Search Interpretations


Robert Babcock, Senior Manager

Regulation and Certification Department

Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center Inc.

6800 Geddes Road

Superior Township, MI 48198

Dear Mr. Babcock:

This responds to your letter asking about an exemption from vehicle parts marking pursuant to 49 CFR Part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard. As we understand your letter, you ask about optional antitheft device equipment for a car line that has received an exemption for standard equipment where the optional equipment is equivalent in capability to the standard equipment that received the exemption. Our answer is we cannot provide the exemption you request.

49 U.S.C. Section 33106, Exemption for passenger motor vehicles equipped with anti-theft devices, permits manufacturers to petition the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for an exemption for a line of passenger motor vehicles equipped as standard equipment with an anti-theft device that [NHTSA] decides is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard. (Emphasis added.) (See 49 U.S.C. Section 30166(b)(2)).

Your letter states that: HATCI [Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc.] requests the consideration of the agency to the extension of this [exemption] provision to optional equipment where the option would be concluded to be as likely to be effective in reducing and deterring vehicle theft as would the standard equipment that the agency had previously provided an exemption where all vehicles in the car line would employ one or the other equivalent system.

We are unable to comply with your request. By statute, the exemptions are to apply only to motor vehicle lines with antitheft devices as standard equipment. Standard equipment is defined at 49 U.S.C. Section 33106(a)(2) as: equipment already installed in a motor vehicle when it is delivered from the manufacturer and not an accessory or other item that the first purchaser customarily has the option to have installed.

Your letter states that: HATCI believes that section 543.9(ii) provides the appropriate mechanism for this extension 49 CFR Part 543 establishes procedures for filing and processing petitions to exempt lines of vehicles from the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard. Section 543.2 specifies that the purpose of Part 543 is to specify the content and format of petitions for vehicle lines which include certain antitheft devices as standard requirement. Section 543.9 establishes procedures for NHTSA to terminate or modify an exemption provided under Part 543. There is no section 543.9(ii) in Part 543; we believe that you meant section 543.9(c)(2)(ii). At any rate, section 543.9 applies to procedures to terminate or modify an exemption for high theft motor vehicles lines that include antitheft devices as standard equipment.

If you have questions about this or related issues, please feel free to contact my office at (202) 366-2992.

Sincerely yours,

Anthony M. Cooke

Chief Counsel