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

American Government Topics:  Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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

Jeffrey Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
April 16, 2015

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 73 (Thursday, April 16, 2015)]
[Pages 20571-20572]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-08691]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0029; Notice 1]

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

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

ACTION: Receipt of petition.


SUMMARY: Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, (MBUSA) on behalf of itself and its 
parent company Daimler AG (DAG), collectively referred to as 
``Mercedes'' has determined that certain model year (MY) 2015 Mercedes-
Benz C-Class (205 Platform) passenger vehicles do not fully comply with 
paragraph S10.18.4 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment. Mercedes has 
filed an appropriate report dated February 9, 2015, pursuant to 49 CFR 
part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is May 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES: 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 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments 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.
     Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand 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.
     Electronically: Submit comments 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 (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 the 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.

    I. Mercedes' Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) 
(see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Mercedes submitted a 
petition for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements 
of 49 U.S.C.

[[Page 20572]]

Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety.
    This notice of receipt of MBUSA'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.
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 9,137 MY 2015 
Mercedes-Benz C-Class (205 Platform) passenger cars manufactured 
between June 18, 2014 through September 5, 2015 at Mercedes' 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant.
    III. Noncompliance: Mercedes explains that the subject vehicles 
were manufactured with horizontal adjustment-visually aimed headlamps 
that have a lower beam and a horizontal adjustment mechanism that was 
not made inoperative at the factory. Specifically, the horizontal 
adjustment screw was not properly sealed off with non-removable sealing 
caps as necessary to fully meet the requirements of paragraph S10.18.4 
of FMVSS No. 108.
    Rule Text: Paragraph S10.18.4 of FMVSS No. 108 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S10.18.4 Horizontal adjustment-visually aimed headlamp. A 
visually/optically amiable headlamp that has a lower beam must not 
have a horizontal adjustment mechanism unless such mechanism meets 
the requirements of this standard for on vehicle aiming as specified 
in S10.18.8.

    V. Summary of MBUSA's Analyses: Mercedes stated its belief that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for 
the following reasons:

    (A) Mercedes believes that new manufacturing methods, including 
the use of optical image processing to adjust the horizontal and the 
vertical illumination levels of headlamps in addition to the 
reduction in assembly tolerances for headlamp assemblies has 
resulted in optimal headlamp adjustments on vehicles leaving their 
manufacturing plants. As a result, on-vehicle aiming devices are no 
longer common in the industry. Mercedes believes that this has led 
to the elimination of the need for horizontal headlamp adjustment on 
in-use vehicles. Regarding the subject vehicles, Mercedes says there 
is generally no need for customers or repair shops to adjust the 
horizontal aim of headlamps.
    (B) Mercedes states that they have only received five customer 
complaints in the United States, relating to alleged headlamp mis-
aiming in the subject vehicles. None of the complaints relate to 
horizontal mis-aiming of the headlamps. In all instances customers 
brought their vehicles in for service by Mercedes repair shops, who 
know how to perform a headlamp readjustment properly, without using 
the horizontal adjustment screw.
    (C) Mercedes' says they provide service instructions to U.S. 
repair shops that specify that horizontal headlamp adjustment is not 
permitted and do not even mention that a horizontal headlamp 
adjustment screw even exists. Similarly, the vehicle owner's manual 
does not include information about performing headlamp illumination 
adjustment. Thus, since the horizontal headlamp screw's existence is 
not mentioned in any sales or service instructions or manuals, use 
of the screw by the customer or repair facilities would be extremely 
    (D) Mercedes also stated that even if the screw were to be used, 
such adjustment would result in only minimal differences in 
illumination levels compared to the original levels because it 
provides only a minimal range of adjustment. Mercedes elaborated by 
stating that when the horizontal adjustment screw is turned to the 
far left or far right end-position, only a few measuring points are 
slightly above or below the FMVSS No. 108 required levels. 
Specifically, when the horizontal adjustment screw is turned to the 
maximum left end-position (-2.8[deg]), only 4 out of 24 measuring 
points are above (3) or under (1) the required illumination levels. 
And when the horizontal adjustment screw is turned to the maximum 
right end-position (+3.2[deg]), only 2 out of 24 measuring points 
are under the required illumination levels. Thus, the difference 
between these worst-case levels and the required minimum or maximum 
levels are very small. According to Mercedes' headlamp development 
engineers, a difference of 300 cd [candela] is unlikely to be 
noticed by a driver and would not affect oncoming traffic or 
visibility in any material way. In addition, the subject headlamps 
rely on a reflection-based system which Mercedes' believes leads to 
less glare then projection-based system.

    Mercedes has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
subject noncompliance.
    In summation, Mercedes believes that the described noncompliance of 
the subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and 
that its petition, to exempt Mercedes 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.
    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, any decision on 
this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that Mercedes no 
longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance 
existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve 
vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer 
for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after 
Mercedes notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

    Authority:  (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8).

Jeffrey Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2015-08691 Filed 4-15-15; 8:45 am]

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