[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 79 (Wednesday, April 24, 2013)]
[Pages 24304-24305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09685]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard; Maserati North America Inc.

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.


SUMMARY: This document grants in full Maserati North America Inc.'s, 
(Maserati) petition for an exemption of the Quattroporte vehicle line 
in accordance with 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from the Theft Prevention 
Standard. This petition is granted because the agency has determined 
that the antitheft device to be placed on the line as standard 
equipment is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor 
vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the 
Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541).

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the 2014 model year (MY).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Carlita Ballard, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, W43-
439, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Ballard's 
phone number is (202) 366-5222. Her fax number is (202) 493-2990.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated March 11, 2013, Maserati 
requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541) for the MY 2014 Quattroporte 
vehicle line. The petition requested an exemption from parts-marking 
pursuant to 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard, based on the installation of an antitheft device as standard 
equipment for an entire vehicle line.
    Under Sec.  543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant an 
exemption for one vehicle line per model year. In its petition, 
Maserati provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, 
design, and location of the components of the antitheft device for the 
Quattroporte vehicle line. Maserati stated that all of its vehicles 
will be equipped with a passive, Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS), 
a Vehicle Alarm System (VTA) and a Keyless Ignition System as standard 
equipment beginning with the 2014 model year. Key components of its 
SKIS antitheft device will include an Engine Power Control Module 
(ECM), Fuel Delivery, Starter Motor Circuit, and a Shaft Lock Module. 
Maserati's keyless ignition system will consist of a Key Fob with 
Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) Transmitter, RFHub and Keyless Ignition Node 
(KIN). Maserati will provide its VTA system as standard equipment. The 
VTA will provide perimeter protection by monitoring the vehicle doors, 
ignition switch and deck lid. The VTA alarm system includes an 
ultrasonic sensor to defeat motion within the vehicle and has the 
ability to be armed without the intrusion sensor. Maserati stated that 
if unauthorized tampering with any of these protected areas is 
detected, the system will respond by pulsing the vehicle's horn/siren 
as an audible deterrent and flashing certain exterior lamps as a visual 
deterrent. Maserati's submission is considered a complete petition as 
required by 49 CFR 543.7, in that it meets the general requirements 
contained in Sec.  543.5 and the specific content requirements of Sec.  
    Maserati stated that the immobilizer device is automatically armed 
when the ignition is changed from the run position to the off position. 
Once activated, only the use of a valid key can disable immobilization 
and allow the vehicle to run. Specifically, Maserati stated that the 
device is disarmed by performing an unlock actuation via the RKE 
transmitter or by starting the vehicle with a valid RFHub key. Maserati 
stated that to start the vehicle, the driver must press and hold the 
brake pedal while pressing the START/STOP button. The system takes over 
and engages the starter causing the starter motor to run and disengage 
automatically when the engine is running. Maserati stated that the 
RFHub contains and controls the SKIS preventing unauthorized use of the 
vehicle by preventing the engine from running more than 2 seconds 
unless a valid FOBIK key is used to start the engine. Maserati also 
stated that the vehicle's key fob with RKE transmitter, RFHub and the 
KIN contains over 50,000 possible electronic key combinations and 
allows the driver to operate the ignition switch with the push of a 
button as long as the RKE transmitter is in the passenger compartment.
    In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, Maserati 
provided information on the reliability and durability of its proposed 
device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, Maserati 
conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Maserati provided 
a detailed list of the tests conducted (i.e., temperature and humidity 
cycling, high and low temperature cycling, mechanical shock, random 
vibration, thermal stress/shock tests, material resistance tests, dry 
heat, dust and fluid ingress tests). Maserati also stated that the VTA, 
including the immobilizer device and its related components, must meet 
design and durability requirements for full vehicle useful life (10 
years/120k miles). Maserati stated that it believes that its device is 
reliable and durable because it

[[Page 24305]]

complied with specified requirements for each test.
    As an additional method of reliability and security, Maserati 
stated that a shaft lock module is also part of the SKIS. This unit is 
designed to work in conjunction with the RFHub module to control a 
locking bolt that engages any slot in the steering shaft to prevent 
shaft rotation whenever there is not a valid key present. The 
monitoring provisions for the shaft lock module are designed to resist 
unauthorized tampering. The module cannot be removed from the steering 
column while the lock bolt is in the locked position. The shaft lock 
module cannot be adjusted or repaired and if faulty or damaged, it must 
be replaced as an assembly.
    Maserati stated that based on MY 2010 theft data published by 
NHTSA, its vehicles which have had antitheft and immobilizer systems 
installed have experienced extremely low to zero theft rates. Maserati 
also stated that because it had previously been a small vehicle 
manufacturer that produced and sold a low volume of vehicle units, its 
vehicles had been exempted from the parts-marking requirements. 
However, Maserati informed the agency that its immobilizer antitheft 
device has been equipped on its vehicles as standard equipment since MY 
2007 and believes that its advanced technology antitheft devices are 
and will continue to be more effective in deterring vehicle theft than 
the parts-marking requirements. Theft rate data reported in Federal 
Register notices published by the agency show that the theft rate for 
the Quattroporte vehicle line, using an average of three MYs' data 
(2008-2010), is 0.6120, which is significantly lower than the median 
theft established by the agency. Maserati believes these low theft 
rates demonstrate the effectiveness of the immobilizer device.
    Based on the supporting evidence submitted by Maserati on its 
device, the agency believes that the antitheft device for the 
Quattroporte vehicle line is likely to be as effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking 
requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR 541). The agency 
concludes that the device will provide the five types of performance 
listed in Sec.  543.6(a)(3): promoting activation; attracting attention 
to the efforts of an unauthorized person to enter or move a vehicle by 
means other than a key; preventing defeat or circumvention of the 
device by unauthorized persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by 
unauthorized entrants; and ensuring the reliability and durability of 
the device.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR 543.7(b), the agency grants 
a petition for exemption from the parts-marking requirements of Part 
541 either in whole or in part, if it determines that, based upon 
substantial evidence, the standard equipment antitheft device is likely 
to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as 
compliance with the parts-marking requirements of Part 541. The agency 
finds that Maserati has provided adequate reasons for its belief that 
the antitheft device for the Maserati Quattroporte vehicle line is 
likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft 
as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the Theft 
Prevention Standard (49 CFR Part 541). This conclusion is based on the 
information Maserati provided about its device.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby grants in full 
Maserati's petition for exemption for the Maserati Quattroporte vehicle 
line from the parts-marking requirements of 49 CFR Part 541. The agency 
notes that 49 CFR Part 541, Appendix A-1, identifies those lines that 
are exempted from the Theft Prevention Standard for a given model year. 
49 CFR Part 543.7(f) contains publication requirements incident to the 
disposition of all Part 543 petitions. Advanced listing, including the 
release of future product nameplates, the beginning model year for 
which the petition is granted and a general description of the 
antitheft device is necessary in order to notify law enforcement 
agencies of new vehicle lines exempted from the parts-marking 
requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard.
    If Maserati decides not to use the exemption for this line, it must 
formally notify the agency. If such a decision is made, the line must 
be fully marked according to the requirements under 49 CFR Parts 541.5 
and 541.6 (marking of major component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA notes that if Maserati wishes in the future to modify the 
device on which this exemption is based, the company may have to submit 
a petition to modify the exemption. Part 543.7(d) states that a Part 
543 exemption applies only to vehicles that belong to a line exempted 
under this part and equipped with the antitheft device on which the 
line's exemption is based. Further, Part 543.9(c)(2) provides for the 
submission of petitions ``to modify an exemption to permit the use of 
an antitheft device similar to but differing from the one specified in 
that exemption.''
    The agency wishes to minimize the administrative burden that Part 
543.9(c)(2) could place on exempted vehicle manufacturers and itself. 
The agency did not intend in drafting Part 543 to require the 
submission of a modification petition for every change to the 
components or design of an antitheft device. The significance of many 
such changes could be de minimis. Therefore, 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 

    Issued on: April 18, 2013.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2013-09685 Filed 4-23-13; 8:45 am]