The European Commission has given provisional support to France's move to block the registration and sale of several new Mercedes-Benz models as they contain the disallowed R134a refrigerant. The Commission's assessment is a big setback for Mercedes parent Daimler and could pave way for a similar move by other EU member countries.
EU industry chief Antonio Tajani said in a statement that there are Daimler-built vehicles in Europe that, according to the Commission analysis, do not conform “with their type-approval."
He said that further assessment is needed to see whether some Daimler cars built since May 2013 under a previous approval from Germany are also illegal. Tajani said this means that France's refusal to register Mercedes models built since June 12, 2013 may be considered legal under existing EU rules, provided that proper procedures were followed.
France has refused to register Mercedes A class, B class and CLA cars despite an existing approval from German authorities since they contained the R134a refrigerant that is banned in the EU as it is a potent global warming agent.
According to Daimler, its refusal to phase out R134a is justified by safety concerns over the only replacement, the R1234yf coolant. A Daimler spokesman remarked that the cars have a valid, European-wide permit, noting that “nothing should stand in the way of their being registered." [source: automotive news - sub. required]