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Interpretation ID: aiam0110

Warren M. Heath, Commander, Engineering Section, California Highway Patrol, P.O. Box 898, Sacramento, CA 95804; Warren M. Heath
Engineering Section
California Highway Patrol
P.O. Box 898
CA 95804;

Dear Commander Heath: This is in response to your letter of August 19 inquiring as to th certification responsibility of manufacturers of assemblers of dune buggy kits with respect to conformance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. But the issue you raise is far broader and involves the whole area of owner-assembled motor vehicles.; You have stated:>>>It is our interpretation that Federal Standard 10 is not applicable to dune buggies that are owner-constructed or reconstructed for the builders personal use.'<<<; This interpretation is incorrect. It is a violation of sectio 108(a)(1) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 for any person to:; >>>'...introduce or deliver for introduction in interstat commerce...any motor vehicle...manufactured [or assembled] on and after the date any applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standard takes effect...unless it is in conformity with such standard...'<<<; This means that the final assembler of a dune buggy, whoever he is must insure that the completed vehicle conforms to all applicable Standards including No. 108. In the case of dune buggies, this means Standards applicable to multipurpose passenger vehicles since a dune buggy is 'constructed...with special features for occasional off-road operation.' (23 C.F.R. S255.3(b)).; It is our understanding that a dune buggy consists of a newl manufactured body mounted on the modified chassis of a passenger car previously in use. An issue is raised by the facts that dune buggies are assembled from both new and used items of motor vehicle equipment and that there is language in the Act which appears to exempt 'any motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment after the first purchase of it in good faith for purposes other than resale' (section 108(b)(1). However, since the modification involving used components goes far beyond customizing a used vehicle and results in the end product having a different classification under the Federal Standards and a different purpose than the original vehicle a dune buggy is a 'new' motor vehicle for purposes of the Act.; Continuing your interpretation you further state: >>>'However, those sold as kits or by a manufacturer are required t comply with Federal Standard 108.'<<<; Only assembled vehicles are required to conform to most Federa Standards including No. 108, and there is no legal requirement under the Act that a kit seller furnish lighting equipment meeting the various SAE requirements specified in that Standard. Some Federal Standards, however, do establish requirements applicable to equipment items as well as to assembled vehicles. If a kit manufacturer furnishes hydraulic brake hoses (Standard No. 105), new pneumatic tires (Standard No. 109), glazing materials (Standard No. 205), seat belt assemblies (Standard No. 209), and wheel discs, wheel covers, or hub caps (Standard No. 211), then these items must conform to the applicable Standard.; Finally, there appears to be some misunderstanding of the certificatio required by section 114 of the Act. This certification is required to be furnished only by a manufacturer, or distributor, and only to a distributor or dealer upon delivery of a motor vehicle or equipment item to which a Standard or Standards are applicable. No certification is required to be given by a manufacturer to a party not a distributor or dealer. Nor is there any requirement that the assembler per se certify the vehicle. This of course, does not relieve the assembler of his independent obligation to insure that the assembled vehicle meets Federal Standards.; I hope this answers your questions. Sincerely, Robert M. O'Mahoney, Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulations