[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 28 (Thursday, February 11, 2016)]
[Pages 7408-7410]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02726]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0094; Notice 2]

Ferrari North America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.


SUMMARY: Ferrari North America, Inc. (FNA), has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 2007-2009 Ferrari F430 passenger cars do not fully 
comply with paragraph S4.4(c)(2), of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. FNA filed a 
report dated July 16, 2014, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. FNA then petitioned NHTSA 
under 49 CFR part 556 requesting a decision that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Kerrin 
Bressant, Office of Vehicles Safety Compliance, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-1110, 
facsimile (202) 366-3081.


I. Overview

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, FNA submitted a 
petition for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements 
of 49 U.S.C.

[[Page 7409]]

Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on June 17, 2015, in the Federal Register (80 FR 
34787). 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-2014-0094.''

II. Vehicles Involved

    Affected are approximately 1,975 MY 2007-2009 Ferrari model F430 
passenger cars manufactured from September 1, 2007 through July 29, 

III. Noncompliance

    FNA explains that the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) 
malfunction indicator illuminates as required by FMVSS No. 138 when a 
malfunction is first detected, however, if the malfunction is caused by 
an incompatible wheel, when the vehicle ignition is deactivated and 
then reactivated to the ``On'' (``Run'') position after a five-minute 
period, the malfunction indicator does not re-illuminate immediately as 
required. FNA added, that the malfunction indicator in the subject 
vehicles will re-illuminate after a maximum of 40 seconds of driving 
above 23 miles per hour (mph).

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S4.4(c)(2) of FMVSS No. 138 requires in pertinent part:

    S4.4 TPMS Malfunction.
* * * * *
    (c) Combination low tire pressure/TPMS malfunction telltale. The 
vehicle meets the requirements of S4.4(a) when equipped with a 
combined Low Tire Pressure/TPMS malfunction telltale that:
    (2) Flashes for a period of at least 60 seconds but no longer 
than 90 seconds upon detection of any condition specified in S4.4(a) 
after the ignition locking system is activated to the ``On'' 
(``Run'') position. After each period of prescribed flashing, the 
telltale must remain continuously illuminated as long as a 
malfunction exists and the ignition locking system is in the ``On'' 
(``Run'') position. This flashing and illumination sequence must be 
repeated each time the ignition locking system is placed in the 
``On'' (``Run'') position until the situation causing the 
malfunction has been corrected. . . .

V. Summary of FNA's Analyses

    FNA stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    (A) FNA stated that the TPMS in the subject vehicles generally 
functions properly to alert the driver to a low tire pressure. 
Moreover, the TPMS malfunction indicator illuminates as required when a 
problem is first detected. If, however, there is an incompatible wheel 
and tire unit, when the vehicle ignition is deactivated and then 
reactivated after a five-minute period, the malfunction indicator does 
not re-illuminate immediately as required by FMVSS No. 138. According 
to FNA, the malfunction indicator will illuminate shortly thereafter, 
and, in any event, it will illuminate in no more than 40 seconds after 
the vehicle accelerates above 23 mph. Once the vehicle has accelerated 
above 23 mph for a period of 15 seconds, the TPMS will seek to confirm 
the sensors fitted to the vehicle, and in the case a sensor is not 
fitted, the TPMS will detect this condition within a maximum of 25 
additional seconds and activate the malfunction indicator. Thus, FNA 
explained that even in the presence of the noncompliance, drivers are 
warned of the malfunction in less than one minute of driving at or 
above normal urban speeds.
    (B) FNA further explained that if the TPMS fails to detect a 
compatible wheel sensor, the TPMS monitor will display no value for the 
tire pressure of the affected wheel(s). The TPMS monitor will alert the 
driver to the fact that something is not functioning properly with the 
system, pending the illumination of the malfunction indicator.
    (C) FNA said that the noncompliance is confined to one particular 
aspect of the functionality of the otherwise compliant TPMS malfunction 
indicator. All other aspects of the low-pressure monitoring system 
functionality are fully compliant with the requirements of FMVSS No. 
    (D) FNA said it is not aware of any customer complaints, field 
communications, incidents or injuries related to this condition.
    In summation, FNA believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that 
its petition, to exempt FNA from providing notification of 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.

NHTSA's Decision

    NHTSA's Analysis: FNA explained that although the malfunction 
indicator does not re-illuminate immediately after the vehicle is 
restarted, it will illuminate shortly thereafter--within 40 seconds 
after the vehicle speed exceeds 23 mph.
    NHTSA agrees with FNA that the malfunction indicator will not 
illuminate as required during very short periods of time when the 
vehicle is traveling at low speeds and thus poses little risk to 
vehicle safety. Under normal driving conditions, a driver will begin a 
trip by accelerating moderately beyond 23 mph, and as explained by FNA, 
once the vehicle accelerates above 23 mph, the malfunction indicator 
re-illuminates and then it will remain illuminated for the entire 
ignition cycle, regardless of vehicle speed. We agree the noncompliance 
will only occur in the very rare case where the driver begins a trip 
and never exceeds the 23 mph threshold, the speed required to re-
activate the malfunction indicator. No real safety risk exists because 
at such low speeds there is little risk of vehicle loss of control due 
to underinflated tires. Furthermore, the possibility that the vehicle 
will experience both a low inflation pressure condition and a 
malfunction simultaneously is highly unlikely.
    FNA stated that if the TPMS fails to detect the wheel sensors, a 
TPMS monitor is also provided that displays on its TPMS pressures 
screen ``--'' warning the driver that the status of the wheel sensor is 
not confirmed. The agency evaluated the displays FNA uses in the 
noncompliant vehicles. In addition to the combination telltale 
indicator lamp, the subject vehicles are equipped with a ``plan view'' 
icon which displays the pressures for all four wheels individually. If 
any wheel has a malfunctioning pressure sensor the indicator for that 
wheel displays several dashes indicating the there is a problem with 
that respective wheel. The additional information is not required by 
the safety standard, but can be used as an aid to the driver to 
determine the status of a vehicle's tires.
    FNA discussed that the noncompliance only involves one specific 
aspect of the malfunction and that the primary functions of the TPMS, 
identification of other malfunctions and identification of low 
inflation pressure scenarios, is not affected.
    The agency agrees with FNA's reasoning that the primary function of 
the TPMS is to identify low tire inflation pressure conditions which 
FNA's system does as required by the

[[Page 7410]]

safety standard. Also, there are a variety of other malfunctions that 
can occur in addition to the delayed re-illumination malfunction 
identified in this petition. We understand from FNA that the TPMS 
installed in the subject vehicles will otherwise perform as required.
    FNA mentioned that they have not received or are aware of any 
consumer complaints, field communications, incidences or injuries 
related to this noncompliance. In addition to the analysis done by FNA 
that looked at customer complaints, field communications, incidents or 
injuries related to this condition, NHTSA conducted additional checks 
of NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigations consumer complaint database 
and found two subject vehicle complaints both of which were determined 
to be unrelated to this petition.
    NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing analysis, NHTSA 
has decided that FNA has met its burden of demonstrating that the FMVSS 
No. 138 noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, FNA's petition is hereby granted and FNA is exempted from 
the obligation of providing notification of, and a remedy for, the 
subject 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, this decision 
only applies to the subject noncompliant vehicles that FNA no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. 
However, the granting of 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 FNA 
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. 2016-02726 Filed 2-10-16; 8:45 am]