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United States' Theft Prevention Standards

Q: If you want to bring in a non-North American vehicle into the US permanently for road use, must it already be conforming to Federal Theft Prevention Standards and cannot be fixed by an RI to meet such standards?

A: It is possible for a motor vehicle that does not comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards or the Federal bumper standard to be imported in a nonconforming state and be modified to comply with those standards following importation. That is not the case with regard to the Federal Theft Prevention Standard. There is no provision in the statute that authorizes that standard for a vehicle that does not conform to the theft prevention standard to be modified to conform to that standard following its importation into the United States. As a consequence, all motor vehicles that are subject to the theft prevention standard must be in compliance with the standard at the time of importation. If the vehicle was not originally manufactured to conform to the theft prevention standard, it must be modified to conform prior to entry and the importer must be able to furnish evidence that the vehicle has been so conformed, such as an invoice showing that required theft prevention markings have been affixed to all parts that are required by the theft prevention standard (49 CFR Part 541) to be so marked.

49 CFR Part 541 requires that labels from the orginal manufacturer must be placed on the following parts inscribing a unique vehicle identification number and the manufacurer's unique identifier (such as a logo) must be place in the material of the label. For replaced parts, the parts mentioned below must bear a unique identifier for the replacement part's manufaturer or the importer and a letter "R" that is one centimeter high minimum within the area that the orginial labels should be. Replaced parts must also have the word "DOT" inscribed somewhere within 5 centimeters of the "R".

Regulated Parts for Theft Prevention Standards:

  1. Engine.
  2. Transmission.
  3. Right front fender.
  4. Left front fender.
  5. Hood.
  6. Right front door.
  7. Left front door.
  8. Right rear door.
  9. Left rear door.
  10. Sliding or cargo door(s).
  11. Front bumper.
  12. Rear bumper.
  13. Right rear quarter panel (passenger cars).
  14. Left rear quarter panel (passenger cars).
  15. Right-side assembly (MPVs).
  16. Left-side assembly (MPVs).
  17. Pickup box, and/or cargo box (LDTs).

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