[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 72 (Friday, April 13, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22384-22386]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8892]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Petition To Modify an Exemption of a Previously Approved 
Antitheft Device; Porsche

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

ACTION: Grant of a petition to modify an exemption of a previously 
approved antitheft device.

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SUMMARY: On December 22, 1995, the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) granted in full, Porsche Cars North America, 
Inc.'s (Porsche) petition for an exemption in accordance with Sec.  
543.9(c)(2) of 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from the Theft Prevention 
Standard for the Porsche Boxster vehicle line, beginning with model 
year (MY) 1997. On February 1, 2012, Porsche submitted a petition to 
modify its previously approved exemption for the Porsche Boxster 
vehicle line and notified the agency that all new successor models 
within the Boxster line will be installed with the proposed antitheft 
device beginning with MY 2013. NHTSA is granting Porsche's petition to 
modify the exemption in full, because it has determined that the 
modified device is also likely to be as effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking 
requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah Mazyck, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Standards, NHTSA, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, W43-443, Washington, DC 20590. 
Ms. Mazyck's telephone number is (202) 366-4139. Her fax number is 
(202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 22, 1995, NHTSA published in the 
Federal Register a notice granting in full, a petition from Porsche for 
an

[[Page 22385]]

exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention 
Standard (49 CFR part 541) for a vehicle line whose nameplate and model 
year were confidential, but subsequently provided as the Porsche 
Boxster vehicle line. The Boxster vehicle line has been exempted from 
the Theft Prevention Standard beginning with its MY 1997 vehicles (See 
60 FR 66575). On February 1, 2012, Porsche submitted a petition to 
modify the previously approved exemption for the Boxster vehicle line. 
This notice grants in full Porsche's petition to modify the exemption 
for the Boxster vehicle line. Porsche's submission is a complete 
petition, as required by 49 CFR 543.9(d), in that it meets the general 
requirements contained in 49 CFR 543.5 and the specific content 
requirements of 49 CFR 543.6. Porsche's petition provided a detailed 
description and diagram of the identity, design and location of the 
components of the antitheft device proposed for installation beginning 
with the 2013 model year.
    The current antitheft device (MYs 1997-2012) installed on the 
Porsche Boxster vehicle line is a passive, microprocessor-based device 
which includes a starter interrupt function, transponder key and a 
central-locking system. Porsche also offers a remote-controlled audible 
and visible alarm system as optional equipment to its current device.
    Porsche stated that its current antitheft device is activated by 
removing the key from the vehicle's ignition switch/steering lock. By 
removing the key, the ignition switch returns the system to its normal 
``OFF'' state where starting the engine and operation of the vehicle is 
prohibited. Porsche stated that the key contains a radio signal 
transponder which signals the control unit to allow the engine to start 
when the correct key is inserted into the ignition switch.
    Porsche further stated that the optional alarm system on the 
vehicle line monitors the doors, hood, rear decklid, glove compartment 
or radio contact switch and if any of the areas are breached, the horn 
will sound and the lights will flash.
    In Porsche's petition to modify its exemption for MY 2013, it 
stated that the Boxster vehicle line will be modified to include the 
antitheft device and strategies used for the Panamera vehicle line. The 
Panamera vehicle line has been granted a parts-marking exemption since 
MY 2010 (See 74 FR 18037, April 20, 2009). However, Porsche was granted 
a modification to its previously approved exemption for the Panamera 
vehicle line beginning with its MY 2012 vehicles (See 75 FR 22174, 
April 27, 2010). Specifically, in its MY 2012 modification, Porsche 
proposed to remove the steering column lock on the Panamera line, 
because it considered the feature to be a redundant function that is 
also offered by the electronic parking brake which is installed as 
standard equipment on the line. The electronically activated parking 
brake will also be included as standard equipment on the MY 2013 
Boxster line. Porsche also made special mention that the agency 
recently granted its MY 2012 request to modify the previously approved 
exemption for the 911 vehicle line for also having adopted the Panamera 
antitheft device and strategies (See 76 FR 69321, November 8, 2011).
    For MY 2013, Porsche will install its passive, transponder-based 
electronic, engine-immobilizer antitheft device as standard equipment 
on its Porsche Boxster vehicle line. Porsche stated that the antitheft 
system consists of two major subsystems: a microprocessor-based 
immobilizer device that prevents the engine management system from 
functioning when the system is engaged, and a central locking and alarm 
system. Key components of the modified antitheft device will include an 
electronic ignition switch, transponder key, remote control unit, 
transponder, alarm/central locking control unit, key or keyless entry 
system, an engine control unit, electronic parking brake and an off-
board antitheft strategy.
    Porsche stated that the immobilizer device is automatically 
activated when the driver removes the key from the ignition switch 
assembly or the optional special keyless entry keycard exits the 
vehicle with the driver. The key contains a radio signal transponder 
which signals the control unit to allow the engine to be started. 
Porsche stated that as an option, a keyless entry device can be 
provided for the Boxster vehicle line. Porsche stated that the 
antitheft device will remain the same, but the ignition key is 
substituted with a special key that contains a radio signal transmitter 
similar to that in the standard ignition key. The immobilizer system is 
automatically activated after the engine is turned off with the 
optional keyless entry device. Porsche stated that only by inserting 
the correct key into the ignition switch or by having the special 
keyless entry device within the compartment of the car, will the 
correct signal be sent to the control unit allowing start and operation 
of the engine. When the key is removed from the ignition or the keyless 
entry key is removed from the vehicle, the device will return to its 
normal ``OFF'' state disallowing engine start and operation.
    The central locking system works in conjunction with the audible 
and visible alarm system. Porsche will continue to offer a central 
locking system as standard equipment on the Boxster vehicle line. The 
previously approved device offered the alarm system as optional 
equipment. Porsche stated that the 2013 modification for the Boxster 
vehicle line will include the audible and visible alarm system as 
standard equipment. Porsche stated that the alarm system will continue 
to monitor the opening of the doors, rear luggage compartment and front 
deck lid.
    Porsche stated that the proposed central locking and alarm systems 
can be armed by using the ignition key, the remote control, or a door 
switch (with the keyless entry option). Porsche stated that when the 
key or remote control is used to lock the doors, the alarm is armed. 
With the keyless entry system, either the door switch or the remote 
control is used instead of a manual key. The proposed alarm system will 
also monitor interior movement within the vehicle through an ultrasonic 
sensor. If any violation of these areas is detected, the horn will 
sound and the lights will flash.
    In Porsche's petition to modify its exemption, it stated that for 
2013, the Boxster will be modified to accommodate the introduction of 
the electronically activated parking brake. Porsche stated that if the 
control unit does not receive the correct signal from the key or 
keyless entry system, the parking brake will remain activated and the 
vehicle cannot be towed away.
    Porsche stated that another additional theft prevention feature to 
the Boxster vehicle line will be the implementation of a new off-board 
antitheft strategy, making it impossible to use stolen electronic 
control units to repair other Porsche vehicles. Porsche stated that the 
goal of the off-board theft protection strategy is to reduce the 
marketability of stolen electronic components. Porsche believes its 
off-board antitheft strategy is similar in concept to parts marking, 
and will further reduce the demand for stolen Porsche vehicle 
components. Specifically, Porsche explained that during the production 
process of the vehicle, initialization and registration of various 
antitheft related electronic components are recorded in a central 
database. Changes to these components are only possible with authorized 
on-line access to the central database. Porsche stated that if the 
components have to be repaired or replaced while authorized access to 
the central database is unavailable or the central database

[[Page 22386]]

indicates the components are unauthorized, further operation and use of 
the vehicle is restricted or even impossible.
    In order to ensure the reliability and durability of the device, 
Porsche conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Porsche 
provided a detailed list of tests conducted and believes that its 
device is reliable and durable since the device complied with its 
specified requirements for each test. The test conducted included 
extreme temperature tests, voltage spike tests, reverse polarity tests, 
electromagnetic interference tests, vibration tests and endurance 
tests. Porsche stated that its antitheft device also features a built-
in self-diagnostic that constantly checks for system failures. If a 
failure is detected, the operator receives a signal via an alarm 
indicator.
    In its MY 2013 modification, Porsche stated that it believes its 
new Boxster antitheft device will prove to be even more effective in 
reducing and deterring theft than its antitheft devices have proven in 
the past. Porsche also compared its device with other devices without 
alarms that NHTSA has determined to be as effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft. Porsche stated that similar systems 
without alarms, i.e., GM PASS-Key, Mercedes Benz 202 vehicle line, 
Porsche Boxster (Cayman) as well as earlier 911 vehicle line devices, 
were determined to be as effective as parts-marking. Porsche also 
referenced the agency's theft rate data for the Boxster vehicle line 
which indicates that its theft rates (MY/CY 2002-2009) are still below 
the median theft rate of 3.5826. The average theft rates for the 
Boxster vehicle line (Boxster convertible and Cayman coupe) using the 
most current 3 MY's theft rate data are 0.3789 and 0.7217, 
respectively.
    The agency has evaluated Porsche's MY 2013 petition to modify the 
exemption for the Boxster vehicle line from the parts-marking 
requirements of 49 CFR part 541, and has decided to grant it. The 
agency believes that the proposed device will continue to provide the 
five types of performance listed in Sec.  543.6(a)(3): (1) Promoting 
activation, (2) attracting attention to the efforts of unauthorized 
persons to enter or operate a vehicle by means other than a key, (3) 
preventing defeat or circumvention of the device by unauthorized 
persons, (4) preventing operation of the vehicle by unauthorized 
entrants and (5) ensuring the reliability and durability of the device.
    If Porsche decides not to use the exemption for this line, it 
should 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 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: April 10, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-8892 Filed 4-12-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P