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TMCNet:  Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition, DP10-002

[November 29, 2011]

Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition, DP10-002

Nov 29, 2011 (Transportation Department Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- SUMMARY: This notice describes the reasons for denying a petition (DP10-002) submitted to NHTSA under 49 U.S.C. Subtitle B, Chapter V, Part 552, Subpart A, requesting that the agency conduct "an investigation of defective products manufactured by Dayton Wheel Concepts, Inc. (`Dayton Wheel' and American Wire Wheel, LLC (`American Wheel')." The petition listed the allegedly defective products and the alleged defect (which varied by allegedly defective product).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Young, Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), NHTSA; 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE; Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-4806.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: By a letter dated December 31, 2009, Mr. Thomas M. Gisslen; 707 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd. #158; Dayton, OH 45459, through his lawyer John R. Folkerth, JR; 109 North Main Street; 500 Performance Place; Dayton, OH 45402; petitioned the NHTSA requesting that it investigate "defective products manufactured by Dayton Wheel Concepts, Inc. (`Dayton Wheel' and American Wire Wheel, LLC (`American Wheel')" and that the Agency "order * * * Dayton Wheel [to] remedy the indicated design defects and to cease and desist from the manufacture of the defective products until such time as the indicated design defects have been corrected, that all inventory of such defective product be impounded and destroyed, that all defective product be recalled, and that [Dayton Wheel] provide the notice specified in 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30119" [basically that Dayton conduct a safety recall of the allegedly defective product(s) and so notify the NHTSA].

NHTSA has reviewed the material provided by the petitioner and other pertinent data. The results of this review and our analysis of the petition's merit is set forth in the DP10-002 Petition Analysis Report, published in its entirety as an appendix to this notice.

For the reasons presented in the petition analysis report, there is no reasonable possibility that an order concerning the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect would be issued as a result of granting Mr. Gisslen's petition. Therefore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the agency's safety mission, the petition is denied.

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30162(d); delegations of authority at CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

Issued on: November 22, 2011.

Nancy Lummen Lewis, Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

APPENDIX Petition ANALYSIS--DP10-002 1.0 Introduction On January 27, 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a December 31, 2009, letter from attorney John R. Folkerth, Jr. on behalf of his client, Thomas M. Gisslen, petitioning the agency to conduct an "investigation" of certain products manufacturer by Dayton Wheel Concepts, Inc. (including those branded "Dayton" and "American Wire Wheel") for a range of alleged defects. /1/ Mr. Gisslen (the "petitioner") is "seeking an order requiring Dayton Wheel to remedy the [allegedly] indicated design defects and to cease and desist from the manufacture of the defective products until such time as the [allegedly] indicated design defects have been corrected, that all inventory of such [allegedly] defective product be impounded and destroyed, that all [allegedly] defective product be recalled, and that the manufacturer provide the [recall] notice specified in 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30119." In support of his petition, Mr. Gisslen cites: a previous NHTSA investigation (PE02-073) and subsequent safety-related recall (03E-011) of the subject motorcycle wheels; a web-forum discussion concerning the alleged separation of three spokes in a Dayton model D452 60-spoke laced wheel installed on a 1958 MGA, photographs of purportedly defective Dayton wheel components, photographs of rim cracking in the nipple dimple area on a customer's Dayton "BA" radially-laced motorcycle wheel taken proximate to June 6, 2007, a web-forum discussion concerning quality concerns with a "21 inch, forty spoke cross-laced American Wire Wheel installed on a Harley FXDB "Street Bob"; internal Dayton email concerning wheel component material, design, and specification, and material related to alleged test failures of certain Dayton products. According to the petitioner, "Dayton Wheel's [allegedly] defective products constitute a substantial risk of catastrophic personal injury * * * " /2/ FOOTNOTE 1 Hired on September 6, 2006, Dayton Wheel ("Dayton") terminated Mr. Gisslen's employment on September 11, 2007. Gisslen v. Dayton Wheel Concepts, Inc., et. al. was filed October 6, 2009 on behalf of Mr. Gisslen alleging he was wrongfully terminated (Montgomery County Ohio, 2009 CV 08163). Subsequently, Mr. Gisslen petitioned the Agency. END FOOTNOTE FOOTNOTE 2 John R. Folkerth, Jr., Esq., to Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, DC, 31 December 2009, page 5. END FOOTNOTE On March 9, 2010, NHTSA wrote to Dayton requesting certain information. The company's response was received by us on May 17, 2010. Included was a request, filed pursuant to 49 CFR part 512, that certain information provided not be released to the public.

On July 26, 2010 the petitioner, through attorney Folkerth, submitted a letter to Ron Medford, NHTSA's Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety, covering additional exhibits primarily concerning alleged product failures both in the field and during various laboratory tests. Many of the exhibits simply duplicated what was in NHTSA's public file for this petition (DP10-002).

On June 24, 2011, the petitioner (no longer represented by Mr. Folkerth) submitted additional information by Email to NHTSA. The thrust of the email (and a duplicate sent on June 28, 2011) was his opining that Dayton had not thoroughly and completely responded to our March 9th inquiry.

For purposes of this analysis, "Dayton" refers to Dayton Wire Wheel, Inc. including all of its divisions, subsidiaries (whether or not incorporated, including American Wire Wheel and Dayton Wheel Concepts).

In analyzing the petitioner's allegations and preparing a response, we: [checkmark] Reviewed the petitioner attorney's December 31, 2010, and July 26, 2010, letters and exhibits.

[checkmark] Reviewed the petitioner's June 24, 2011, email and attachments.

[checkmark] Reviewed the petitioner's June 28, 2011, email and attachments.

[checkmark] Reviewed data provided by Dayton in response to our March 9, 2010, information request.

[checkmark] Reviewed a previous NHTSA defect investigation (PE02-073) concerning the alleged sudden and unforeseen catastrophic failure of certain motorcycle wheels produced by Dayton under the brand name "American Wire Wheel" (AWW).

[checkmark] Reviewed information related to Dayton's safety recall (03E-011) of the PE02-073 subject AWW wheels.

[checkmark] Reviewed our consumer complaint database for any reports concerning products manufactured by Dayton.

[checkmark] Informally interviewed owners of British cars equipped with Dayton wheels at three Washington, DC-area British car shows.

[checkmark] Informally interviewed owners of motorcycles equipped with Dayton wheels at three Washington, DC-area custom motorcycle shows.

[checkmark] Conducted a wide-ranging, web-based, search for any information (included forum threads) concerning alleged sudden, catastrophic failure of Dayton products.

The information gathered and reviewed during this comprehensive effort fails to establish that a defect trend exists in any of Dayton's products (including those identified by the petitioner). Consequently, the petition is denied.

2.0 Dayton Wire Wheel History Founded in 1916, today Dayton Wire Wheel manufactures laced wheels for sale, predominantly, in the automotive and motorcycle aftermarket. /3/ Dayton wheels were used by the Wright Brothers and Charles Lindbergh. As an original equipment supplier in the 1930's, Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobiles were built with Daytons. All Dayton wheels are produced in Dayton, Ohio.

FOOTNOTE 3 Dayton continues to supply original equipment wheels to some vehicle mfrs., including the Morgan Motor Company of County Worcestershire in the UK. END FOOTNOTE 3.0 The Petioners Allegations The petitioner provided a listing of the Dayton products he alleges are defective. While discussing his claims regarding the "radial spoke" (i.e., the spokes do not cross another between the hub and rim) motorcycle wheels in his letter, the petitioner references an earlier NHTSA defect investigation (PE02-073) and its related safety recall (03E-011) concerning certain motorcycle wheels assembled by Dayton. /4/ FOOTNOTE 4 Folkerth, pages 1-2 END FOOTNOTE 3.1 The defective products alleged by the Petitioner Mr. Gisslen alleges that the following Dayton products have the following "defects:" /5/ FOOTNOTE 5 Ibid, pages 4-5. END FOOTNOTE --This is a summary of a Federal Register article originally published on the page number listed below-- Denial of Petition for a Defect Investigation.

Citation: "76 FR 73771" Federal Register Page Number: "73771" "Notices"

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