French court reverses sales ban on Mercedes-Benz vehicles using R134a coolant

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 7, 2014

France's top administrative court -- Conseil d'Etat -- has reversed a 2013 decision of the French government to ban sales of certain Mercedes-Benz vehicles that were still using the barred R134a air-conditioning coolant. The decision of France's Conseil d'Etat bolsters the temporary injunction it granted in August 2013 to end a two-month ban on sales of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class, CLA and SL models.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler has refused to stop using R134a, which is currently being phased out by the European Union. In a statement, France's Conseil d'Etat said that the ban was not justified; noting that banned vehicles had not been shown to present a serious threat to the environment.

R134a is a global warming agent that is around 1,400 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The EU started the ban on the use of the coolant since the start of 2013.

Daimler, however, chose to disregard the EU directive, saying that it had identified unacceptable safety risks in the alternative coolant, R1234yf. The substance is the only coolant that complies with EU requirements.

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