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Interpretation ID: 2504y

Virve Airola
Oy Toppi Ab
Toppi Plast.
PL 25 P.O. Box
SF-02321 ESPOO

Dear Mr. Airola:

This responds to your letter concerning Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 106, Brake Hoses. We understand that you are interested in supplying your products to a vehicle manufacturer (Saab-Scania), who specifies that you must "register" with this agency as a brake hose manufacturer. You request information that would enable you to meet this product specification. I regret the delay in responding.

By way of background, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administers Federal regulations for the manufacture and sale of new motor vehicles and certain items of motor vehicle equipment (including brake hoses) sold in or imported into this country. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act establishes a "self-certification" process under which each manufacturer is responsible for certifying that its products meet all applicable safety standards. This process requires each manufacturer to determine in the exercise of due care that its products meet all applicable requirements. NHTSA tests vehicles and equipment sold to consumers for compliance with the FMVSS's and investigates defects relating to motor vehicle safety. If a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a noncompliance or safety-related defect exists, the manufacturer must notify purchasers of its product and remedy the problem free of charge. (Note that this responsibility is borne by the vehicle manufacturer in cases in which your hoses are installed on a new vehicle by or with the express authorization of that vehicle manufacturer.) Any manufacturer which fails to provide notification of or remedy for a noncompliance or defect may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation.

Saab-Scania's product specification appears to relate to the labeling requirements of Standard No. 106. Under S7.2.1(b) of Standard No. 106, air brake hose manufacturers must label their hose with a designation (consisting of block capital letters, numerals or a symbol) that identifies the manufacturer of the hose. The designation assists NHTSA in identifying the manufacturers of noncomplying or defective brake hoses. There is no NHTSA application form for the designation; instead, the manufacturer simply files the designation in writing with NHTSA's Crash Avoidance Division, at the address provided in S7.2.1(b) of the standard.

From your letter, it appears that Saab-Scania also specifies that your brake hoses must meet all applicable FMVSS's. Standard No. 106 applies to new motor vehicles and to "brake hoses" (which include plastic tubing), brake hose end fittings, and brake hose assemblies. The standard specifies labeling and performance requirements for these products to reduce the likelihood of brake system failure from ruptures in the brake hose or brake hose assembly. New brake hoses, end fittings and assemblies must meet these requirements to be sold in or imported into this country. If they don't comply, the manufacturers are subject to civil penalties of $1000 per violation, and the notification and remedy provisions of the Safety Act. I have enclosed a copy of the standard for your information, photocopied from the October 1, 1989 edition of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR 571.106).

In addition to the requirements described above, please note that your manufacture of brake hoses may also be affected by NHTSA's longstanding interpretation of our regulation on manufacturer identification (49 CFR Part 566; copy enclosed), if Saab-Scania sells vehicles equipped with your brake hoses in this country. This rule requires a manufacturer of equipment to which an FMVSS applies ("covered equipment"--e.g., brake hoses) to submit its name, address, and a brief description of the items of equipment it manufactures to NHTSA separately from the vehicle manufacturer to which the equipment manufacturer supplies its products. NHTSA has interpreted this regulation to require the information from foreign manufacturers of covered equipment supplying their products to a foreign vehicle manufacturer selling its vehicles in the United States. (Enclosed is a copy of the agency's January 26, 1972 letter to Mr. Nakajima of Toyota Motor Company on this issue.)

Please note that Oy Toppi is not required to designate an agent for service of process under 49 CFR Part 551 (Subpart D), if Oy Toppi supplies its products only to a foreign vehicle manufacturer. This is the case even if the foreign vehicle manufacturer installs Oy Toppi's products on vehicles that will be sold in the United States. However, please keep in mind that Oy Toppi must designate an agent under Part 551 if Oy Toppi decides to offer its equipment for importation into the United States. I have enclosed a copy of this regulation for your information.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if you have further questions.


Stephen P. Wood Acting Chief Counsel

Enclosures /ref:106#VSA#566#551 d:5/3l/90