More member countries of the European Union may join France in stopping registrations of new Daimler vehicles that use the forbidden R134a refrigerant. This came after the EU governments agreed to take action against the German carmaker, which insists that the only available coolant, HFO-1234yf, poses a fire risk.
France has refused to register Mercedes A class, B class and CLA cars built since they contained R134a coolant that was recently banned in the EU as it is a potent global warming agent.
The European Commission disclosed on July 16, 2013, that some Daimler models were being sold in breach of EU rules and that, according to its preliminary assessment, France’s refusal to register the vehicles could be justified. During a technical-level meeting Wednesday, national officials from the 28 member states agreed to take steps to bring all vehicles sold in the EU within the rules.
The Commission said in a statement that its member states acknowledged that corrective measures will be taken to bring the vehicles into conformity. The measures include withdrawal of vehicles already being sold on the market, just like what France has done, according to the Commission.
An EU official said the Commission would organize discussion in next few weeks with the French and German authorities to try to find a solution. Germany has allowed Daimler to continue using R134a, even after other European carmakers shifted to HFO-1234yf, which is produced by Honeywell International and Dupont.
While Daimler claims HFO-1234yf could pose as a fire risk, Honeywell has said there is no significant risk from the refrigerant, adding that it is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly option. [source: Reuters]