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Interpretation ID: 2677y

Mr. Stephen R. Darling
Presvac Systems (Burlington) Ltd.
4131 Morris Drive
Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7L 5L5

Dear Mr. Darling:

This responds to your inquiry about an amendment to 49 CFR Part 575, Consumer Information Regulations, requiring vehicle manufacturers to include information in the owner's manual (or on a one-page document if there is no owner's manual) about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline and its defect investigation and remedy and recall authority. (54 FR 48745, November 27, 1989; copy enclosed). I apologize for the delay in our response.

You explained that you are involved in three types of activities: the manufacture of liquid cargo vessel trailers; the fabrication of liquid cargo tanks; and the installation of these tanks onto existing or modified truck chassis. While you acknowledged your obligation to furnish the consumer information for the trailers you manufacture, you were uncertain about your responsibilities to furnish this information for the liquid cargo tanks you fabricate and install. You asked whether you are required to supply the specified consumer information in these instances. Your questions are responded to below.

Section 575.6(a)(2)(i), as amended, provides that "At the time a motor vehicle manufactured on or after September 1, 1990 is delivered to the first purchaser for purposes other than resale, the manufacturer shall provide to the purchaser" a specified statement about this agency's activities related to motor vehicle defects. Among other things, the specified statement indicates that if an owner believes the vehicle has a defect which could cause a crash or an injury or death, the owner should inform NHTSA in addition to notifying the manufacturer. The manufacturer's name must be indicated in the statement.

In responding to your questions, I note that section 575.6(a)(2)(i) applies to manufacturers of new motor vehicles. As a manufacturer of trailers, you are, of course, responsible for providing the specified consumer information to the first purchaser of such trailers (for purposes other than resale). On the other hand, in situations where you are not a vehicle manufacturer, e.g., where you may be installing tanks on used motor vehicles, the requirements would not apply.

Your letter also raises the issue of how section 575.6(a)(2)(i) applies in situations where there is more than one manufacturer of a motor vehicle, i.e., where vehicles are manufactured in two or more stages. While it is not clear from your letter, it is possible that you may be a final stage manufacturer under 49 CFR Part 568. (The term "final stage manufacturer" is defined in 49 CFR Part 568.3.)

As indicated above, section 575.6(a)(2)(i) specifies that, at the time a vehicle is delivered to the first purchaser for purposes other than resale, "the manufacturer" must provide specified consumer information to the purchaser. Since the regulation requires information to be provided at the time of first consumer sale, we construe it to require the manufacturer of the completed vehicle, i.e., the final stage manufacturer, to meet this requirement. As a general rule, the final stage manufacturer is the manufacturer that has the closest relationship to the dealer which sells the vehicle to the consumer. It is also the manufacturer that the consumer will typically contact first in the event of problems.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Marvin Shaw of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.


Paul Jackson Rice Chief Counsel Enclosures ref:568#575 d:l0/l/90