Mr. Dennis L. O'Connor
Manager, Government & Customer Compliance
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Akron, OH 44316-0001

Dear Mr. O'Connor:

This responds to your letter addressed to Walter Myers of my staff, in which you requested this agency's interpretation of what constitutes a "new" tire for purposes of applying the provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 109, New pneumatic tires and No. 119, New pneumatic tires for vehicles other than passenger cars.

Your question relates to section 30112 of Title 49, United States Code, which provides, in paragraph (a), that no person may manufacture for sale, sell, offer for sale, introduce into interstate commerce, or import for sale any motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment on or after the effective date of any FMVSS that does not comply with that standard and is so certified. Section 30112(b) provides that this requirement does not apply, however, to a vehicle or item of equipment after the first purchase of that product in good faith other than for resale. Section 30112(a) applies, therefore, to the sale of Anew@ motor vehicles and Anew@ items of motor vehicle equipment, as opposed to used vehicles and equipment items.

FMVSS Nos. 109 and 119 specify performance and labeling requirements applicable to new pneumatic tires for use on passenger cars and motor vehicles other than passenger cars, respectively. Standard Nos. 110 and 120 require that new motor vehicles be equipped with tires that meet either FMVSS No. 109 or FMVSS No. 119.

Turning now to the question of what is meant by a "new" tire as opposed to a "used" tire, a vehicle or item of equipment is new from the time of its manufacture until its first retail sale. The agency considers the point at which the vehicle or item of equipment is delivered to the customer to be a critical factor in determining whether and when an item has been purchased. Thus, it is at the point of delivery of the item to the retail purchaser that a vehicle or item of equipment ceases to be "new" and therefore subject to Federal law and the FMVSSs, and becomes "used" and subject to state law and regulations.

The agency considers a motor vehicle to be the sum of its parts, including the tires mounted on the vehicle and its spare tire, if any. Accordingly, after a vehicle is delivered to its first retail purchaser, every component on and in that vehicle, including all its tires, becomes "used" for the purposes of the FMVSSs.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Should you have any further questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact Mr. Myers at this address or at (202) 366-2992.


Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel

ref:109#119 d:4/18/96