Mr. Roy Dickinson
Falken Tire Corporation
10404 Sixth Street
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Re: Petition for Exemption for an Inconsequential Noncompliance With Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard

Dear Mr. Dickinson:

This is in response to your petition of May 20, 1996, for exemption from the notification and remedy requirements that apply when a manufacturer has determined that a noncompliance exists in motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment that it has produced.

Falken Tire has determined that a noncompliance with paragraph S4.3(d) of Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 109 exists in 13,000 tires that it has produced. The plies in the tread are shown as "1 polyester + 2 Stel" instead of "1 polyester + 2 Steel."

Paragraph S4.3(d) requires that tires be labeled with the generic name of each cord material used in the plies. In the opinion of the agency, Falken Tire has provided this information, albeit in a slightly misspelled form. Since there is no generic cord material called "stel," readers who observe the misspelling will understand that steel is meant. Therefore, in our opinion, the Falken tires in question conform with paragraph S4.3(d) of Standard No. 109, and its petition is moot.

This situation is to be distinguished from those in which a mistake is made in a numerical value on a tire sidewall label, such as reversal of ply counts, inflation pressure, or load rating. In these instances, a noncompliance exists because the typographical error provides incorrect and misleading information. The correct information may be vital to safety, and, when such an error occurs, it requires the manufacturer to notify and remedy, if not excused pursuant to the petition process.

We appreciate your concern over your minor mistake. If you have any questions, you may refer them to Taylor Vinson of this Office (202-366-5263).


John Womack
Acting Chief Counsel