Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
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You may call the Docket at 202-366-9324.
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Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30120(e) and 49 CFR 557.6(d) and 557.7, NHTSA has decided to hold a public hearing on whether Wildfire has reasonably met its obligation under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, as amended (Safety Act), to remedy the MY 2009 Wildfire WF650-C's noncompliances with FMVSS No. 122,
A manufacturer of a motor vehicle that decides in good faith that the vehicle does not comply with an applicable FMVSS must notify NHTSA by submitting a Defect and Noncompliance Information Report, commonly referred to as a Part 573 Report. 49 U.S.C. 30118(c); 49 CFR 573.6.
Pursuant to the Safety Act, a “manufacturer” of a motor vehicle is a person manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles, or a person importing motor vehicles for resale. 49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(5). Both the importer of a motor vehicle and the fabricating manufacturer of the vehicle are responsible for remedying any noncompliance determined to exist in the vehicle. 49 CFR 573.5(a). As to imported motor vehicles, compliance with recall regulations by either the fabricating manufacturer or the importer of the vehicle shall be considered compliance by both. 49 CFR 573.3(b).
A manufacturer of a noncomplying motor vehicle is required to remedy the vehicle without charge. 49 U.S.C. 30120(a). The manufacturer may remedy the noncompliance by repairing the vehicle, by replacing the vehicle with an identical or reasonably equivalent vehicle, or by refunding the purchase
On its own motion or on application by any interested person, NHTSA may conduct a hearing to decide whether a manufacturer has reasonably met the remedy requirements. 49 U.S.C. 30120(e). If NHTSA decides that the manufacturer has not reasonably met the remedy requirements, it shall order the manufacturer to take specified action to meet those requirements, including by ordering the manufacturer to refund the purchase price of the noncomplying vehicles, less a reasonable allowance for depreciation. 49 U.S.C. 30120(a), (c), (e). NHTSA may also take any other action authorized by the Safety Act, including assessing civil penalties.
The MY 2009 WF650-C is a three-wheeled vehicle with an enclosed cab body style. As a three-wheeled vehicle, the MY 2009 WF650-C is subject to the FMVSSs for motorcycles.
Wildfire is the importer of the MY 2009 WF650-C and the registered agent for the fabricating manufacturer, Taixing Sandi Motorcycle Co., Ltd. (TSM) of China. Don Snyder is the President and CEO of the privately held Wildfire.
In 2009, NHTSA tested a NHTSA-owned MY 2009 WF650-C for compliance with FMVSS No. 122,
NHTSA identified multiple apparent noncompliances with FMVSS No. 122. First, the vehicle did not comply with the first effectiveness requirement of FMVSS No. 122, S5.2.1,
NHTSA also later identified and notified Wildfire of two additional apparent noncompliances with other requirements of FMVSS No. 122. First, the vehicle did not comply with FMVSS No. 122, S188.8.131.52,
Although NHTSA provided Wildfire with information in December 2009 regarding the apparent noncompliances with the stopping distance and master cylinder reservoir requirements, Wildfire did not acknowledge at that time that the MY 2009 WF650-C failed to comply with FMVSS No. 122. NHTSA's December 2009 letter requested certain information from Wildfire, to further its investigation of the apparent noncompliances.
After NHTSA notified Wildfire that its response was deficient, Wildfire purported to conduct stopping distance testing on a vehicle in April 2010.
After making arrangements with NHTSA, on September 28, 2010, Wildfire representatives inspected the vehicle at TRC and adjusted and bled the brakes. Wildfire claimed that these adjustments would allow the vehicle to comply with the stopping distance requirements. However, the adjustments did not materially change the results. When the vehicle was retested on September 30, 2010, it again failed to stop from 30 m.p.h. within 54 feet (or from 45 m.p.h. within 121 feet), as required by FMVSS No. 122, S5.2.1,
In December 2011, NHTSA requested in writing that Wildfire and/or TSM make a determination that the MY 2009 WF650-C is noncompliant with FMVSS No. 122 and conduct a voluntary recall. NHTSA's recall request letter addressed each of the four apparent noncompliances identified above.
Following NHTSA's formal request, and over two years after NHTSA notified Wildfire of the apparent noncompliances with the stopping distance and master cylinder reservoir requirements, Wildfire initiated a recall.
However, Wildfire did not address the stopping distance requirements of FMVSS No. 122 in its initial Part 573 Report. In a letter to Wildfire dated February 1, 2012, NHTSA again requested that Wildfire determine there was a noncompliance with S5.2.1,
NHTSA identified several deficiencies with Wildfire's amended Part 573 Report, including that it failed to include a clear and unequivocal statement by Wildfire that a noncompliance existed with the stopping distance requirements of FMVSS No. 122 and failed to specify a valid remedy for that noncompliance.
NHTSA assigned Recall Number 12V-031 to Wildfire's recall campaign. Most recently, Wildfire reported that there are 197 vehicles subject to the recall.
Wildfire elected the remedy of repairing the FMVSS No. 122 noncompliances subject to the recalls.
In its notification letter to owners regarding the recall, Wildfire indicated that the WF650-C should not be operated until the vehicle is remedied, that parts should be available for the repair after May 14, 2012, and that owners should contact a Wildfire dealer as soon as possible to obtain a service date.
After Wildfire failed to provide NHTSA with sufficient information about its proposed repair remedy in response to NHTSA's requests, on June 5, 2012 NHTSA sent Wildfire a Special Order seeking additional information related to the recall and repair remedy. Wildfire responded to the Special Order on July 12, 2012. Wildfire indicated in its response that it did not expect parts to be available for the repairs until July 20, 2012.
Wildfire also represented in its Special Order response, made under oath, that its repair remedy would make MY 2009 WF650-Cs compliant with all applicable requirements of FMVSS No. 122.
Wildfire also entered into an Agreement with NHTSA to repair the NHTSA-owned MY 2009 WF650-C in accordance with its repair remedy, which NHTSA would then retest to the requirements of FMVSS No. 122.
Thus, contrary to Wildfire's representation, its repair remedy does not bring the recalled vehicles into compliance with FMVSS No. 122. The vehicles subject to the recall remain noncompliant.
NHTSA has decided that it is necessary to conduct a public hearing to decide whether Wildfire has reasonably met the remedy requirements under 49 U.S.C. 30120.
NHTSA will consider the views of participants in deciding whether Wildfire has reasonably met the remedy requirements under 49 U.S.C. 30120, and in developing the terms of an order (if any) requiring Wildfire to take specified action as the remedy for the noncompliances and/or take other action. 49 U.S.C. 30120(e); 49 CFR 557.8.
The hearing will be held at a site accessible to individuals with disabilities. Individuals who require accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, should contact Ms. Kerry Kolodziej using the contact information in the
Persons who wish to file written comments should submit them so that they are received by NHTSA no later than October 9, 2012. Information on how to submit written comments to the docket is located under the
49 U.S.C. 30120(e); 49 CFR 557.6(d), 557.7; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95(a), 501.2(a)(1), and 49 CFR 501.8.