1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

March 15, 1994


Effective immediately, during the eligibility petition process when you submit a petition in accordance with 49 CFR 593.6(a)(1), 593.6(a)(2), and 593.6(b)(1) (if applicable), we will require the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle for which an import eligibility determination is sought as well as the U.S. certified vehicle you believe to be substantially similar.


Effective immediately, the compliance package must include a statement that indicates that at the time of submission, the subject vehicle was examined against existing recall campaigns and was or was not involved in any recall campaigns.

Further, if the vehicle was involved in a recall campaign, indicate the appropriate recall campaign number, that the modifications to the vehicle were made and describe the modification.


Mercedes-Benz of North America has informed us that starting with the 1993 models, the air bag system does not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, in other than the U.S. certified models. Therefore, the petition must indicate that the air bags and bolsters required for compliance to FMVSS 208 will be installed.


You are reminded of your responsibility to provide to the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (OVSC) a copy of every contract you make to provide Registered Importer services. This contract should include the following vehicle information as a minimum: We request that the copy be provided within 5 days after signature.


April 29, 1994


We have become increasingly aware of importers negotiating with Customs officials in an effort to import Russian and Chinese motorcycles, trucks, cars and items of motor vehicle equipment. Several importers have attempted to import motorcycles that may have been fraudulently identified as antiques (over 25 years old). Available information suggests that such vehicles generally are of recent manufacture and definitely are not 25 years old. Still others have contacted us to obtain information in order to import them properly. As you are aware, this process involves registration pursuant to Part 592 and bonding pursuant to Part 591.

At this time, no Russian or Chinese vehicles are eligible for importation and sale in the U.S. We ask that you remain alert in this regard. If any doubt exists, please contact OVSC.


During April 1994 the 21st RI was approved by NHTSA. There are now 13 RIs located in eastern states and 8 RIs located in western states. An updated list of current RI names and addresses (Rev 4-6-94) is enclosed with this Newsletter.


Range Rover of North America has informed us that starting with the 1987 model year, vehicles not specifically manufactured and certified for the Canadian or United States markets cannot be modified to comply with the requirements of FMVSS 301, Fuel System Integrity. The vehicle structure has been reinforced to meet Standard 301 and such modification is not readily apparent.

RIs who now have petitions for model year 1987 and newer Range Rovers will be required to export or destroy these vehicles under U.S. Customs Service supervision unless someone elects to conduct crash testing on an imported Range Rover which has been certified by an RI. A petition dismissal letter to this effect will be mailed to you as applicable. The respective bonding company will be served notice of full payment in the amount of the bond if the above requirements have not been carried out within 30 days.

Petitions for eligibility of model year 1986 and older Range Rovers can still be considered on a case-by-case basis. No Range Rovers or Land Rovers have been declared eligible to date.


Two NHTSA regulations pertaining to the RI program have been reprinted to incorporate all amendments through September 1993. Copies of 49 CFR 591, Importation of Vehicles and Equipment Subject to Federal Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards, and 49 CFR 592, Registered Importers of Vehicles Not Originally Manufactured to Conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are enclosed for your ready reference.

May 27, 1994


The latest revision of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 49, Transportation, Parts 400 to 999, containing the complete and revised text for all NHTSA regulations including the FMVSS in effect as of Oct 1, 1993, was recently released. Copies may be purchased from the Government Printing Office (GPO) for $33.80.

To minimize the potential of costly errors due to reliance on outdated revisions of the CFR that contain the FMVSS and other NHTSA regulations, we strongly recommend that you purchase a copy of the latest revision. Such errors could result in expensive recalls, civil penalties and lawsuits.

As you know, your facility, unreleased vehicles and records are subject to inspection by NHTSA officials at any time.

The legal requirements of 49 CFR 593 involves many sequential steps which take a long time even if everything is optimal. As you know, each RI's petition is published in the Federal Register twice, as a minimum. Each notice must be reviewed and approved by the chain of command up to top management of both the Enforcement and Chief Counsel organizations before it is sent to the Federal Register. If a petition is incomplete or erroneous when it is submitted to NHTSA, the process takes much longer. Many RIs have asked what they can do to receive their determinations sooner. The best way for you to expedite your petition is to make sure it is done right in the first place. To assist you in this respect, we offer the following supplemental guidelines.

Some petitions have been received which suggest that they were prepared by persons who did not know or understand NHTSA standards and regulations. You must check your employees' work carefully so that mistakes and inconsistencies are corrected promptly. Beware of boilerplate text taking segments from some other petition which are not appropriate. Substantiation must consist of specific data, views and arguments. The agency will no longer critique petitions and instruct you on how to correct them on a line by line basis.

It is not necessary to have a candidate vehicle or substantially similar vehicle in hand at the time a petition is submitted. However, if you do not, then your petition must not claim you have compared vehicles. Substantiation of such petitions must include reference to verifiable documentation. When you do make physical comparisons, your petition must include make, model and VIN of both vehicles. Upon receipt of such petition we will verify that you did transmit a copy of your RI contract within 5 days after signature as required.

Remember, if your petition is denied or dismissed as incomplete and you decide to replace it with a corrected version, another petition fee must be submitted with the new petition.

Information is attached to update your records as to all makes, models and model years which have been determined to be eligible for importation by RIs or by individuals who have contracts with RIs. The cover sheet for this attachment is dated May 13, 1994. It includes a reprint of the agency's 2nd Annual Eligibility List, additional determinations based on petitions from RIs which were granted and published in the Federal Register by May 5, 1994, and a summary of eligibility fees applicable to importation of vehicles entered in Fiscal Year 1994.

The 2nd Annual Eligibility List reprint corrects three typographical errors which have been found in the original Federal Register notice dated Feb 23, 1994. In addition, the format has been improved for ease of reading such as expansion of space allowed for definition of the blanket eligibility determination (VSA-1) covering most Canadian vehicles to one full page. The attached revision is printed on one side of the paper only to facilitate your ready reference.

The HS-7 Declaration form for every vehicle imported under the terms and conditions of Box 3 should have respective eligibility number (or the word "petition" if the RI intends to submit a petition) in the space provided. New eligibility numbers are issued at irregular intervals. A RI who wishes current information on import eligibility numbers issued or petitions in process may call 202-366-5308.

For your further understanding of the eligibility numbering system, the following code letters are used in the prefix:

VS   Vehicle substantially similar to a U.S. certified model and readily modifiable
VCVehicle capable of being modified to comply with U.S. Federal motor vehicle safety standards
AAdministrator made the determination on his or her own initiative
PPetition from RI or manufacturer


1. CFR Order Form


June 30, 1994


The normal responsibility of an RI to certify, insure and obtain a DOT bond release for a nonconforming vehicle within 120 days after importation appears to be well known. However, your responsibilities in the event that commitments are not satisfied are not always recognized.

Failure to obtain timely bond release can result from any number of events such as your inability to certify compliance within the allowed time, failure to submit required fees or other required attachments, and denial or dismissal of your eligibility petition. The agency does make allowance for petition processing time, but this is not without limit.

Remember, whether you import your own vehicle or undertake to certify an imported vehicle under contract, you are responsible to abandon the vehicle to the U.S. or deliver the vehicle, or cause the vehicle to be delivered to, the Secretary of the Treasury (U.S. Customs) for export [Sections 591.8(d)(vi) and 592.6(a) and (j)] if a bond release is not obtained in a reasonable time. Although the agency has not seen fit to exercise them to date, Part 592 does include several provisions for revocation and suspension of your registration.


The then current list of import eligibility determinations was distributed with RI Bulletin No. 3 on May 27, 1994. Since that time several new eligibility determinations have been published in the Federal Register based on petitions submitted by RIs. The attached update, dated June 21, 1994, should be added to your 2nd ANNUAL ELIGIBILITY LIST in lieu of the previously distributed attachment which contained only 11 eligibility number assignments. As you know, additional eligibility determinations are issued at irregular intervals.


After all the experience of those involved in the RI program, some confusion remains about this subject. The following information is repeated so there can be no doubt about the limits of your authority as an RI.

By way of background, you must understand that the original National Traffic & Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 which established this agency states in Section 108, subsection (a)(1)(A), that NO PERSON SHALL... IMPORT ANY MOTOR VEHICLE ... MANUFACTURED AFTER THE DATE ANY APPLICABLE FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD TAKES EFFECT UNLESS IT IS IN CONFORMITY WITH SUCH STANDARD (and certified by its manufacturer), EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION.

Amendments to the act contain the following provisions paraphrased:

You can see that the terms "individual" and "not for resale" mean that you may NOT contract with any dealer, sales broker, agent or anyone else to import any amount of vehicles for purposes of resale. In this context the prohibition includes sale and lease. If a customer asks for your contract with the intention of importing vehicles for resale you should advise him to submit an application to become a RI just like you did.


Some RIs have created confusion and brought undue delays upon their bond releases by lack of attention to detail in submitting checks for applicable fee payments. For example, large checks intended for 40 or more multiple entries transmitted in several envelopes have been received without any explanation. The agency cannot continue to cope with such ambiguity.

If it is not practicable to submit individual checks or money orders for each vehicle, you are requested to place small quantities of vehicles into rational groups of 10 or less when submitting Statements of Conformity simultaneously. In such cases you should attach a legible note to your check to identify the make, model, VIN and Customs Entry Number for the vehicles applicable and enclose enough copies for each vehicle in the group. Please do not split up groups of vehicles imported under a common Customs Entry Number in the event that multiple vehicles are combined in one Customs Entry.

Unnecessary delays are created whenever insufficient information is submitted.


We are requesting that each RI send their Box 3's with file folders in the following format:
  1. On the left hand side, HS-7 form, Bond and Insurance Policy, (HS-7 Form must be on top and all forms must be stapled to the file folder on the left hand side). ALL FORMS MUST BE SIGNED AND DATED!
  2. On the right hand side, Photographs, Statement of Conformity, and any other additional information (Photographs must be on top and all forms must be stapled to the file folder on the right hand side). PHOTOGRAPHS MUST BE CLEAR. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT ALL FORMS AND PHOTOGRAPHS ARE CONSISTENT (i.e., VIN identification)
  3. Errors of submission will result in the folder being returned to the RI and the record keeping/release process will be terminated for those vehicles.


We reproduce, without further comment, the following as reported in the June 6 issue of the "Automotive News". . . .

August 30, 1994


The Government's 1995 fiscal year begins Oct 1, 1994. As you know, your registration must be renewed at this time. If you wish to maintain your registration you need to provide a "Yearly Statement of Registered Importer" in accordance with 49 CFR 592.5(e). Such statement shall affirm that all information submitted in your original application, or amended later, remains correct. You must include a copy of your insurance contract (for remedy of safety-related defects) updated to cover fiscal year 1995. The annual maintenance fee remains $240.


The agency publishes a list of all REGISTERED IMPORTER names, addresses and telephone numbers for the benefit of the Customs Service and the general public. This is a form of free publicity for those RI's who do contract compliance certification work for personal vehicles, but reportedly has become a source of some annoyance to those who don't.

To alleviate such problems, the agency proposes to add designations of the respective RI's willingness to enter into contracts for certification of various kinds of vehicles. We ask your cooperation in providing relevant information (on the enclosed form) for this purpose. We recognize that some RIs would not want to work on motorcycles or buses for example. Others would not agree to work on anything but cars or vans certified for sale in Canada. Still other RIs do not wish to undertake contracts for certification of any personally owned vehicles. Based on your input, we will commence to report these facts so you will not be bothered by unwanted inquiries in the future. Please complete the enclosed RI business interest checklist form and return it at your earliest opportunity.

Such expression of business interest does not relieve an RI of his or her responsibility to maintain shop capabilities for modifications plus repair of safety-related defects, to maintain current copies of the Federal motor vehicle safety standards in the facility, and to maintain a secure storage capability for the vehicles.


Some helpful information for those who prepare eligibility petitions was provided in RI Newsletter Nos. 1 and 3. More recent experience has shown a need for further guidance in some areas as described below. In order to write an acceptable petition you will need to become familiar with and responsive to the petition regulation (49 CFR 593) and the technical details of applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.


Attached import eligibility list update (revised 8/5/94) contains all the eligibility determinations issued since publication of the agency's 2nd ANNUAL ELIGIBILITY LIST and supersedes the previous update. The additional eligibility determinations are based upon petitions submitted by RIs which have been granted and published in the Federal Register. Additional eligibility determinations are issued at irregular intervals.


  1. Supplemental Eligibility List dated August, 5, 1994
  2. RI Business Interest Checklist dated August 23, 1994


April 3, 1995


It has come to our attention that many registered importers (RIs) are not complying with the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 30146 (a)(1) (formerly 15 U.S.C. 1397(c)(3)(E)(I) and 49 CFR 592.8(e). The latter section provides that

(e) If a Registered Importer has received no written notice from the Administrator by the end of the 30th calendar day after it has furnished a certification to the Administrator, the RI may release from custody the vehicle that is covered by the certification, or have it licensed or registered for use on the public roads.

We would be pleased to discuss this matter with your company, and to work with you to achieve compliance in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, For example, OVSC will soon explore the possibility to receive electronic filing from RIs, thus expediting the review cycle for potential release.

While we are exploring alternative means of filing the necessary certification with the agency, we are also planning to expedite our review process which will result in faster release times. Site visits made by OVSC personnel to various RIs in the last several months indicate that many RIs are not holding the imported vehicles the required 30 days or complying with other requirements.

We seek cooperation with RIs in achieving compliance with Part 592. However, compliance is not optional under the law. A company's failure to comply can result in the imposition of civil penalties of not more than $1,000 for each violation up to a maximum penalty of $800,000 for a related series of violations. Moreover, under certain circumstances, a company's registration can be revoked or suspended. Therefore, it is very important that all RIs understand the requirements and how to comply with them.

If you have any questions about compliance with Part 592, please telephone Roy Shannon of my staff at 202-366-5307.


Registered Importers should be aware that the total number of vehicles they import during the time frames indicated below apply against them and not just the vehicles they import manufactured during those time frames. In other words, we will be asking for confirmation that 25% of the vehicles imported between Sept 1, 1994 and September 1, 1995 comply with FMVSS 214.

Phase-in of DYNAMIC test and performance requirements for passenger cars -

Lamborghini passenger cars imported before September 1, 1996 do not have to the meet DYNAMIC Side Impact Protection requirements of FMVSS 214.

Phase-in of STATIC requirements for multipurpose vehicles, trucks and buses with GVWR of 10,000 lb. or less -


A new Code of Federal Regulations (49CFR) is available for $35 from the Superintendent of Documents by calling 202-512-1800.


Please review Part 541 - Theft Prevention Standard. We will reject all packages on passenger cars that require theft marking unless confirmation is received that the VIN has been inscribed on the required parts prior to importation. Please review the requirements of the standard. This will apply to MPV's and light trucks beginning with MY 1997.


Registered importers must meet the defect and notification requirements of Part 577 and the reporting requirements of Part 573.


See Newsletter 11 for list of FMVSS and Regulations


September 25, 1995


As a Registered Importer (RI) you are acting on behalf of this agency to ensure that vehicles imported into this country comply with all of the FMVSS before they are released for highway use. We want everyone to operate in a professional manner. Past newsletters have identified areas where improvement was needed and clarified requirements. The following is a list of important items found in various newsletters.


Several RIs have asked for clarification of the phase in requirements for FMVSS 214 identified in Newsletter 6. Each year we will be asking for conformation that the phase in requirements have been met. You should identify by year the per cent of MY 94 (manufactured between 9/1/93 - 9/1/94), 1995 and 1996 vehicles imported which complied with the standard. Example: for 1995 identify the per cent of MY 94 and MY 95 vehicles which complied. 10% of all MY 94 vehicles and 25% of all MY 95 must comply. To assist in meeting these requirements as well those of FMVSS 208, lists of U.S. vehicles certified as meeting these requirements are attached. Certification of a U.S. model does not mean that the import model also complies.


In recent months we have increased our monitoring to assure that everyone is following the regulations. Unfortunately we have found that not everyone is. This has forced us to take action against some RIs. Depending upon the violation your registration could be suspended or revoked or you could be fined. A list of possible suspensions is attached to this notice.


We are trying to improve the vehicle release times. To accomplish this we need clear photo documentation in certification packages. See Newsletter 6 for the required photos. We will no longer use a magnifying glass or guess at what you are trying to show; it slows the process. If you cannot read the VIN or label or if the photo is not clear, don't send it, it will not be processed. Poor photos will only require you to hold the vehicle longer.


Vehicles must be modified and certification packages sent to NHTSA within 120 days of importation. We will be monitoring based upon electronic Custom entry dates. If a certification package is not received after a warning, we will be going after the bond. Sureties have been notified.


To maintain registration you need to provide the "Yearly Statement of Registered Importer" in accordance with 49 CFR 592.5(e). Be sure that all information concerning your company is current. This includes ownership and the addresses of all of your facilities. Be sure to include a copy of your recall insurance contract for MY 1996. The annual statement and the renewal fee of $240 must be received before Oct 31, 1995.


We are still investigating the potential of electronic processing of compliance packages. The first step in this process will probably include submission of data on computer disks. More on this later.


We are now accepting Visa for required payments.


See Newsletter 11 for list of FMVSS and Regulations


  1. Press release
  2. FMVSS 214 list
  3. FMVSS 208 phase-in
  4. Suspensions


January 3, 1996


NHTSA has set up a special MAIL STOP for receiving import documents. Please address your mail, both overnight mail or other, to the following (includes mail for George Entwistle, David Coleman, Barbara Gray, John Lewis, Luke Loy, Dick Merritt and Roy Shannon):

400 7TH ST SW, Room 6115


During the mid-1980s gray market vehicles were being imported into the U.S. from Europe by the thousands. The law for importing a vehicle at that time permitted anyone to import a gray market vehicle and to have the vehicle brought into compliance with the applicable safety requirements by any person capable of making the modifications. Due to a lack of control over the compliance work being performed, our office discovered that this work often was being done improperly or not at all. Therefore, Congress revised the law in 1988 to establish a system whereby only RIs could perform the modifications within the guidelines stated in Part 592 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These requirements are not currently being met by some RIs. After receipt of this bulletin, all requirements must be met.


In the course of the rulemaking to establish Part 592, the agency proposed that the RI application contain a statement of whether the RI would modify the vehicles for which it furnishes certificates of conformity, and if not, to provide the names and addresses of all agents who would be the actual modifiers.

The concept that an RI could delegate actual conformance work was opposed by Mercedes-Benz and The Dealer Action Association (TDAA). Both commenters argued that this did not fulfill the statutory purpose of increased accountability for conversion, and cited statements from the Congressional Record in support of their position. In Mercedes' opinion, NHTSA would open an area of potential dispute when the object of the 1988 Act was to clarify NHTSA's jurisdiction. Mercedes contended that conformance operations must be carried out by RIs, their employees, or subsidiaries, because the legal line between an "agent" and an "independent contractor" is not always clear, raising the possibility that an RI might structure a relationship to avoid acts of a modifier, including fraud.

NHTSA carefully considered these comments. It believed that the provisions of the 1988 Act were complex enough that regulations should not be adopted that open additional avenues of potential dispute or complications with RIs that might dilute the responsibility imposed by the 1988 Act, and which might result in less than full achievement of the intent of Congress when these approaches have not been specifically directed by Congress. Therefore, it agreed with the comments of Mercedes and TDAA, and did not adopt those aspects of the proposal that countenanced delegation of conformance responsibilities to an agent. A RI must be capable of bringing vehicles into compliance and this means no work can be contracted out. This is a matter of public record, and contained in the preamble adopting Part 592 (Sept. 29, 1989). All RIs are being notified of this requirement which was explained in the preamble. Subsequent to receiving this letter, if modification work is contracted out, the RI may have its registration revoked.


Under 49 CFR 592.6(d), an RI must certify that the vehicles conform. It performs the required modifications and then installs its certification label on the vehicle. Only the RI is allowed to apply its certification label. Section 592.6 requires that an RI "permanently affix to each motor vehicle, upon completion of modifications," a certification label that identifies the RI, and attests to the fact that the vehicle has been brought into conformity with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards. The label shall only be applied after all the needed modifications have been performed. If all modifications have not been performed before the certification label is applied, it would be a false certification and may make the RI liable for a penalty.


This office requires the RI application to identify the address for the applicant's office, maintenance facility, and storage lot. Vehicles must be stored at a specific location and available for inspection. Section 592.5(f) requires an RI to notify the Administrator in writing of any change that occurs in the information which is submitted in its application, no later than the end of the 30th calendar day after such change. If an RI is in violation of this requirement, action may be taken against the RI depending on the circumstance. If an RI has a facility other than those identified in its application, it must notify our office of the address immediately.



All RIs are required to have a maintenance facility with a person capable of performing modifications needed to bring vehicles into conformity with the applicable standards and regulations. Any RI without such a facility or personnel will have its registration revoked.


On Nov. 24, 1995 (60 FR 57953) (copy attached), NHTSA published amendments to Part 591 concerning the bond requirement to accompany the permanent importation of nonconforming motor vehicles to ensure their eventual compliance with the FMVSS. There are now two options for the bond. A single bond form can be used for either of the options which must be in an amount of 150 percent of the dutiable value of each vehicle:


See Newsletter 11 for list of FMVSS and Regulations


  1. 60 FR57953, Bond Requirements


June 18, 1996


As part of the President's Regulatory Reinvention Initiative to eliminate regulations, or make them easier to understand and to apply, FMVSS Nos. 107 and 211 have been revoked, effective as noted below. The requirements of FMVSS No. 115 have been combined with Part 565 to form a single regulation dealing with the VIN number, Part 565. This action (61 FR 29031 dated June 7, 1996) also effected Part 567 for imported vehicles. These standards should not be addressed in petitions or on statements of conformity.

FMVSS 107, Reflecting Surfaces, May 6, 1996

FMVSS 211, Wheel Nuts, Wheel Discs, and Hub Caps, June 5, 1996

FMVSS 115, Vehicle Identification Number, July 8, 1996


Attached is a revised Statement of Conformity. Please note that FMVSS Nos. 107, 115 (requirements transferred to Part 565) and 211 have been deleted. Part 565, "VIN Requirements" and FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224 dealing with trailer underride (effective for trailers manufactured after January 26, 1998) have been added. There are also new requirements on the form: identifying the country for which the vehicle was originally certified or manufactured and the date of manufacture. A vehicle can be manufactured for several markets. The vehicle may comply with our standards in one market but not another. This is especially true for vehicles made for the Mid-East, European and South American marketplace.


The annual list of nonconforming vehicles determined to be eligible for importation was published in federal register (61 FR 8097) on March 1, 1996. The list contains all vehicles which had been determined eligible as of January 22, 1996.


A new Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR Parts 400-999), revised as of October 1, 1995, is now available from the Superintendent of Documents by calling 202-512-1800. The cost is $40.00.


The Federal Register is now online for 1994, 1995 and 1995 publications. The Internet address for 1995 and 1996 is as follows:

The eligibility list mentioned above as well as vehicles determined eligible after January 22, 1996, can be viewed at this location.


The office of Safety Assurance of which the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance is a part is on the Internet. This site is currently under development. The Office of Defects Investigation currently has information on recalls and service bulletins. The address for the site is as follows:


To import a vehicle manufactured for the Mexican market the vehicle must be on the list of vehicles determined eligible for importation. Currently there are only a few models on the list. If the make, model and year is not on the eligible list, the vehicle will require a petition and subsequent determination of eligible for importation as described at 49 CFR 593. Beware, vehicles have been imported which did not go through this process. Customs has seized a number of these vehicles.


Reminder: 49 CFR 592.8 requires an RI to maintain custody of a motor vehicle that it has imported for 30 days after it certifies to NHTSA that the motor vehicle complies with all applicable FMVSS, unless the RI receives earlier notice from NHTSA. This is being enforced and an RI may be subject to penalties, or suspension or revocation of its registration.

Don't take chances.


Section 592.6 requires that within 120 calendar days nonconforming vehicles imported on a permanent basis be brought into conformity with all applicable FMVSS and that the RI certify to NHTSA that the vehicle has been brought into conformance or the vehicle must be exported (at no cost to the U.S.) by the importer or the Secretary of the Treasury, or abandoned to the United States. Conformance packages have not been received within 120 days of importation in all cases. In the future this will be enforced.


This is a reminder that passenger cars manufactured for the Canadian market must meet FMVSS No. 208 and light trucks must meet FMVSS Nos. 202 and 208 to be imported using VSA-1. Passenger cars manufactured on or after 9-1-89 must be equipped with an automatic restraint system at both front outboard seating positions. Passenger cars manufactured between 9-1-89 and 9-1-93 can satisfy this requirement if the vehicle was equipped with a driver's side air bag and a manual belt on the passenger's side.

After Sept 1, 1993, a passenger car must be equipped with either an air bag or automatic belt system at both front outboard seating positions to satisfy the requirement.

Effective 9-1-97 vehicles under 10,000 pounds must have adjustable seats/seat belts to improve fit and comfort.


Importation of a vehicle that is readily modifiable and substantially similar to U.S. model that is not already on the list of vehicles determined eligible for importation takes time to process and modify. DO NOT tell a prospective customer that they can have their vehicle in 6-8 weeks. A more realistic time frame is 3-5 months before they will have their vehicle to drive on the highway.


NHTSA has set up a special MAIL STOP for receiving import documents. Please address your mail, both overnight mail or other, to the following (includes mail for George Entwistle, David Coleman, Barbara Gray, John Lewis, Luke Loy, Dick Merritt and Roy Shannon):

400 7TH ST SW, Room 6111


  1. 61 FR 29031, VIN Requirements
  2. Revised Statement of Conformity


December 20, 1996


Failure to bring vehicles into conformity and to submit complete conformity statements can result in forfeiture of the DOT bond. Recently a bonding company paid over $159,000.


To import a nonconforming vehicle there must be an eligibility number for that year, make, and model or the vehicle must be petitioned. If the manufacturer identifies the modifications required to bring the vehicle into compliance, it will make the petition process easy but will not eliminate the need for the vehicle to go through the petition process.


When a vehicle is petitioned on the basis that it is capable of being modified - no substantially similar U.S. vehicle, test data must be submitted to demonstrate that the vehicle complies or will comply after modifications are made. Certifications to some equipment standards can be passed through: i.e. if brake hose is marked DOT, it is not necessary to test the hose to determine that it complies. You may use the hose manufacturer's certification that it complies.


Vehicles must be brought into conformity and conformity packages must be submitted within 120 days of import. An RI failing to submit conformity statements within this time frame may be subject to fines.

If a conformity package is not submitted because a vehicle imported under Box 3 is exported, proof of export must be submitted to this office.

Do not save conformity statements and submit them in large quantities. This disrupts normal processing and impairs our ability to process them quickly. Bond releases for packages submitted in this manner will be given a lower priority.


The type of vehicle is required on all conformity statements. Vehicle types are defined at 49 CFR 571.3. The vehicle types defined in this section are the only vehicle types that should be used. A pickup truck is not a recognized vehicle type. The vehicle should be identified as a truck. The vehicle type may be found on the manufacturer's certification label found on the vehicle (Canadian) or the comparison vehicle for a petitioned vehicle. Some standards apply to passenger cars and other standards apply to vehicles other than passenger cars, be sure you are addressing the correct standard. An MPV (Dodge Caravan) would have to comply with FMVSS 120 but it would not have to comply with FMVSS 110 which only applies to passenger cars.


When checking with a manufacturer to see if an imported vehicle is the subject of a recall, be sure to check to make sure that your vehicle is in the data base being checked. For some manufacturers this will be on a different screen.


Most of the requirements for FMVSS 112, "Headlight Concealment Devices", have been transferred to FMVSS 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment". This action removed FMVSS 112 effective Oct 24, 1996. A revised Statement of Conformity is attached to reflect this change.


The address of our site on the web has changed. To get information on recalls or eligibility lists, etc. it is best to start at our home page which remains the same.


This is reminder that the new registration and import fees went into effect for vehicles imported after October 1.




See Newsletter 11 for list of FMVSS and Regulations


  1. Statement of Conformity


September 15, 1997


As an RI you must assure that there are no outstanding recalls on vehicles which you are bringing into conformance. Your responsibility however does not end there. You are also responsible for notifying owners of a noncompliance with a safety standard or a safety related defect which is determined after importation. Enclosure 1 will assist you with your responsibilities. Vehicles you imported this year which are affected by recalls are on the enclosed list. A schedule for complying with the referenced requirements for these vehicles is required within 20 days from receipt of this letter.


This is a reminder that VSA 1 should no longer be used. The new eligibility numbers published in the Federal Register (62 FR 26348) for Canadian imports are:


The following sites contain important information and should be bookmarked:

Interpretations done by NHTSA Chief Counsel.

List of Registered Importers, Vehicle Eligibility Numbers.

Federal Register.

49 CFR.

Chapter 301 of Title 49, U.S. Code.


Conformity packages should be prepared in the format shown in enclosure 2. Following this procedure will assure that your submissions have all the required documents. The requirements are different for Canadian vehicles and vehicles imported from a country other than Canada. Your attention is called to the photographic documentation required.


It is recommended that all RIs use brokers who are on the ABI system. This will improve processing time and provide for quicker bond releases. If you do not use a broker on the ABI system your bond releases may take longer.


When incorrect information is submitted on an ABI entry, your broker should FAX the correct information to the attention of Dee Blodgett at 202-366-5301.


You are required to notify NHTSA within 30 days of any changes in your address or phone number. If we are unable to contact you by phone at the number listed or by mail at the address listed, we will take measures to suspend or revoke your registration as an RI.


The fee schedule for next year remains the same. A new fee has been proposed for processing conformity packages. It is anticipated that this fee will be set at $17 per compliance package and that it will take effect some time in October 1997. The fee will apply to all vehicles for which compliance packages are submitted to NHTSA, including vehicles imported from Canada. Renewal of your RI registration should be submitted in September and contain the information required by 49 CFR Part 592. If timely renewal is not made, your registration will be canceled. The current fee schedule follows:




All fees may be charged to your Visa or MasterCard. Your account will be charged once a month for all fees incurred during the month. If you are interested please complete the enclosed form and contact Dee Blodgett at 202-366-5301 for more information.


The final listing of model year 1998 high-theft vehicle lines was published in the Federal Register (62 FR 26348) on July 31, 1997.


We have started a pilot program of sending bond release letters by E-mail. If you are interested in receiving your release letters electronically contact Dee Blodgett at 202-366-5301.


101-Controls and Displays (Inspection)
102-Transmission Shift Lever Sequences, etc. (Inspection)
103-Windshield Defrosting and Defogging
104-Windshield Wiping and Washing
105-Hydraulic Brake System
106-Brake Hoses
107-Reflecting Surfaces (Inspection) REMOVED May 6, 1996
108-Lamps, etc.
109-Passenger Car (PC) New Pneumatic Tires
110-PC Tire Selection and Rims
111-Rearview Mirrors
112-Headlamp Concealment Devices REMOVED Oct 24, 1996; REQUIREMENTS TRANSFERRED TO S108
113-Hood Latch Systems (Inspection)
114-Theft Protection (Inspection)
115-Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) (Inspection) REMOVED July 8, 1996; REQUIREMENTS TRANSFERRED TO P565
116-Hydraulic Brake Fluids
117-Retreaded Pneumatic Tires (Inspection)
118-Power-Operated Window Systems
119-Truck/Bus New Pneumatic Tires
120-Truck/Bus Tire Selection & Rims
121DAir Brake Systems (Dynamometer)
121VAir Brake Systems (Vehicles)
122-Motorcycle Brake Systems
123-Motorcycle Controls and Displays (Inspection)
124-Accelerator Control Systems
125-Warning Devices
126-Truck-Camper Loading REMOVED Sept 1, 1997; REQUIREMENTS TRANSFERRED TO PART 575.103
129-Pass. Car New Non-Pneumatic Tires
131-School Bus Pedestrian Safety Devices
135-Pass. Car Brake Systems
201-Occupant Protection in Interior Impact
201UOccupant Protection in Interior Impact - Upper Interior Head Impact Protection
201PRigid Pole Side Impact Test
202-Head Restraints
203-Impact Protection for the river from Steering Control
204-Steering Control Rearward Displacement
205-Glazing Materials (Inspection)
206-Door Locks and Door Retention Components
207-Seating Systems
208-Occupant Crash Protection
208SSled Test
209-Seat Belt Assemblies
210-Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages
211-Wheel Nuts, Wheel Discs, and Hub Caps (Inspection) CANCELED June 5, 1996
212-Windshield Mounting
213-Child Restraint Systems
214DSide Impact Prot. (Dynamic)
214SSide Impact Prot. (Static)
216-Roof Crush Resistance
217-Bus Window Retention and Release
218-Motorcycle Helmets
219-Windshield Zone Intrusion
223-Rear Impact Guards
224-Rear Impact Protection
301-Fuel System Integrity (Frontal, Rear, Lateral & School Bus)
302-Flammability of Interior Materials
303-Fuel System Integrity of CNG Vehicles
304-CNG Fuel Container Integrity


P541-Theft Prevention Standard
P565-VIN Content Requirements
P566-Manufacturer Identification
P567-Certification Regulation
P568-Vehicles Manufactured in Two or More Stages
P569-Regrooved Tires
P572-Anthropomorphic Test Dummies
P573-Defect and Noncompliance Reports
P574-Tire Identification
P575.103-Truck-Camper Loading
P575.104-Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQG)
P577-Defect and Noncompliance Notification
P579-Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility
P581-Bumper Standard
P591-Importation of Vehicles & Equipment Subject to FMVSS
P592-Registered Importers
P593-Determination for Eligibility for Importation of Vehicles
P594-Registered Importer Fee Schedule


  1. Recalls
  2. Conformance Package
  3. Credit Card
  4. High Theft Vehicle Lines


August 1998


Ensuring that vehicles do not have an open recall is an important function of an RI. At time of importation, an RI must check to ensure that there are no outstanding recalls on a new vehicle because it is illegal to offer a vehicle for sale which contains a noncompliance. If any exist, the recall must be completed before the vehicle is released. After the vehicle is released, the RI is responsible for any subsequent recalls that might be issued on a vehicle for which it submitted a conformity package. To assist in the latter, OVSC is providing RIs with a list of vehicles that may be subject to recall. Once notified, the RI is responsible for submitting Part 573 reports to OVSC to report the progress of the recall campaign. Failure to remedy vehicles at time of importation, failure to notify owners, and failure to submit Part 573 reports after importation are considered serious violations of the duties of an RI. Anyone not fulfilling these requirements is subject to penalty and/or suspension or revocation of license. Anyone not currently fulfilling these obligations will not have their registration renewed.


Attachment 1 is a list of MY 1997 and MY 1998 Canadian vehicles which meet the FMVSS with the exception of minor labeling and odometer labeling. When submitting conformity packages for vehicles on this list you need only submit photographs of the OEM certification label and the RI label. Packages for other Canadian entries subject to the automatic restraint requirement of FMVSS 208 must submit pictures showing compliance with this standard. Packages for all other entries must also have photographs of the modifications performed to bring the vehicle into conformity.


Renewals should be submitted during September for the FY which begins October 1, 1998. A grace period is given until October 31. Any renewal not received by October 31 will be treated as a new application. The following information must be included with your renewal:

  1. Check made payable to the Treasurer of the United States or authorization to charge the $350 fee if approved for credit card use,

  2. Statement required by 49 CFR Part 592.5(e),

  3. Warranty Insurance Policy with notarized signatures,

  4. Changes to contacts or vehicle types imported,

  5. Proof of purchase of current volume of 49 CFR Parts 400-999, and

  6. Sample of RI certification label (should be a blank label).

Attachment 2 is a sample of the renewal letter.


The following fees are applicable for FY 99. The bond processing fee is based on the date of importation and the package processing fee is based on the date that NHTSA received the conformity package.

Application Fees

Petition Fees

Processing Fees


Payment by credit card is encouraged and it can save you money on your processing fee. When paying by credit card make sure that you do not exceed the credit limit established for your card. If we are unable to collect on your credit card, you will be required to pay by check. This will also raise the cost of the package processing fee if you were eligible for the reduced fee of $13.


VSA-1 has not been a valid eligibility number for Canadian imports since May 13, 1997. Any conformity package that identifies the eligibility number as VSA-1 will be returned and vehicles covered by these packages must be held for possible inspection. Notify your broker of the correct eligibility number to use for electronic entries.


We continue to get entries with incorrect data. Constantly making corrections to the submitted information slows processing of everyone's conformity packages. If you want to receive timely bond releases please ensure that your broker is submitting the correct information.


Attachment 3 is a listing of FMVSS and the types of vehicles to which they apply. Make sure that the appropriate standards are checked on the conformity statement and that the correct standards are addressed on an eligibility petition.


A summary and chart of the lighting requirements for trucks, buses, MPVs and trailers may be found at our website


Anyone who has an internet site for their facility and would like to have it listed as part of its address should FAX the web address to 202-366-1024.


The "Final Listing of Model Year 1999 High Theft Vehicle Lines" was published in the Federal Register on July 15, 1998 (63 FR 38096). Vehicles on the high theft list must have the required parts inscribed with the vehicle identification number prior to importation.


This standard was canceled September 1, 1997 (61 FR 36655). Requirements have been incorporated into Part 575.103.


The newsletters are now available on the web.


107, Reflecting Surfaces 5-6-96

112, Headlight Concealment 10-14-96

see FMVSS 108 for requirements

115, VIN Identification 7-8-96

see Part 565 for requirements

126, Truck-Camper Loading 9-1-97

see Part 575.103 for requirements

211, Wheel Nuts, Wheel Discs, and Hub Caps



  1. Canadian Vehicle List
  2. Sample Renewal Letter
  3. FMVSS Applicability Chart



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance

May 1999


Items 1-10 summarize your duties and responsibilities during the importation process. Items 11 and 12 identify your recall and reporting obligations after the importation process.

  1. Theft prevention markings must be inscribed on the required parts prior to importation if the vehicle is subject to Part 541.
  2. At time of entry a DOT bond must be posted by the RI or the person importing the vehicle under contract with an RI. If the RI is not the importer of record, then the Customs entry and the conformity package must contain a copy of the contract between the RI and the importer of record. (i.e., importer of a vehicle for personal use)
  3. The vehicle must go directly to the RI's facility, which was approved by NHTSA.
  4. Check and if necessary, perform work required by all outstanding recalls on the vehicle.
  5. The RI performs all modifications required to bring the vehicle into conformity.
  6. Upon completion of the modifications the RI permanently affixes its certification label to the vehicle at its facility.
  7. Prepare the conformity package. The RI must sign the Statement of Conformity.
  8. The RI maintains possession of the vehicle at its facility for 30 days after submission of the conformity package to NHTSA. Vehicles may be released in less than 30 days, if the RI receives a bond release letter from NHTSA .
  9. Prior to releasing the vehicle, the RI places a copy of the bond release letter and the recall warranty policy in the glove box of the vehicle.
  10. The vehicle may now be released and titled for highway use.
Post importation
  1. Notify and remedy vehicles conformed by the RI for 8 years after importation.
  2. Submit quarterly recall status reports to NHTSA for 6 quarters or until all vehicles imported by the RI that are subject to the recall have been remedied.


There are RIs who are not following all of the above requirements. Failure to adhere to the above requirements has and will be enforced. Enforcement actions will result in civil penalties, suspension or revocation of RI registration, and seizure of vehicles by Customs. A list of the enforcement actions taken will appear periodically in the Newsletter.


Too many conformity packages do not contain all of the required information. If you are not certain what belongs in the conformity package look at Newsletter 11. Many packages do not contain all of the required photos or the photos are out of focus and therefore are useless. In the past you have been reminded of shortcomings. This will no longer be the practice. After July 1, 1999, if a conformity package does not contain all of the required information it will returned. The submittal will not be counted as a bonafide submission of the conformity package since the conformity package was incomplete. Failure to submit an acceptable package within 120 days will result in forfeiture of the DOT bond.


When submitting groups of conformity packages please add a cover sheet to the package that identifies all vehicles in the group by year, make, model, and VIN. The cover sheet should also contain a statement to charge the fees to your credit card, or if paying by check, it should contain the check number and the amount.


In the past we have accepted marking the odometer "KM" as meeting the requirements of FMVSS No. 101. Many have applied the marking on the clear plastic cover of the display. It appears that when the odometer is marked in this manner the "KM" is not permanent, since vehicles inspected at a later date no longer had the "KM". Effective July 1, 1999, the "KM" must be marked on the face of the display. Marking "KM" on the clear cover will not constitute the odometer being marked "KM". Photographs of the replaced speedometer/odometer or the odometer marked "KM" will be required in all conformity packages. Conformity packages that do not have a photograph with the odometer marked in this manner will be returned as an incomplete package.


All motorcycles imported for resale from Canada must be imported by an RI. This includes all Harley Davidson motorcycles because the Canadian certification has been misinterpreted as a U.S. certification. The photo documentation required includes the following: speedometer compliance with FMVSS No 123, the Canadian maple leaf, the RI label prior to affixing, and the RI label permanently affixed to the vehicle.


If you want to change or add facilities i.e. modification facility, record storage location, or vehicle storage location you must submit a video and a copy of the lease or ownership documentation for the new facility to NHTSA and obtain approval before you may use the facility. The type of documentation required is the same as when you initially became an RI. Changes in mailing address, phone or fax numbers, and e-mail address must be submitted no later than 30 days after the change.


An RI is a company located in the U.S. All phone and fax numbers for that company must therefore be U.S. numbers (cell phone numbers are not acceptable). If your phone or fax number on record with NHTSA is located outside of the U.S. or is a cell phone number, you have until July 1, 1999, to provide a new number. This newsletter is to be considered your notification on which you have 30 days to respond before action is taken. Failure to provide phone and fax numbers for your company will result in suspension of your registration for six months.


An RI cannot import vehicles for another RI. This is considered contracting out the duties of an RI which is prohibited.


RI certification labels must contain block lettering in accordance with Part 567. The information can not be hand written on the label. The information typed on the label must not smear when washed with soap and water and the label must be permanently affixed.


A new Statement of Conformity is attached. The new statement adds FMVSS No. 135, which applies to passenger cars manufactured on or after 9-1-00, MPVs, trucks and buses with a GVWR less than 3,500 kg manufactured on or after 9-1-02. Manufacturers, however, may now certify to the requirements of this standard instead of FMVSS No. 105. Currently the following vehicles are certified to FMVSS No. 135 not FMVSS No. 105: Acura, BMW 328i, Buick Regal, Ford Windstar, Ford Mustang, Ford Contour, Mercury Cougar, Oldsmobile Intrigue, Saab 9-5, and Toyota Solara.


Many electronic entries filed by brokers contain incorrect information. Ensure that you provide your broker with correct information for the year, make, model, VIN and eligibility number of the vehicle as well as the name of your surety company. You should also check with your broker periodically to ensure that Customs entries that identify you as the RI are for vehicles that you have imported.



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance

September 1999


Daytime running lights have been required on Canadian vehicles manufactured since December 1, 1989. As of February 10, 1993, FMVSS No. 108 allows DRLs that meet certain requirements as a manufacturer option. Many Canadian vehicles do not comply with FMVSS No. 108. RIs have stated that they are disconnecting the DRLs to achieve compliance with this standard however, they are failing to say so on their statements of conformity. When vehicle modification is required, the statement of conformity must reflect that the vehicle was modified to comply with FMVSS No. 108. We will begin monitoring statements of conformity submitted after October 1, 1999 to verify inclusion of modification to achieve conformity with FMVSS No. 108.


The final listing of model year 2000 high-theft vehicle lines was published in the Federal Register (64 FR 28110) on May 25, 1999. Vehicles on the high-theft list must have the required parts inscribed with the vehicle identification number prior to importation. A copy of the list is attached.


This will be your only reminder that it is time to submit the information required to renew your RI registration for FY 2000. The following information must be submitted for FY 2000 registration, which begins October 1, 1999, not later than October 31, 1999:

  1. Check made payable to the Treasurer of the United States, or authorization to charge the $350 fee if we have approved you for credit card use,

  2. Statement required by 49 CFR Part 592.5(e),

  3. Warranty Insurance Policy for FY 2000 with notarized signatures,

  4. Changes in any application information not previously reported.

Attachment 2 to Newsletter 12 is a sample of the required letter.


When a vehicle is conformed to the requirements of FMVSS No. 101 by replacement of the odometer with a unit calibrated in miles, the odometer reading must be adjusted to reflect the reading on the unit being replaced, converted from kilometers to miles. This is done by multiplying the kilometer reading by .62. If the odometer reading cannot be reset to this figure, it must be adjusted to zero and a sticker must be applied to the left door frame specifying the mileage before replacement. For motorcycles, the sticker should be affixed to the headstock (area where the fork assembly attaches to the frame).


When using the Recall Database on the NHTSA web site to identify a recall, make sure the Make is entered properly. For example, if searching for a Ford Windstar, the make would be "Ford truck" not "Ford". If you only enter Ford the result will be incorrect. If you are not certain of the make use the pull-down menus.


Currently RIs are notified of vehicles which may be subject to recall on a quarterly basis by letter (hard copy). Some RIs have indicated that they would prefer to receive this information electronically to make the recall process easier. If you would prefer to receive this information electronically, in lieu of hard copy, please contact Ms. Rena Lee at 202-366-7982.


When paying by check, fees for processing conformity packages are due when the conformity package is submitted. Starting November 1, 1999, in an effort to reduce the number of checks you must write, we will begin billing on a monthly basis for the conformity packages received during the month. You will receive a monthly statement, due upon receipt, with the charges associated with each VIN. If payment is not received within 10 days, we will not process new conformity packages from you until payment is received. If you continue to fail to pay, action will be taken to suspend your registration.


All conformity packages should identify whether payment will be by credit card or by monthly check. Effective November 1, 1999, all statements will be sent directly to the RI unless other arrangements are made and approved. Monthly statements for RI fees, whether you pay by credit card or by check, will be sent by e-mail if you have an e-mail address on file.



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance

November 1999


All conformity packages submitted on or after December 1, 1999, must use the attached Statement of Conformity. The information on recalls has been revised on the Statement of Conformity. You must attach documentation (manufacturer recall printout, letter from the manufacturer, etc.) to the Conformity Statement that shows that there are no outstanding recalls on the vehicle. If the documentation shows that the vehicle was covered by a recall, you must identify the recall number on the Conformity Statement and submit proof that the vehicle was remedied.

The conformity statement has also been revised to reflect a new standard, FMVSS No. 225, Child Restraint Anchorage Systems, which applies to passenger cars, trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 lb or less and buses including school buses with a GVWR of 10,000 lb or less. The notice implementing the standard was published on March 5, 1999 (64 FR 10823), and amended on August 31, 1999 (64 FR 47565).


We request that you submit certain information (RI number, VIN, vehicle type and date of manufacture) on a diskette as part of your conformity package. This will help speed up NHTSA turn around time. Submission is voluntary and will not affect the order in which conformity packages are reviewed. After January 1, 2000, priority will be given to conformity packages which include the above information on diskette. For more information contact Ms. Rena Lee at 202-366-7982.


RI certification labels are not always permanently affixed to the vehicles as required 49 CFR Part 567.4. If the RI certification label falls off within 6 months of certification by the RI, the RI or one of his employees will be required to affix a replacement certification label. A duplicate of that label must be submitted to NHTSA. If an RI's certification label falls off more than 6 months after certification by the RI, it will be required to send out a new label to the current owner of a vehicle.


RI Newsletters will be moving to a new location on the NHTSA web site: Information for Registered Importers will be found under Information for New Manufacturers. This location will also contain information on how to become a Registered Importer and the package that is sent after a company becomes a Registered Importer.


Photographs to document replacement of a speedometer or odometer on a vehicle with an electronic display should be taken with the ignition on so that the display may be viewed.


Photographs of the RI label or odometer label permanently affixed to the frame of a motorcycle are often difficult to read. Please submit a second photograph or a photocopy of the label in a flat position. Motorcycles are not subject to the Bumper Standard or the Theft Prevention Standard; therefore, the RI certification label should not refer to these standards. The conformity statement should address only the FMVSS that are applicable to motorcycles.



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance

May 2000


RIs are required to provide service insurance policies for each vehicle that they import or bring into compliance with the FMVSS to assure that recalls will be performed at no cost to owner of the vehicle. These policies should be placed in the glove box of every vehicle. If the vehicle does not have a glove box it should be given to the owner of the vehicle with other important vehicle documents. These policies must be written by an insurance company or by a company that is backed by an nsurance company. The insurance company must be registered with a state as authorized to issue insurance policies and be totally independent of any RI to which it is providing policies. You should check with your provider to assure that it meets these requirements.


Letters to Auto Enterprises and Akin, Gump, Strauss, Haur & Feld, L.L.P. were recently written addressing the sale of vehicles and when titles may be obtained for imported vehicles. To fully understand your duties and responsibilities concerning these subjects read the attached letters.


In the last Newsletter we identified where RI information would be moving to on the NHTSA web site: The Registered Importer Information page contains the packages How to Become a Registered Importer and Registered Importer Procedures and Requirements, RI Newsletters, and a link for payment of RI fees by credit card.


Vehicles imported by an RI are deemed to have the same defect or noncompliance as the substantially similar U.S. certified vehicle unless the RI can demonstrate otherwise. In Newsletter 15 you were advised to attach documentation (manufacturer recall printout, letter from the manufacturer, etc.) to the Conformity Statement that shows that there are no outstanding recalls on the vehicle. If the documentation shows that the vehicle was covered by a recall, you must identify the recall number on the Conformity Statement and submit proof that the vehicle was remedied. On GM vehicles this check should be made in Canada since GM's U.S. database may not have record of this vehicle at this time. Hundreds of conformity packages have been returned to RIs for failure to meet this requirement.


We have received numerous complaints of owners being notified by RIs that their vehicle is subject to a recall when, in fact, it is not subject to a recall. To assist RIs with their recall notification responsibility, NHTSA provides RIs with a list on a quarterly basis of vehicles which may be subject to recall. This list is based on the date the vehicle was manufactured. Since it is not based on the VIN, it is not conclusive. Before sending notification letters to vehicle owners the RI should check with the manufacturer to assure that the vehicle is subject to a recall.


Currently RIs are required to submit quarterly hard copy Part 573 reports on vehicles that are subject to recall. Some RIs have indicated that they would prefer to submit this information electronically to make the reporting process easier. If you would prefer to submit this information electronically, in lieu of hard copy, please contact Ms. Rena Lee at 202-366-7982.


A truck or tractor certified to the Canadian motor vehicle safety standards as an incomplete vehicle is not eligible for importation under VSA-82. If the vehicle has been completed but is not certified by the final stage manufacturer, the RI must submit a petition to establish that the vehicle is capable of being modified to comply with the FMVSS. The petition must present test data to support that the vehicle, as completed, complies with all applicable FMVSS.


Vehicles that are salvage or repaired using another vehicle can no longer be considered as being certified by the original manufacturer. In these cases the vehicles have undergone such extensive reconstruction that the structural integrity on which the original vehicle was certified may no longer exist. Such vehicles imported from Canada, are not eligible under the Canadian VSA eligibility numbers. This type of vehicle would have to be petitioned to establish that the vehicle is capable of being modified to comply with the FMVSS. If approved, any subsequent conformity packages submitted to NHTSA must present test data to support that the vehicle, as reconstructed, complies with all applicable FMVSS.


Records must be maintained in the United States, at your facility, for a period of 8 years from the date of entry for any vehicle for which you submit a certificate of conformity. The RI must retain correspondence and other documents relating to the importation, modification, and substantiation of certification (including documentation that there are no outstanding recalls). A more detailed listing of the information you must retain is found in 49 CFR 592.6(b). We will be making audits to determine if RIs are retaining the required information. If an RI does not have the necessary information, it may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action by NHTSA.


We are introducing payment of RI fees on the internet. This will give you greater control over how your fees are paid and will allow you to pay using Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. To use the system your browser will have to support 128-bit encryption and you will need the invoice number from your monthly statement. If you are interested in making your credit card payment on the web contact Ms. Rena Lee at 202-366-7982. In the coming months this may become the only method to pay by credit card.


An RI cannot contract out any of the modification work that brings the vehicle into conformity. If an RI signs a contract with a prospective importer and later determines that it does not have the expertise to modify the vehicle, the RI must export the vehicle. After the vehicle has been exported, another RI with the expertise may import the vehicle. The vehicle may not be directly transferred to another RI which has the expertise to modify the vehicle.


RIs are eligible to modify vehicles certified to the safety standards of a country other than Canada. In most cases these vehicles do not meet EPA requirements. If a vehicle does not meet EPA requirements, the vehicle must also go to an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI) in addition to the RI. If you are not an ICI, you should become associated with one to coordinate the modification of the vehicle to the requirements of both agencies. If you are not an ICI and plan to modify vehicles certified to a country other than Canada, please contact Ms. Kathy Rice at (202) 366-5291 before June 15 with the name of the ICI that you are associated.

FMVSS NO. 201 UPPER, Occupant protection in interior impact

In 1995 FMVSS No. 201 was amended requiring vehicles to provide protection when an occupant's head strikes upper interior components. Manufacturers have been meeting this phased-in requirement by introducing certain models that meet this requirement. If the substantially similar US vehicle is certified as meeting this requirement then the imported vehicle must also meet this requirement. A listing of the vehicles that are certified to FMVSS No. 201U may be found in the NHTSA brochure BUYING A SAFER CAR 2000 (HS 808988). This brochure may be ordered by selecting information on Vehicle Safety from the following NHTSA web page.

Attachments, NHTSA letters to

  1. Auto Enterprises dated April 17, 2000

  2. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Haur & Feld, L.L.P. dated April 19, 2000

Attachment 1

April 17, 2000

Mr. Philip Trupiano
Auto Enterprises
28801 Universal Drive
Warren, MI 48092

Dear Mr. Trupiano:

This is in reply to your letter of November 11, 1999, to Taylor Vinson of this Office asking for an interpretation of 49 U.S.C. 30146 as implemented by 49 CFR 592.8.

You have informed us that "Auto Enterprises, Inc., and some of the customers on behalf of whom Auto Enterprises is performing importing services, wish to obtain United States titles for re-sale purposes only for vehicles imported into the United States during the period that the vehicles are still within the custody and control of Auto Enterprises." Specifically, you want "to obtain such titles for re-sale purposes prior to the time that the performance bond . . . is released." You asked:

May a Registered Importer, or the customer on whose behalf the vehicle is imported, obtain a title for re-sale purposes for a vehicle which it has imported, prior to the time that the applicable performance bond has been released by the Administrator?

As you know, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30146(a)(1), a Registered Importer (RI) "may license or register an imported motor vehicle for use on the public streets, roads, or highways, or release custody of a motor vehicle . . . to a person for license or registration for use on the public streets, roads, or highways, only after 30 days after" the RI has certified to NHTSA that the vehicle complies with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards. We are unsure of precisely what you are referring to by "a title for re-sale purposes." However, we do not construe the statutory provisions as prohibiting a RI from obtaining a title in its own name to a vehicle it has imported for resale, while the vehicle is still bound by its performance bond, in order to expedite the subsequent licensing or registration of that vehicle for on-road use after the bond has been released.

You have also asked if "the customer on whose behalf the vehicle is imported" may obtain a title for re-sale purposes before the bond is released. The answer is no; the title may not be in the name of the customer. One of the conditions of the bond is that the vehicle it covers be exported or abandoned to the United States in the event that an insufficient showing of conformity is made and the bond and the vehicle are not released (49 U.S.C. 30141(d)(1), as implemented by 49 CFR 591.8(e), and Appendices A and B, and 49 CFR 592,6(a)). If the RI has transferred or reassigned title to the vehicle to "the customer on whose behalf the vehicle is imported" before the bond has been released, the RI could not fulfill its duty to export or abandon the nonconforming vehicle because it would no longer own the vehicle. In that instance, NHTSA's sole remedy would be to foreclose on the bond. This is insufficient to fulfill the safety purpose of the statute and the bond which is to ensure that imported noncomplying vehicles be brought into compliance before being licensed for use, and used, on the public roads.

I hope that this answers your question.

Frank Seales, Jr.
Chief Counsel

Attachment 2

April 19, 2000

Mr. John M. Dowd
Mr. James C. Osborne, Jr.
Ms. Elizabeth C. Peterson
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P.
1333 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Re: American Vehicle Importers, Inc.

Dear Messrs. Dowd and Osborne, and Ms. Peterson:

We are replying to your letter of December 23, 1999, addressed to myself, and to Messrs. Guerci, Vinson, and Entwistle of this agency submitting a proposal to resolve the matters discussed at your meeting with us on December 21. This meeting concerned the practices of your client, American Vehicle Importers, Inc. ("AVI") with respect to statutes and regulations enforced by the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance ("OVSC").

I will address the items in your letter in the order you have raised them. Your initial remark ascribes to us the acknowledgment that "the current regulations do not prohibit a Registered Importer ('RI') from moving an imported vehicle to an auction lot prior to receipt of a Bond Release for a vehicle." This is coupled with your realization that we may need to know the location of the vehicle during the period before the bond is released in order to be able to inspect it for conformance, and you state that AVI will inform OVSC of the location where the vehicles may be inspected. We agree that the current regulations do not specifically prohibit a RI from placing bonded vehicles on an auction lot, and that AVI's informing us of the location of bonded vehicles should facilitate our ability to inspect them. However, AVI must also ensure that we have unfettered access to these vehicles on an auction lot in the same manner as we would were they retained on AVI's property, at all times until receipt of the bond release. That is to say, we must be admitted to inspect bonded vehicles stored on an auction lot during all business hours. We will require the same information location from all RIs that do not store bonded vehicles on the lots identified in their registration application.

You contend "that the regulation, which prohibits an RI from licensing or registering the vehicle or 'releas[ing] custody of the vehicle to any person for license or registration for use on public streets . . .' prior to receipt of a Bond Release, do not preclude the vehicle's sale at a wholesale auction prior to receipt of the Bond Release." We disagree with you on this point. One of the conditions of the bond is that the vehicle it covers be exported or abandoned to the United States in the event that an insufficient showing of conformity is made and the bond and the vehicle are not released (49 U.S.C. 30141(d)(1) as implemented by 49 CFR 591.8(e) and Appendices A and B, and 49 CFR 592.6(a)). If a bonded vehicle has been sold at auction, wholesale or otherwise, before the bond has been released, we could not be certain that the RI could fulfill its duty to export or abandon the nonconforming vehicle because it would no longer own the vehicle. In that instance, NHTSA's sole remedy would be to foreclose on the bond. This is insufficient to fulfill the safety purpose of the statute and the bond, which is to ensure that imported noncomplying vehicles be brought into compliance before being licensed for use, and used, on the public roads. We note, however, your statement that "AVI will agree to await receipt of a Bond Release before selling its imported vehicles at a wholesale auction," and your opinion that all RI s should be preluded from selling their vehicles before receiving a bond release. To address your concern, we do intend to enforce the law equally, and we have informed RIs that they must not sell bonded vehicles while the bond is in effect, whether at auctions, to dealers, or to individuals.

Your final concern regards titling of bonded vehicles. You assert that we acknowledged that "the current regulations do not prohibit the titling of an imported vehicle prior to release of the bond on the vehicle." You refer to the letter of November 11, 1999, by Philip Trupiano, the president of Auto Enterprises, Inc. (and a principal of AVI), requesting an interpretation whether a RI may obtain a title for re-sale purposes before this agency has released the applicable performance bond. I enclose a copy of the Chief Counsel's recent response to Mr. Trupiano. As he advised Mr. Trupiano, we do not interpret 49 U.S.C. 30146(a)(1) as precluding a RI from obtaining a title to a bonded vehicle in its own name before the bond is released. However, for the reasons explained in that letter, we have concluded that a RI may not have a vehicle retitled to another entity pending bond release.

With respect to other issues, you ask that OVSC commit to release the bond on a vehicle no more than seven days after receipt of conformance certification. While OVSC will not make such a "commitment," which, in any event, would not be enforceable, our policy has been, and will be, to process conformance certification packages expeditiously and in the order in which they are received. During the past three months, the average period between receipt of a RI's conformance package and bond release has been reduced to five days.

You also ask that OVSC engage in further discussions regarding implementation of a software program presented to OVSC by AVI and Avalon Risk Management. OVSC is willing to consider any software program, provided that the developer of the program agrees to waive all proprietary rights if the program is implemented. With regard to AVI's proposal to work with OVSC "to develop a procedure by which Vehicle Identification Numbers are inspected and verified prior to entry into the U.S," we believe that the U.S. Customs Service would be a more appropriate Federal agency to work with, particularly regarding procedures intended to identify stolen vehicles before their entry into the U.S.

Finally, we agree with you that fundamental fairness requires us to interpret and enforce the law equally against all RIs. To assure that RIs understand their duties and responsibilities, we will discuss these matters in Newsletter No. 16, currently being prepared to be sent to the RI community.

Kenneth N. Weinstein
Associate Administrator
for Safety Assurance