Mr. Bill Cox
Monte Carlo Minis
Earl, NC 28038
Dear Mr. Cox:
This is in reply to your faxes of September 22, 1997, and October 1, 1997, to Taylor Vinson of this Office.
With your fax of September 22, you attached an article distributed by the Knight-Ridder newspapers on the arrival of the first Chinese truck or sport utility vehicle at a Michigan dealership. This article contains the statement that "since it's considered a low-volume vehicle, it needn't comply with U.S. safety standards. It doesn't have air bags and it doesn't meet U.S. crash standards." You have asked how they are allowed to do this.
The article is incorrect. All low-volume motor vehicles must comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards in order to be imported and sold in the United States, unless it has filed for and received an exemption from the standards. As Mr. Vinson informed you in his call to you on October 1, no exemption has been granted this Chinese vehicle.
In your fax of October 1, you state that new Volkswagen Beetles are being imported under an exemption from NHTSA "allowing small volume importers to import 10 cars or less not to comply." You ask why you weren't told about this exemption. As with the Chinese Jeep, the Volkswagen Beetle does not have a small volume importer exemption. However, this vehicle could be imported as one that has been refurbished from an original vehicle that is more than 25 years old. If this is the case, then the vehicle is not required to comply upon admission to the United States.
We are providing copies of your correspondence to our compliance office. Thank you for informing us of these matters.
Acting Chief Counsel