Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0005; Notice 1]

Michelin North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Michelin North America, Inc. (Michelin), has determined that certain passenger car tires manufactured between September 18, 2008 and October 10, 2008 did not fully comply with paragraphs S5.5(e) and S5.5(f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 139New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles.Michelin has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573,Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Michelin has petitioned 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.

This notice of receipt of Michelin'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.

Affected are approximately 2,240 size P195/60R15 (87T) Michelin Harmony brand passenger car tires manufactured between September 18, 2008 and October 10, 2008 at Michelin's plant located in Pictou, Canada. Approximately 1,590 of these tires have been delivered to Michelin's customers. The remaining tires (approximately 650) are being held in Michelin's possession until they can be correctly relabeled.

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, these provisions only apply to the tires that have already passed from the manufacturer to an owner, purchaser, or dealer.

Paragraphs S5.5(e) and S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139 require in pertinent part:

Michelin explains that the noncompliance is that, due to a mold labeling error, the sidewall marking on the reference side of the tires incorrectly describes the number of plies in the tread area of the tires. Specifically, the tires in question were inadvertently manufactured with "Tread Plies: 2 Polyester + 2 polyamide + 2 steel; Sidewall plies: 2 polyester" marked on the intended outboard sidewall. The labeling should have been "Tread Plies: 2 Polyester + 1 polyamide + 2 steel; Sidewall plies: 2 polyester." Michelin also explains that the marking on the other sidewall of the tires correctly describes the plies in the tread area of the tires.

Michelin states that it discovered the mold labeling error that caused the non-compliance during a routine quality audit.

Michelin argues that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because the noncompliant sidewall marking does not affect the strength of the tires and all other labeling requirements have been met.

Michelin points out that NHTSA has previously granted petitions for sidewall marking noncompliances that Michelin believes are similar to the instant noncompliance.

Michelin also stated that it has corrected the problem that caused these errors so that they will not be repeated in future production.

In summation, Michelin states that it believes that because the noncompliances are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety that no corrective action is warranted.

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 be submitted by any of the following methods:

a. 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.

b. By hand delivery 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.

c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to 1-202-493-2251.

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,including any personal information provided.

Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in theFederal Registerpublished on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).

You may view documents submitted to a docket at the address and times given above. You may also view the documents on the Internet athttp://www.regulations.govby following the online instructions for accessing the dockets available at that Web site.

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 theFederal Registerpursuant to the authority indicated below.

Comment closing date:March 23, 2009.

Issued on: February 12, 2009. Claude H. Harris, Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.