Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
P.O. Box 30911
Reno, Nevada 89520-3911
Dear Mr. Love:
We have received your letter of November 29, 1994, asking for an interpretation of 49 CFR Part 591.
Specifically, Porsche wishes to import vehicles for the Canadian market through the Port of Charleston, where certain processing activities will be performed on the cars before they are exported to Canada. The temporary importation of Canadian-market cars would be through 591.5(c) which allows importation "solely for export", provided that the vehicle is so labeled. You have asked for our concurrence in your interpretation of 591.5(c). We agree that Porsche may import and export Canadian-market cars under this section of the importation regulation.
You foresee a situation in which "a Canadian vehicle with a unique combination of options might be sought by a U.S. customer". Porsche would like to be able to convert the vehicle to comply with the U.S. Federal motor vehicle safety standards after importation and before it leaves Porsche's control. Porsche would also like to be able to re-import from Canada into the U.S. vehicles that would be converted to U.S. specifications. You have asked for confirmation that these operations would also be permissible under 591.5(c).
Importation of noncomplying motor vehicles into the United States and their subsequent conversion to the U.S. Federal motor vehicle safety standards must be accomplished through the mechanisms established by Congress in the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988 (now 49 U.S.C. 30141 et seq.). First, NHTSA must have decided that the vehicle is eligible for importation pursuant to 49 CFR Part 593. Second, a vehicle intended for sale must be imported under bond by one who has been designated a Registered Importer under 49 CFR Part 592, who will undertake to bring the vehicle into compliance and to submit appropriate proof of this to NHTSA. Porsche may become a Registered Importer by filing an application under Part 592.
If a vehicle intended for the Canadian market has been temporarily imported under 591.5(c), and Porsche then wishes to convert it to U.S. specifications rather than export it to Canada, you should telephone Clive Van Orden, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (202-366- 2830), to apprise him of the situation. We see no problem in this as long as NHTSA has decided that the vehicle is eligible for importation and Porsche provides a compliance package, in accordance with the requirements of Parts 592 and 593.
Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel ref:591#592#593 d:12/22/94