Audit Reports

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Processing Petitions to Import Non-Canadian Gray Market Vehicles

Project ID: 

We reported on NHTSA’s processing of petitions to import vehicles (other than those manufactured for sale in Canada) that were not originally manufactured to comply with Federal safety standards. We found that NHTSA had experienced processing delays in CYs 2001 and 2002, but has shown marked improvement due to changes in management staff and processing personnel. We also found that no mechanism exists for the vehicle owner to obtain the current status of a petition under review.

We recommended that NHTSA: 1) ensure petition receipt dates are properly recorded; 2) ensure management reports show the actual processing time for each step in the review process, and note how these times compare to NHTSA standards; 3) modify the Motor Vehicle Importation Information System to include fields that flag a petition held in suspense and the reason for the suspense action; and 4) consider developing a consumer-centric mechanism, such as a searchable web site to ensure that information on a petition held in suspense is available to both the registered importer and vehicle owner.