France’s Council of State has provisionally ruled that the country must allow the registration of Daimler's new Mercedes-Benz vehicles while judges decide on the legality of the government moves against the models equipped with the R134a refrigerant the European Union wants to ban. The Council of State said in a statement that continued use of the R134a refrigerant doesn't seem to pose the immediate environmental threat that the French government was citing in suspending registrations, adding that there is "serious doubt" about the justification.
Daimler decided not use the newer R1234yf refrigerant in its Mercedes A- and B-class compacts, the CLA four-door coupes and SL convertibles following tests that showed that the coolant poses a fire risk during crashes. The French Ministry of Ecology, Development and Energy blocked new registrations of the models in July 2013, saying the usage of R134a is against EU environmental rules.
Daimler, however, argued that the models are type-approved in Germany and should be allowed to be registered anywhere in the EU. The provisional ruling effectively restores Daimler's access to the French market, where it sold 15,745 Mercedes-Benz compact cars in the first half of 2013.
In a statement, Daimler said it expects the French authorities to start registering its vehicles within the next 48 hours. The European Commission requires carmakers to use the R1234yf coolant that is much less potent than previous refrigerants. An EU directive bans use of older refrigerants in new vehicles this year, although an interim arrangement is possible through 2016 for models considered as successors of previous cars. [source: Reuters]