80 FR 64058 - Ford Motor Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 204 (October 22, 2015)

Page Range64058-64060
FR Document2015-26802

Ford Motor Company, (Ford) has determined that certain model year (MY) 2014 Ford Focus passenger cars do not fully comply with paragraph S3.1.4.1(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 102, Transmission Shift Position Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect. Ford has filed an appropriate report dated November 25, 2013 pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

Federal Register, Volume 80 Issue 204 (Thursday, October 22, 2015)
[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 204 (Thursday, October 22, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 64058-64060]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2015-26802]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0144; Notice 2]


Ford Motor Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Ford Motor Company, (Ford) has determined that certain model 
year (MY) 2014 Ford Focus passenger cars do not fully comply with 
paragraph S3.1.4.1(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
No. 102, Transmission Shift Position Sequence, Starter Interlock, and 
Transmission Braking Effect. Ford has filed an appropriate report dated 
November 25, 2013 pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance 
Responsibility and Reports.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Amina 
Fisher, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5307, facsimile 
(202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Ford's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 
30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Ford 
submitted a petition 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.
    Notice of receipt of Ford's petition was published, with a 30-Day 
public comment period, on June 19, 2014 in

[[Page 64059]]

the Federal Register (79 FR 35226). No comments were received. To view 
the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then 
follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-
2013-0144.''
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 43,699 MY 2014 
Ford Focus passenger cars manufactured from August 2, 2013 through 
September 27, 2013, at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, 
Michigan.
    III. Noncompliance: Ford explains that the noncompliance is that 
the subject vehicles do not fully meet the requirements of paragraph 
S3.1.4.1(a) of FMVSS No. 102 because after a vehicle's ignition has 
been switched on, the transmission shift position indicator (PRNDx) 
does not display transmission shift position sequence and position, 
i.e., Park, until after the shifter release button is depressed under 
certain non-typical conditions.
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S3.1.4.1 of FMVSS No. 102 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S3.1.4.1 Except as specified in S3.1.4.3, if the transmission 
shift position sequence includes a park position, identification of 
shift positions, including the positions in relation to each other 
and the position selected, shall be displayed in view of the driver 
whenever any of the following exist:
    (a) The ignition is in a position where the transmission can be 
shifted; or . . .

V. Summary of Ford's Analyses

    Ford explained that this condition can only occur after a non-
typical key-on sequence and only when the transmission is in park, and 
believes that this condition does not present a risk to motor vehicle 
safety. The following two examples were presented:

    Example 1: After the cluster enters sleep mode, if an operator, 
without first opening the door, inserts a key and turns on the 
ignition from outside the vehicle (e.g., through an open window) and 
later enters the vehicle, the PRNDx will not be illuminated until 
the shift lever button is depressed.
    Example 2: After shutting down a vehicle with the transmission 
in Park, the driver remains in the vehicle for approximately 10 
minutes with the key out of the ignition, and does not contact the 
brake pedal or open a door, the cluster will go into sleep mode. If 
the driver then starts the engine in 0.7 seconds or less of 
performing an action that causes the cluster to wake-up (e.g., 
touching the brake pedal) the PRNDx will not be illuminated until 
the shift lever button is depressed.

    Ford said that as soon as the transmission shift lever release 
button is depressed (required for shifting to any non-park position) 
the PRNDx will illuminate, allowing the customer to select the desired 
gear.
    Ford also mentioned that under normal usage the PRNDx illuminates 
as intended. As an example, Ford explained that when the driver or 
passenger opens a door and enters the car, the cluster will wake-up 
from sleep mode and the subject condition will not occur.
    Furthermore, Ford explained that if the vehicle is left in any gear 
other than park, the cluster will not go into sleep mode, this subject 
noncompliant condition will not occur, and the PRNDx will illuminate as 
intended.
    Lastly, Ford stated that no other Ford vehicles are affected by 
this condition and Ford is not aware of any owner complaints, accidents 
or injuries related to this condition.
    Ford has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production vehicles will comply with 
FMVSS No. 102.
    In summation, Ford believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that 
its petition, to exempt Ford 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 Decision

    NHTSA Analysis: NHTSA has reviewed Ford's justification for an 
inconsequential noncompliance determination and agree that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    Ford stated that the subject condition can only occur after certain 
non-typical key-on sequences and only when the transmission is in park, 
thus not presenting a risk to motor vehicle safety. Ford provided two 
example scenarios that can lead to the subject noncompliance. In both 
scenarios the instrument cluster electronics defaults to a sleep mode 
after a short period of inactivity (requires approximately 10 minutes 
of inactivity). Under the first scenario, while in the sleep mode, if 
the vehicle operator inserts the ignition key and activates the 
ignition through an open window, without first opening the door, and 
later enters the vehicle through the door, the PRNDx will not be 
illuminated until the shift lever button is depressed. In the second 
scenario, after driving, stopping, shifting the vehicle to park, 
shutting the engine off and removing the ignition key, if the driver 
remains in the vehicle for approximately 10 minutes without contacting 
the brake pedal or opening a door, the instrument cluster will go into 
sleep mode. If the driver then starts the engine in 0.7 seconds or less 
of performing an action that causes the cluster to wake-up (e.g., 
touching the brake pedal) the PRNDx will not be illuminated until the 
shift lever button is depressed.
    Upon consideration of these two scenarios, the Agency believes 
either could occur, although very infrequently. If either situation did 
happen to occur, the transmission would be in the park position and any 
further action by the operator to leave the vehicle or shift the 
vehicle out of the park position, in preparation to drive away, would 
resolve the PRNDx illumination condition. The noncompliant situations 
could only exist for short periods of time while the transmission is in 
the park position and only until the driver takes further action (i.e., 
leaves the vehicle, depresses the brake pedal, or activates the shift 
lever button to shift the vehicle from park). Under these rare 
situations there appears to be very little risk to motor vehicle 
safety.
    Ford explained that as soon as the transmission shift lever release 
button is depressed, which is required prior to shifting to any non-
park position, the PRNDx will illuminate allowing the driver to see and 
select the desired gear. NHTSA recognizes that if the driver did find 
themselves in the subject noncompliant condition and attempted a gear 
change they would have to depress both the brake pedal and the shift 
lever release button located on the shift lever. Current vehicle 
designs are required to have a brake transmission shift interlock that 
forces the driver to depress the brake pedal before the transmission 
can be shifted from the park position. Either application of the brake 
pedal or activation of the shift lever release, whichever occurs first, 
will wake the vehicle dashboard cluster electronics causing the PRNDx 
to illuminate. The driver is then able to clearly see and select the 
desired transmission gear position.
    Ford stated that the PRNDx illuminates as intended under normal 
vehicle use and explained that when a driver or passenger door is 
opened the instrument cluster electronics will wake-up from the sleep 
mode subsequently meeting the illumination requirements of the safety 
standard. NHTSA agrees that it is normal behavior for a driver (or 
passenger) to first open a door to enter the vehicle before starting 
the engine. It is also normal behavior after entering a vehicle for the

[[Page 64060]]

driver to depress the brake pedal and activate the transmission shift 
release button in order to shift out of the park position. The subject 
noncompliance could only occur in very rare situations, and only when 
the vehicle is in the park transmission position, thus not presenting a 
risk to motor vehicle safety.
    Ford lastly stated that if the vehicle is left in any transmission 
gear other than park, the cluster will not go into sleep mode, the 
subject condition will not occur, and the PRNDx will illuminate as 
intended. The Agency understand that if a driver does turn the vehicle 
off when the transmission is in a gear other than park the instrument 
cluster electronics will not be allowed to go into a sleep mode and the 
PRNDx illumination will perform as required by the Standard.
    NHTSA Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
decided that Ford has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 
102 noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, Ford's petition is hereby granted and Ford is exempted 
from the obligation of providing notification of, and a remedy for, 
that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    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 Ford no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. 
However, the granting of this petition does not relieve Ford 
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 Ford 
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 M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2015-26802 Filed 10-21-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P


Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionNotices
ActionGrant of petition.
FR Citation80 FR 64058 

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