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BMW of North America, LLC, a subsidiary of BMW AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mini Clubman

BMW of North America, LLC, a subsidiary of BMW AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
Federal Register
August 18, 2011


[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 160 (Thursday, August 18, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 51468-51469]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-21087]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0081; Notice 1]


BMW of North America, LLC, a subsidiary of BMW AG, Receipt of 
Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Receipt of Petition for Inconsequential Noncompliance.

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SUMMARY: BMW of North America, LLC,\1\ a subsidiary of BMW AG.\2\ 
(collectively referred to as ``BMW'') has determined that certain model 
year 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman and Mini Cooper S Clubman model passenger 
cars manufactured between February 8, 2011 and May 11, 2011, do not 
fully comply with paragraph S5.2.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 101, Controls and Displays and paragraphs S5.5.2 
and S5.5.5 of FMVSS No. 135, Light Vehicle Brake Systems. BMW has filed 
an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports (dated May 25, 2011).
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    \1\ BMW of North America, LLC is a U.S. company that 
manufactures and imports motor vehicles.
    \2\ BMW AG, is a German company that manufactures motor 
vehicles.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), BMW 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 BMW'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.
    Affected are approximately 75 model year 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman 
and Mini Cooper S Clubman model passenger cars that were manufactured 
between February 8, 2011 and May 11, 2011.
    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. Therefore, these provisions 
only apply to the 75 \3\ model year 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman and Mini 
Cooper S Clubman model passenger cars that BMW no longer controlled at 
the time it determined that the noncompliance existed.
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    \3\ BMW's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt BMW as a vehicle manufacturer 
from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 CFR Part 573 
for 75 of the affected vehicles. However, the agency cannot relieve 
vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, 
offer for sale, introduction or delivery for introduction into 
interstate commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control 
after BMW notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. 
Those vehicles must be brought into conformance, exported, or 
destroyed.
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    Paragraph S5.2.1 of FMVSS No. 101 requires in pertinent part:

    S5.2.1 Except for the Low Tire Pressure Telltale, each control, 
telltale and indicator that is listed in column 1 of Table 1 or 
Table 2 must be identified by the symbol specified for it in column 
2 or the word or abbreviation specified for it in column 3 of Table 
1 or Table 2. If a symbol is used, each symbol provided pursuant to 
this paragraph must be substantially similar in form to the symbol 
as it appears in Table 1 or Table 2. If a symbol is used, each 
symbol provided pursuant to this paragraph must have the 
proportional dimensional characteristics of the symbol as it appears 
in Table 1 or Table 2.

    Paragraphs S5.5.2 and S5.5.5 of FMVSS No. 135 requires in pertinent 
part:

    S5.5.2. Function check. (a) All indicators shall be activated as 
a check function by either: (1) Automatic activation when the 
ignition (start) switch is turned to the ``on'' (``run'') position 
when the engine is not running, or when the ignition (``start'') 
switch is in a position between ``on'' (``run'') and ``start'' that 
is designated by the manufacturer as a check position, or (2) A 
single manual action by the driver, such as momentary activation of 
a test button or switch mounted on the instrument panel in front of 
and in clear view of the driver, or, in the case of an indicator for 
application of the parking brake, by applying the parking brake when 
the ignition is in the ``on'' (``run'') position. (b) In the case of 
a vehicle that has an interlock device that prevents the engine from 
being started under one or more conditions, check functions meeting 
the requirements of S5.5.2(a) need not be operational under any 
condition in which the engine cannot be started. (c) The 
manufacturer shall explain the brake check function test procedure 
in the owner's manual.
    S5.5.5. Labeling. (a) Each visual indicator shall display a word 
or words in accordance with the requirements of Standard No. 101 (49 
CFR 571.101) and this section, which shall be legible to the driver 
under all daytime and nighttime conditions when activated. Unless 
otherwise specified, the words shall have letters not less than 3.2 
mm (1/8 inch) high and the letters and background shall be of 
contrasting colors, one of which is red. Words or symbols in 
addition to those required by Standard No. 101 and this section may 
be provided for purposes of clarity.
    (b) Vehicles manufactured with a split service brake system may 
use a common brake warning indicator to indicate two or more of the 
functions described in S5.5.1(a) through S5.5.1(g). If a common 
indicator is used, it shall display the word ``Brake.''

    BMW explained that the noncompliance is that the telltales used for 
Brake Warning, Park Brake Warning and Antilock Braking System (ABS) 
failure warnings are displayed using International Organization for 
Standardization (ISO) symbols instead

[[Page 51469]]

of the telltale symbols required by FMVSS Nos. 101 and 135.
    BMW stated its belief that although the instrument cluster telltale 
symbols are displayed using ISO symbols the noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    (1) If a problem is encountered in which a brake system warning or 
malfunction indicator symbol is displayed, it is believed that the 
driver will be able to understand the warning symbol and take any 
necessary actions required.
    (2) The instrument cluster is mounted behind the steering wheel in 
direct sight of the driver, making any warning symbol or indicator 
visible.
    (3) There is a ``message center'' within the tachometer which is 
also used to inform the driver that a problem exists and can be used to 
better clarify why the warning symbol is illuminated.
    (4) Due to similarities between the symbols required by FMVSS Nos. 
101 and 135 and ISO symbols, eventually the driver will come to 
associate the wheel depiction symbol with the brake system.
    (5) In such an event where the driver is unable to identify the 
warning symbol the driver would be able to consult the owner's manual 
which depicts as well as explains each of the warning/malfunction 
indicator symbols.
    (6) BMW has received no customer complaints regarding the issue of 
non compliant telltales.
    BMW also explains NHTSA has previously granted similar petitions.
    In summation, BMW believes that the described noncompliance of its 
vehicles 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.
    Comments: 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.

DATES: Comment closing date: September 19, 2011.

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

    Issued on: August 12, 2011.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2011-21087 Filed 8-17-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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