement with the manufacturer, if possible) those new lines likely to 
have a high theft rate. Also, since the information would be provided 
timely and directly to the agency by the manufacturer, the agency 
presumably would no longer need to rely upon the trade press accounts.
    In order to provide manufacturers with lead time to comply with the 
new mandatory procedures, the agency proposed to continue to permit 
voluntary submission of information for lines that are introduced 
before model year 1997, and require compliance with the mandatory 
procedures for those lines introduced in model year 1997 and subsequent 
model years. The agency made similar proposals regarding the voluntary 
and mandatory submission of information with respect to low theft new 
lines with a majority of major parts interchangeable with those of a 
high theft line.
    NHTSA also proposed to remove outdated procedures from part 542. 
The procedures were applicable to lines introduced before April 24, 
1986, the effective date of the theft prevention standard.
    Finally, in the NPRM, NHTSA noted that because of passage of the 
``Anti Car Theft Act of 1992'' (ACTA), changes must be made in NHTSA's 
and manufacturers' evaluation procedures for low theft lines with major 
parts interchangeable with major parts of a high theft line. ACTA's 
passage redefined ``passenger motor vehicle,'' for title VI purposes, 
to include ``any multipurpose passenger vehicle and light-duty truck 
that is rated at 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less.'' (See 
section 601(1) of title VI.) ACTA's passage did not necessitate changes 
to part 542's regulatory text.

Public Comments and NHTSA Response

    In response to the NPRM, NHTSA received comments from four parties: 
The Chrysler Corporation (Chrysler); the Ford Motor Company (Ford); the 
National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) and Volkswagen of America, 
Inc. (VW).
    In its comments, Ford concurred with NHTSA's proposal to require 
manufacturers to provide NHTSA with information and supporting analysis 
on new vehicle lines, beginning with Model Year 1997. Ford stated that 
it understood the NPRM as indicating that NHTSA is interested only in 
manufacturers' analyses of new vehicle lines likely to be high theft 
lines. Based on its understanding, Ford suggested that there was a need 
to make several minor changes to the regulatory text to make it clear 
that NHTSA is interested in analyses of new lines likely to be low 
theft, as well as those lines likely to be high theft.
    NHTSA believes that the proposal was clear regarding the obligation 
for a manufacturer to conduct evaluations of each new line using the 
criteria in appendix C of part 541. Under the proposal, each 
manufacturer would have been required ``to evaluate each new line and 
to conclude whether the new line is likely to have a theft rate 
exceeding the median theft rate.'' In other words, for each line, the 
manufacturer would have had to indicate whether its evaluation led it 
to conclude that (a) it is likely to have such a rate or (b) it is not 
likely to have such a rate. That this was the intended reading of the 
proposed regulatory text was made abundantly clear in the summary 
section of the NPRM preamble. There, the agency stated that 
manufacturers would be required to ``provide an analysis whether the 
new line is likely to be a high or low theft line.''
    Nevertheless, NHTSA has no objection to making the changes 
suggested by Ford. Section 542.1(c), Procedures for newly introduced 
vehicle lines, now explicitly states that the manufacturers are to 
follow the procedures in evaluating whether a new line is likely to 
have a theft rate above or below the median theft rate.
    Chrysler and VW recommended that the deadline for manufacturers 
notifying NHTSA of new lines be 12 months before the introduction of 
the line, instead of 18 months before the introduction, as proposed in 
the NPRM. Both Chrysler and VW stated that, since the American 
automobile market is very competitive, manufacturers may decide to 
introduce new lines with less than 18 months' lead time. They argued 
that being allowed to inform NHTSA of new car lines 12 months in 
advance would provide more flexibility to the manufacturers. VW further 
stated that if NHTSA amended part 542, and issued its preliminary 
determinations of high or low theft sooner than the 90 days presently 
provided in part 542, manufacturers could file new vehicle line 
information with NHTSA as late as 10 months in advance of introduction 
of the line.
    Both the VW and Chrysler objections to the 18 month advance notice 
requirement are apparently based on the possibility that each may wish 
to introduce a new line in the U.S. with less than 18 months' notice. 
In the 8 years since part 542 took effect, NHTSA has been notified of a 
new line less than 18 months before the introduction model year in only 
a few instances. No manufacturers, besides VW and Chrysler, objected to 
the 18 month lead time requirement.
    NHTSA has carefully considered Chrysler and Volkswagen's comments, 
and calculated the latest date on which it can accept new line 
information. For reasons explained below, NHTSA needs to issue final 
determinations of high or low theft, at least six months in advance of 
the manufacturer's model year. NHTSA has decided that it can accept new 
line information as late as 15 months before the beginning of the 
manufacturer's model year, and still issue final determinations six 
months before the beginning of the model year. Thus, beginning with 
model year 1997 vehicles, manufacturers are required to notify NHTSA of 
new lines 15 months before the new line is introduced. NHTSA has not 
shortened part 542's timeframe for NHTSA's preliminary and final 
determinations since that is beyond the scope of notice of the NPRM.
    NHTSA needs to issue determinations six months in advance of the 
model year because under section 603(a)(3) of the Theft Act, NHTSA 
must, to the maximum extent practicable, assure that likely high theft 
lines are selected at least 6 months before the first applicable model 
year, to notify manufacturers that they must mark the major parts of 
the line. More importantly, if NHTSA issues a final high theft 
determination less than six months before an upcoming model year, NHTSA 
cannot require the manufacturer to mark the parts of the high theft 
line during that model year. Instead, it cannot mandate parts marking 
until the following model year. Requiring manufacturers to submit 
information 15 months (instead of 12 months) before the model year 
would lessen the likelihood of NHTSA's missing the 6 month deadline to 
notify manufacturers, before the first applicable model year, of the 
high theft status of a new line.
    NHTSA does not believe requiring manufacturers to submit 
information 15 months in advance of the model year would pose a 
hardship. NHTSA does not believe that any of the information to be 
reported (specified at appendix C of part 541) is detailed or complex. 
The appendix C criteria are: Price; vehicle image; lines competitive 
with the new line; line(s) the new line is intended to replace; 
presence of any antitheft devices; and any preliminary theft data for 
the line. NHTSA believes that a manufacturer planning a new line for 
sale in the U.S. knows, 15 months before the model year of 
introduction, fundamental information about the new line, including 
that specified in appendix C, and would have no difficulty in reporting 
it.
    NHTSA believes further that even if, on some occasion, a 
manufacturer does not make a formal decision to introduce a new line 
until some time after 15 months in advance of the model year of 
introduction, the manufacturer must be very actively entertaining, at 
the 15 month point, the possibility of making such a decision in the 
next several months. The commercial and regulatory logistics involved 
in introducing a new line to the U.S. market are complex. The very 
complexity of this process necessitates that, by 15 months in advance 
of the model year of introduction, the manufacturers have a good idea 
whether they will introduce a new line into the United States.
    If, 15 months before the introduction of a new line, a manufacturer 
is still undecided whether to introduce the line, it could nevertheless 
comply with part 542 by sending a letter to NHTSA stating that it may 
introduce a new line and providing the information specified in 
appendix C of part 542. To avoid the possibility of a disclosure of its 
potential plans, the manufacturer may request confidential treatment 
for the letter. NHTSA has determined that future specific model plans 
would presumptively be likely to result in substantial competitive harm 
if disclosed to the public, before the date on which the specific model 
is first offered for sale. (See 49 CFR part 512, appendix B.) If 
confidential treatment has been granted, and the manufacturer decides 
not to introduce the line, NHTSA will not disclose the contents of the 
letter.
    Finally, NHTSA decided to set the deadline for submission of 
information about new lines at the 15 month point instead of at the 12 
month point because 15 months is necessary not only to allow NHTSA time 
to issue a final determination, but also to allow manufacturers enough 
time to submit timely petitions for exemption from marking the parts of 
a new line. Section 605(b) of the Theft Act specifies that petitions 
for exemption must be filed ``not later than 8 months before the 
commencement of production for the first model year covered by the 
petition.''
    The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) expressed concern 
that NHTSA may consider some of its members (which are primarily small 
final stage manufacturers of incomplete vehicles, or alterers of 
vehicles) to be ``manufacturers'' for part 542 purposes, and thus 
subject to the reporting requirements. These final stage manufacturers 
and alterers appear to work on individual vehicles, adapting each 
vehicle for a special purpose or to otherwise include features that 
make each vehicle unique to the customer's needs. NTEA noted, however, 
that because ACTA's definition of light-duty trucks and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles is limited to vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds gross 
vehicle weight rating or less, NTEA expects ``very few vehicles'' 
completed or altered by its members to be subject to part 542.
    For the following reasons, NHTSA does not believe that final stage 
manufacturers or alterers, are ``manufacturers'' for part 542 purposes. 
Part 542 applies to a manufacturer that groups motor vehicle models of 
the same make together and assigns names to the groups, i.e., lines, or 
introduces new motor vehicle lines into commerce. Neither final stage 
manufacturers nor alterers do these things.
    The grouping of motor vehicle models of the same make together and 
assigning names to the groups, i.e., lines, is done at an earlier stage 
of manufacture in the case of both incomplete motor vehicles that are 
completed by final stage manufacturers and of completed vehicles that 
are modified by alterers. These circumstances are reflected in the 
agency's requirements concerning vehicle identification numbers. A 
vehicle identification number (VIN) is a seventeen character series of 
arabic numbers and roman letters which is assigned to a motor vehicle 
for identification purposes. Manufacturers must comply with Standard 
No. 115; Vehicle identification number-basic requirements. S4.1 of 
Standard No. 115 states:

    Each vehicle manufactured in one stage shall have a VIN that is 
assigned by the manufacturer. Each vehicle manufactured in more than 
one stage shall have a VIN assigned by the incomplete vehicle 
manufacturer. Vehicle alterers * * * shall utilize the VIN assigned 
by the original manufacturer of the vehicle.

    49 CFR part 565 Vehicle identification number-content requirements, 
specifies the format and content for VINs. Among other VIN attributes, 
the first three characters uniquely identify the manufacturer, make and 
type of motor vehicle. (See Sec. 565.4(a)) Included as VIN attributes 
for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and 
incomplete vehicles, are the line and series of the vehicle. (See 
Sec. 565.4(b), and table I) A manufacturer must, when it assigns a VIN 
to a motor vehicle, determine the model or ``line,'' and series of the 
vehicle. For these reasons, when it creates a VIN, a manufacturer is in 
effect, determining the ``line'' of vehicles that it introduces into 
commerce.
    The manufacturing functions of the NTEA members are performed after 
the VINs are assigned. As noted above, they either do final stage 
manufacturing of incomplete vehicles or alter completed vehicles. 
Standard No. 115 prohibits final stage manufacturers or alterers from 
making changes to the original VIN assigned to the vehicle. The final 
stage manufacturers or alterers cannot change any VIN attribute, 
including the VIN attribute that describes the ``line'' of the vehicle. 
Since the final stage manufacturers or alterers, in effect, cannot 
assign the ``name'' to a ``group'' of vehicles, i.e., the ``line'', the 
final stage manufacturers or alterers are not ``manufacturers'' for 
purposes of part 542.
    Finally, since there were no objections to NHTSA's proposal to 
remove outdated references to vehicle lines introduced before April 24, 
1986, the final rule adopts those amendments.

Regulatory Impacts

A. Costs and Other Impacts

    This notice was not reviewed under Executive Order 12866 
(Regulatory Planning and Review). NHTSA has analyzed the impact of this 
rulemaking action and determined that it is not ``significant'' within 
the meaning of the Department of Transportation's regulatory policies 
and procedures. The agency estimates this final rule will impose 
minimal reporting costs on manufacturers of passenger motor vehicles. 
The agency estimates that the average annual cost per manufacturer per 
year to report on new vehicle lines is $2,000. The agency estimates 
that the cost to all affected manufacturers totals $56,000 per year.
    The Supplementary Information section of this notice discussed the 
``Anti Car Theft Act of 1992's'' redefinition of ``passenger motor 
vehicle'' to include ``any multipurpose passenger vehicle and light-
duty truck that is rated at 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or 
less.'' Thus, manufacturers may now have to follow part 542 procedures 
for certain multipurpose passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks. The 
burden on these manufacturers will be minimal because relatively few 
new lines of light-duty trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles are 
introduced in any year.
    The additional burden on manufacturers with respect to passenger 
cars as a result of reporting becoming mandatory will also be minimal. 
Most manufacturers are already providing new car line information on a 
voluntary basis.
    For these reasons, NHTSA believes that the additional costs will be 
so minimal as not to warrant preparation of a full regulatory 
evaluation. Since there will be so little additional reporting cost, 
NHTSA does not believe that this rule will affect the impacts described 
in the regulatory evaluation (pursuant to E.O. 12291 and the DOT's 
regulatory policies) prepared for the proposal published May 10, 1985 
(See 50 FR 19728, at 19741) setting forth the substantive requirements 
of part 541. Interested persons may wish to examine that regulatory 
evaluation. Copies of that evaluation have been placed in Docket No. 
T84-01; Notice 4, and may be obtained by writing to: National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, Docket Section, Room 5109, 400 Seventh 
Street SW., Washington, DC 20590.

B. Small Business Impacts

    The agency has also considered the effects of this rulemaking 
action under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). I 
certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The rationale for 
this certification is that, as noted above, the reporting costs will be 
minimal. Further, almost none of the manufacturers of passenger motor 
vehicles that will be subject to this rule is considered to be a small 
business, a small non-profit organization, or a small governmental 
entity as defined by the SBA.

C. Environmental Impacts

    In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
the agency has considered the environmental impacts of this rule and 
determined that, the final rule will not have a significant impact on 
the quality of the human environment.

D. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The procedures in this rule for manufacturers to submit new vehicle 
line information to NHTSA are considered to be information collection 
requirements, as that term is defined by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) in 5 CFR part 1320. The information collection 
requirements for part 542 have been submitted to and approved by the 
OMB pursuant to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) This collection of information has been assigned 
OMB Control No. 2127-0539 (``Procedures for selecting lines to be 
covered by the theft prevention standard'') and has been approved for 
use through August 31, 1995.

E. Federalism

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined 
that the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a Federalism assessment.

F. Civil Justice Reform

    This final rule does not have any retroactive effect, and it does 
not preempt any State law. Section 613 of the Motor Vehicle Information 
and Cost Savings Act (15 U.S.C. 2020), provides that judicial review of 
this rule may be obtained pursuant to section 504 of the Cost Savings 
Act, (15 U.S.C. 2004). The Cost Savings Act does not require submission 
of a petition for reconsideration or other administrative proceedings 
before parties may file suit in court.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 542

    Administrative practice and procedure, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, reporting requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, 49 CFR part 542 is revised to 
read as follows:

PART 542--PROCEDURES FOR SELECTING LINES TO BE COVERED BY THE THEFT 
PREVENTION STANDARD

Sec.
542.1  Procedures for selecting new lines that are likely to have 
high or low theft rates.
542.2  Procedures for selecting low theft new lines with a majority 
of major parts interchangeable with those of a high theft line.

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2021, 2022, and 2023; delegation of 
authority at 49 CFR 1.50.


Sec. 542.1  Procedures for selecting new lines that are likely to have 
high or low theft rates.

    (a) Scope. This section sets forth the procedures for motor vehicle 
manufacturers and NHTSA to follow in the determination of whether any 
new vehicle line is likely to have a theft rate above or below the 
median theft rate.
    (b) Application. These procedures apply to each manufacturer that 
plans to introduce a new line into commerce in the United States on or 
after April 24, 1986, and to each of those new lines.
    (c) Procedures. (1)(i) For each new line introduced before the 1997 
model year, each manufacturer uses the criteria in appendix C of part 
541 of this chapter to evaluate each new line and to conclude whether 
the new line is likely to have a theft rate above or below the median 
theft rate established for calendar years 1990 and 1991.
    (ii) For each new line to be introduced for the 1997 or subsequent 
model years, each manufacturer shall use the criteria in appendix C of 
part 541 of this chapter to evaluate each new line and to conclude 
whether the new line is likely to have a theft rate above or below the 
median theft rate.
    (2)(i) For each new line to be introduced before the 1997 model 
year, the manufacturer submits its evaluations and conclusions made 
under paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section, together with the underlying 
factual information, to NHTSA not less than 18 months before the date 
of introduction. The manufacturer may request a meeting with the agency 
to further explain the bases for its evaluations and conclusions.
    (ii) For each new line to be introduced for the 1997 or subsequent 
model years, the manufacturer shall submit its evaluations and 
conclusions made under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section, together 
with the underlying factual information, to NHTSA not less than 15 
months before the date of introduction. The manufacturer may request a 
meeting with the agency during this period to further explain the bases 
for its evaluations and conclusions.
    (3) Within 90 days after its receipt of the manufacturer's 
submission under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the agency 
independently evaluates the new line using the criteria in appendix C 
of part 541 of this chapter and, on a preliminary basis, determines 
whether the new line should or should not be subject to Sec. 541.2 of 
this chapter. NHTSA informs the manufacturer by letter of the agency's 
evaluations and determinations, together with the factual information 
considered by the agency in making them.
    (4) The manufacturer may request the agency to reconsider any of 
its preliminary determinations made under paragraph (c)(3) of this 
section. The manufacturer shall submit its request to the agency within 
30 days of its receipt of the letter under paragraph (c)(3) of this 
section. The request shall include the facts and arguments underlying 
the manufacturer's objections to the agency's preliminary 
determinations. During this 30-day period, the manufacturer may also 
request a meeting with the agency to discuss those objections.
    (5) Each of the agency's preliminary determinations under paragraph 
(c)(3) of this section shall become final 45 days after the agency 
sends the letter specified in paragraph (c)(3) of this section unless a 
request for reconsideration has been received in accordance with 
paragraph (c)(4) of this section. If such a request has been received, 
the agency makes its final determinations within 60 days of its receipt 
of the request. NHTSA informs the manufacturer by letter of those 
determinations and its response to the request for reconsideration.


Sec. 542.2  Procedures for selecting low theft new lines with a 
majority of major parts interchangeable with those of a high theft 
line.

    (a) Scope. This section sets forth the procedures for motor vehicle 
manufacturers and NHTSA to follow in the determination of whether any 
new lines that will be likely to have a low theft rate have major parts 
interchangeable with a majority of the covered major parts of a line 
having or likely to have a high theft rate.
    (b) Application. These procedures apply to:
    (1) Each manufacturer that produces--
    (i) At least one passenger motor vehicle line that has been or will 
be introduced into commerce in the United States and that has been 
listed in appendix A of part 541 of this chapter or that has been 
identified by the manufacturer or preliminarily or finally determined 
by NHTSA to be a high-theft line under Sec. 542.1, and
    (ii) At least one passenger motor vehicle line that will be 
introduced into commerce in the United States on or after April 24, 
1986 and that the manufacturer identifies as likely to have a theft 
rate below the median theft rate; and
    (2) Each of those likely submedian theft rate lines.
    (c) Procedures. (1)(i) For each new line that is to be introduced 
before the 1997 model year and that a manufacturer identifies under 
appendix C of part 541 of this chapter as likely to have a theft rate 
below the median rate, the manufacturer identifies how many and which 
of the major parts of that line will be interchangeable with the 
covered major parts of any other of its lines that has been listed in 
appendix A of part 541 of this chapter or identified by the 
manufacturer or preliminarily or finally determined by the agency to be 
a high theft line under Sec. 542.1.
    (ii) For each new line that is to be introduced in the 1997 or 
subsequent model years and that a manufacturer identifies under 
appendix C of part 541 of this chapter as likely to have a theft rate 
below the median rate, the manufacturer shall identify how many and 
which of the major parts of that line will be interchangeable with the 
covered major parts of any other of its lines that has been listed in 
appendix A of part 541 of this chapter or identified by the 
manufacturer or preliminarily or finally determined by the agency to be 
a high-theft line under Sec. 542.1.
    (2)(i) If the manufacturer concludes that a new line that is to be 
introduced before the 1997 model year has a likely submedian theft rate 
and will have major parts that are interchangeable with a majority of 
the covered major parts of a high theft line, the manufacturer 
determines whether all the vehicles of those lines with likely 
submedian theft rates and interchangeable parts will account for more 
than 90 percent of the total annual production of all of the 
manufacturer's lines with those interchangeable parts.
    (ii) If the manufacturer concludes that a new line that is to be 
introduced for the 1997 or subsequent model years has a likely 
submedian theft rate and will have major parts that are interchangeable 
with a majority of the covered major parts of a high theft line, the 
manufacturer shall determine whether all the vehicles of those lines 
with likely submedian theft rates and interchangeable parts will 
account for more than 90 percent of the total annual production of all 
of the manufacturer's lines with those interchangeable parts.
    (3)(i) For new lines to be introduced before the 1997 model year, 
the manufacturer submits its evaluations and identifications made under 
paragraphs (c)(1)(i) and (2)(i) of this section, together with the 
underlying factual information, to NHTSA not less than 18 months before 
the date of introduction. During this period, the manufacturer may 
request a meeting with the agency to further explain the bases for its 
evaluations and conclusions.
    (ii) For new lines to be introduced for the 1997 and subsequent 
model years, the manufacturer shall submit its evaluations and 
conclusions made under paragraphs (c)(1)(ii) and (2)(ii) of this 
section, together with the underlying factual information, to NHTSA not 
less than 15 months before the date of introduction. During this 
period, the manufacturer may request a meeting with the agency to 
further explain the bases for its evaluations and conclusions.
    (4) Within 90 days after its receipt of the manufacturer's 
submission under paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the agency considers 
that submission, if any, and independently makes, on a preliminary 
basis, the determinations of those lines with likely submedian theft 
rates which should or should not be subject to Sec. 541.5 of this 
chapter. NHTSA informs the manufacturer by letter of the agency's 
preliminary determinations, together with the factual information 
considered by the agency in making them.
    (5) The manufacturer may request the agency to reconsider any of 
its preliminary determinations made under paragraph (c)(4) of this 
section. The manufacturer must submit its request to the agency within 
30 days of its receipt of the letter under paragraph (c)(4) of this 
section informing it of the agency's evaluations and preliminary 
determinations. The request must include the facts and arguments 
underlying the manufacturer's objections to the agency's preliminary 
determinations. During this 30-day period, the manufacturer may also 
request a meeting with the agency to discuss those objections.
    (6) Each of the agency's preliminary determinations made under 
paragraph (c)(4) of this section becomes final 45 days after the agency 
sends the letter specified in that paragraph unless a request for 
reconsideration has been received in accordance with paragraph (c)(5) 
of this section. If such a request has been received, the agency makes 
its final determinations within 60 days of its receipt of the request. 
NHTSA informs the manufacturer by letter of those determinations and 
its response to the request for reconsideration.

    Issued on: April 21, 1994.
Christopher A. Hart,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-10040 Filed 4-25-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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