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Interpretation ID: 2507y

Mr. Mike Love
Manager, Safety Compliance
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
100 West Liberty Street
P. O. Box 30911
Reno, Nevada 89520-3911

Dear Mr. Love:

This responds to your request that this agency determine that the new feature added to the antitheft device proposed to be installed on the MY 1991 911 and 928 Porsche car lines, represents a de minimis change in the system that was the basis for the agency's previous granting of a theft exemption for those car lines beginning in MY 1990, and that therefore Porsche 911's and 928's containing the new device would be fully covered by that exemption.

As you are aware, the Porsche 911 and 928 car lines were granted an exemption, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 543, from antitheft marking because Porsche showed that the antitheft device to be used in lieu of marking on these car lines was likely to be as effective as parts marking. This exemption was issued on May 25, 1989, and appeared in the Federal Register on June 2, 1989 (54 FR 23727).

The agency granted the exemption from theft marking because the agency found that based on substantial evidence, the agency believed that the antitheft device is "likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard (49 CFR Part 541)." In the granting of the exemption from theft marking, the agency stated that it believed that the device will provide the types of performance listed in 49 CFR Part 543.6(a)(3): Promoting activation; attracting attention to unauthorized entries; preventing defeat or circumventing of the device by unauthorized persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by unauthorized entrants; and ensuring the reliability and durability of the device.

In your letter, it was stated that beginning from MY 1991, Porsche plans to modify the antitheft device that is standard equipment on the Porsche 911 and 928, as follows: integrate the alarm control unit with the central locking and interior light control units; incorporate a feature that will also monitor the glove box for unauthorized opening; improve diagnostic capability in order to enhance serviceability; and install a capability to accept other features (such as motion sensors) if they are desired in the future.

In addition, it was stated that the changes in the system will be virtually unnoticeable to the operator, and that the system will still be armed passively by locking either door with the key. Further, with the addition of the glovebox, all the same points of entry, such as the doors, hood, and hatch, will be monitored by the system and the engine disabling and alarm features will be the same. Porsche further stated that the system "will be as protected and tamper resistant as the current system."

After reviewing the proposed changes to the componentry and performance of the antitheft device on which the exemption was based, the agency concludes that the changes are de minimis. While the new device has enhanced componentry and provides some aspects of performance not provided by the original device, it also continues to provide the same aspects of performance provided by the original device and relies on essentially the same componentry to provide that performance. Therefore, it is not necessary for Porsche to submit a petition to modify the exemption pursuant to 49 CFR Part 543.9(c)(2).

If Porsche does not implement the new antitheft device as described in your letter, or delays implementation until after MY 1991, we request that Porsche notify the agency of such decisions.

It is my understanding that, in an April 13, 1990, telephone conversation with Dorothy Nakama of NHTSA's Office of Chief Counsel, you stated that Porsche was not requesting confidential treatment of any information provided in your letter. Therefore, a copy of your letter, and this response, will be placed together in NHTSA's public docket.


Barry Felrice Associate Administrator for Rulemaking

ref:Part 543 d:5/3l/90