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HQ 086170

March 22, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086170 CMS


TARIFF NO.: 8703.23.00

Ms. Martha L. Brown
Customs Administrator
Volkswagen of America, Inc.
888 W. Big Beaver
P.O. Box 3951
Troy, Michigan 48007-3951

RE: Volkswagen "T-4" Vehicle

Dear Ms. Brown:

This responds to your request dated December 13, 1989 for a binding classification ruling for the Volkswagen T-4 vehicle. Submitted with your request were diagrams of the vehicle and a list of vehicle features. Additional information was provided by facsimile transmission on March 8, 1990. Our ruling follows.


The merchandise consists of the Volkswagen T-4 vehicle which is the successor to the Volkswagen Vanagon vehicle ("T-4" is Volkswagen's temporary designation for the vehicle; the name under which the vehicle will be marketed has not been determined). The T-4 will be the fourth generation of the van- type vehicle which Volkswagen developed in the late 1940's as a derivative of the Beetle passenger car. The classification for the Volkswagen Vanagon vehicle was determined in HQ Ruling 083628 (June 6, 1989).

The T-4 will be imported in a standard van version, standard camper version and long-wheelbase camper version. The vehicle is powered by a 2.5 liter, five cylinder fuel injected engine and is available with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle has three side doors, one of which is a sliding door, and windows all around. The rear passenger compartment has sliding windows and a separate heater.

The standard van version has overall seating for seven persons. Behind the two front seats is one bench-type seat or two individual seats which can be easily removed. Behind these
seats is a bench-type seat which folds and tumbles but can only be removed with the use of tools. The standard camper version has similar seating arrangements but seats six persons and has a pop-up roof, equipment which can easily be converted into two beds, and a sink with water supply. The long-wheelbase camper has all the amenities of the standard camper but is configured with a permanent kitchen in the rear of the vehicle.

The suspension of the T-4 that of the
Vanagon except that the T-4 features front wheel drive. The overall length, width and height of the standard T-4 and Vanagon , with the comparisons between the T-4 and Vanagon, respectively, as follows: overall length: , 179.9"; width: , 72.6"; height: , 75.9". The ratio of interior passenger area to cargo area for the T-4 when the vehicle is being used by passengers is : 1.1, which is greater than the passenger to cargo ratio for the Vanagon (3:1). The length of the T-4 long-wheelbase camper is ; the width and height dimensions those of the standard T-4 versions.


Is the T-4 classified in Heading 8703 as a vehicle principally designed for the transport of persons, or in Heading 8704 as a vehicle for the transport of goods?


Heading 8703 describes vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons. Heading 8704 describes vehicles for the transport of goods. No section, chapter or explanatory notes provide criteria regarding vehicle features to be used in determining whether a vehicle is principally designed for the transport of persons or goods.

In HQ Ruling 083628 (June 6, 1989), the Volkswagen Vanagon was determined to be a vehicle principally designed for the transport of persons, classified in Heading 8703, HTSUSA. The Vanagon ruling acknowledged that no single vehicle feature is dispositive and that one should consider (1) the integral, and (2) the auxiliary features of vehicles when determining whether they are principally designed for the transport of persons or goods.

The particular features of the Vanagon which HQ Ruling 083628 determined were significant were three side doors, one of which was sliding so as to allow passengers easy access to the rear seats; windows on the rear side passenger door and rear side
panels; and a center seat and bench-type seat which when combined with the front seats provided seating capacity for 5-7 persons.

The T-4 has all the features which HQ Ruling 083628 found to be particularly significant in determining that the Vanagon was principally designed to transport persons. The T-4 is also very similar to the Vanagon in other respects (e.g. suspension, dimensions, ratio of passenger to cargo interior space).

The three versions of the T-4 are essentially similar to the Vanagon in regard to the vehicle features specifically referenced in HQ Ruling 083628. When considering all the T-4's integral and auxiliary design features, it is clear that the T-4 is principally designed for the transport of persons. The T-4 versions with 2.5. liter engines are classified in subheading 8703.23.00, HTSUSA; any of the three T-4 versions which has an engine with a cylinder capacity greater than 3000 cc's is classified in subheading 8703.24.00, HTSUSA.


The Volkswagen T-4 standard van, standard camper and long- wheelbase camper versions with spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engines of a cylinder capacity exceeding 1,500 cc but not exceeding 3,000 cc are classified in subheading 8703.23.00, HTSUSA.


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