REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER 1-16
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 1
March 15, 1994
VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS (VIN) REQUIRED ON ALL PETITIONS
VERIFICATION OF RECALL CAMPAIGNS IN EFFECT
MERCEDES-BENZ AIR BAG SYSTEMS IN NON-U.S. CARS
COPY OF CONTRACTS REQUIRED BY OVSC
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 2
April 29, 1994
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.
RECORD SET FOR NUMBER OF REGISTERED IMPORTERS (RIs)
MANY RANGE ROVER MODELS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR IMPORTATION
REPRINTS OF REGULATION PARTS 591 & 592 NOW AVAILABLE
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 3
May 27, 1994
1993 EDITION OF CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS NOW AVAILABLE
To minimize the potential of costly errors due to reliance on outdated revisions of the CFR that contain the FMVSS and other NHTSA regulations, we strongly recommend that you purchase a copy of the latest revision.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.GUIDELINES FOR ELIGIBILITY PETITIONS
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.ELIGIBILITY UPDATE
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:
|Vehicle substantially similar to a U.S. certified model and readily modifiable
|Vehicle capable of being modified to comply with U.S. Federal motor vehicle safety standards
|Administrator made the determination on his or her own initiative
|Petition from RI or manufacturer
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 4
June 30, 1994
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.
ANOTHER ELIGIBILITY UPDATE
IMPORTING FOR RESALE
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:
SUBSECTION (a)(1)(A) SHALL NOT APPLY IF THE VEHICLE IS IMPORTED BY A REGISTERED IMPORTER, and
SUBSECTION (a)(1)(A) SHALL NOT APPLY TO A VEHICLE THAT IS IMPORTED FOR PERSONAL USE, AND NOT FOR RESALE, BY ANY INDIVIDUAL IF THAT INDIVIDUAL FURNISHES A COPY OF A CONTRACT WITH A REGISTERED IMPORTER FOR BRINGING SUCH VEHICLE INTO CONFORMITY
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.
FEE SUBMISSION METHODS NEED IMPROVEMENT
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.
WHY AUTOMAKERS OPPOSE "BOOTLEG" EXPORTS
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 5
August 30, 1994
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.
FURTHER GUIDANCE FOR ELIGIBILITY PETITIONERS
ADDITIONAL ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATIONS
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 6
April 3, 1995
REGISTERED IMPORTER OBLIGATIONS
(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.
SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION (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 -
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS
REFERENCE INFORMATION FMVSSs
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 7
September 25, 1995
DO IT RIGHT
CLARIFICATION OF FMVSS 214 REQUIREMENTS
SUBMISSION OF CERTIFICATION PACKAGES
VISA CREDIT CARD NOW ACCEPTED
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 8
January 3, 1996
SPEEDING UP PROCESSING OF REGISTERED IMPORTER (RI) PETITIONS, APPLICATIONS, AND COMPLIANCE PACKAGES
MAIL CODE: NSA-3202
400 7TH ST SW, Room 6115
WASHINGTON DC 20590
BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR REGISTERED IMPORTER (RI) PROGRAM
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.
RI MUST CERTIFY
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
ALSO, EACH RI MUST REAFFIRM BY FAX OR LETTER ITS TELEPHONE NUMBERS AND FAX NUMBERS FOR EACH LOCATION SINCE MANY AREA CODES HAVE BEEN RECENTLY CHANGED.
VEHICLE ENTRY BONDS
Option 1 - "Bond for the Entry of a Single Vehicle," Appendix A, Section 591.5(f), shows the form for a single vehicle bond.
Option 2 - "Bond for the Entry of More Than a Single Vehicle," Appendix B, Section 591.5(f), shows the form for a bond for single entry of multiple vehicles through a single port with the attachment of U.S. Customs Service Form CF 7501.
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 9
June 18, 1996
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS
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
STATEMENT OF CONFORMITY
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS
FEDERAL REGISTER ONLINE
The eligibility list mentioned above as well as vehicles determined eligible after January 22, 1996, can be viewed at this location.
OFFICE OF SAFETY ASSURANCE
IMPORTING MEXICAN VEHICLES
30 DAY HOLD PERIOD
Don't take chances.
SUBMISSION OF CONFORMANCE PACKAGES
FMVSS 208 AND CANADIAN VEHICLES
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.
TIME TO MODIFY
JUST A REMINDER
MAIL CODE: NSA-3202
400 7TH ST SW, Room 6111
WASHINGTON DC 20590
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 10
December 20, 1996
FORFEITURE OF BOND
VCP PETITIONS - CAPABLE OF BEING MODIFIED
SUBMISSION OF CONFORMITY PACKAGES
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.
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 11
September 15, 1997
CANADIAN ELIGIBILITY NUMBERS
INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON INTERNET WEBSITE
Interpretations done by NHTSA Chief Counsel.
List of Registered Importers, Vehicle Eligibility Numbers.
Chapter 301 of Title 49, U.S. Code.
PREPARATION OF CONFORMANCE PACKAGE
INCORRECT ABI INFORMATION
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.
ADDRESSES AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS
PAYMENT OF FEES
HIGH THEFT VEHICLES
ELECTRONIC BOND RELEASE
|Controls and Displays (Inspection)
|Transmission Shift Lever Sequences, etc. (Inspection)
|Windshield Defrosting and Defogging
|Windshield Wiping and Washing
|Hydraulic Brake System
|Reflecting Surfaces (Inspection) REMOVED May 6, 1996
|Passenger Car (PC) New Pneumatic Tires
|PC Tire Selection and Rims
|Headlamp Concealment Devices REMOVED Oct 24, 1996; REQUIREMENTS TRANSFERRED TO S108
|Hood Latch Systems (Inspection)
|Theft Protection (Inspection)
|Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) (Inspection) REMOVED July 8, 1996; REQUIREMENTS TRANSFERRED TO P565
|Hydraulic Brake Fluids
|Retreaded Pneumatic Tires (Inspection)
|Power-Operated Window Systems
|Truck/Bus New Pneumatic Tires
|Truck/Bus Tire Selection & Rims
|Air Brake Systems (Dynamometer)
|Air Brake Systems (Vehicles)
|Motorcycle Brake Systems
|Motorcycle Controls and Displays (Inspection)
|Accelerator Control Systems
|Truck-Camper Loading REMOVED Sept 1, 1997; REQUIREMENTS TRANSFERRED TO PART 575.103
|Pass. Car New Non-Pneumatic Tires
|School Bus Pedestrian Safety Devices
|Pass. Car Brake Systems
|Occupant Protection in Interior Impact
|Occupant Protection in Interior Impact - Upper Interior Head Impact Protection
|Rigid Pole Side Impact Test
|Impact Protection for the river from Steering Control
|Steering Control Rearward Displacement
|Glazing Materials (Inspection)
|Door Locks and Door Retention Components
|Occupant Crash Protection
|Seat Belt Assemblies
|Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages
|Wheel Nuts, Wheel Discs, and Hub Caps (Inspection) CANCELED June 5, 1996
|Child Restraint Systems
|Side Impact Prot. (Dynamic)
|Side Impact Prot. (Static)
|Roof Crush Resistance
|Bus Window Retention and Release
|Windshield Zone Intrusion
|Rear Impact Guards
|Rear Impact Protection
|Fuel System Integrity (Frontal, Rear, Lateral & School Bus)
|Flammability of Interior Materials
|Fuel System Integrity of CNG Vehicles
|CNG Fuel Container Integrity
|Theft Prevention Standard
|VIN Content Requirements
|Vehicles Manufactured in Two or More Stages
|Anthropomorphic Test Dummies
|Defect and Noncompliance Reports
|Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQG)
|Defect and Noncompliance Notification
|Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility
|Importation of Vehicles & Equipment Subject to FMVSS
|Determination for Eligibility for Importation of Vehicles
|Registered Importer Fee Schedule
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 12
Attachment 2 is a sample of the renewal letter.
FEES FOR FY 1999
INCORRECT ABI ENTRIES
HIGH THEFT LIST
FMVSS No. 126, TRUCK-CAMPER LOADING
112, Headlight Concealment 10-14-96
115, VIN Identification 7-8-96
126, Truck-Camper Loading 9-1-97
211, Wheel Nuts, Wheel Discs, and Hub Caps
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 13
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance
CANADIAN IMPORT PROCESS
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.
CIVIL PENALTY, REVOCATION/SUSPENSION OF RI REGISTRATION, SEIZING OF VEHICLES
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.
COVER SHEET FOR CONFORMITY PACKAGES
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.
MARKING ODOMETER KM
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.
CHANGE OF FACILITIES
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.
US PHONE AND FAX NUMBERS
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.
IMPORTATION FOR ANOTHER RI
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.
STATEMENT OF CONFORMITY
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.
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 14
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance
DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS (DRL)
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.
HIGH THEFT LIST FOR MY 2000
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.
MAINTENANCE OF RI REGISTRATION
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:
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.
MONTHLY FEE STATEMENTS
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.
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 15
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance
STATEMENT OF CONFORMITY
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 INFORMATION AT NHTSA WEB SITE
RI Newsletters will be moving to a new location on the NHTSA web site: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/maninfo/. 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.
ELECTRONIC SPEEDOMETER OR ODOMETER
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.
MOTORCYCLE CONFORMITY PACKAGES
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.
REGISTERED IMPORTER NEWSLETTER No. 16
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance
SERVICE INSURANCE POLICIES
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.
RI INFORMATION AT NHTSA WEB SITE
In the last Newsletter we identified where RI information would be moving to on the NHTSA web site: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/maninfo/. 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.
RECALLS AT TIME OF IMPORTATION
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.
PART 573 RECALL REPORTS
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.
PAYMENT OF FEES BY CREDIT CARD
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.
NO CONTRACTING OUT
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
April 17, 2000
Mr. Philip Trupiano
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.
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.
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
for Safety Assurance