EU largely backs France in German Mercedes row

July 16, 2013
The new Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG is introduced at the New York International Auto show March 27, 2013 in New York. EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani gave France some succour and Germany's Daimler cause for concern Tuesday in a row over new cars that Brussels fears were produced in breach of EU rules.

EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani gave France some succour and Germany's Daimler cause for concern Tuesday in a row over new cars that Brussels fears were produced in breach of EU rules.

The German automaker has yet to apply European Union standards imposed in January limiting air conditioning to a type deemed by the industry more environment-friendly.

As a result, France has blocked the sale of certain A, B and CLA-class models, in contravention of separate EU rules governing the free movement of goods across the single market of 28 states and half a billion consumers.

But ahead of potentially heated Brussels talks on Wednesday among national experts, Tajani said that a "preliminary" European Commission analysis had ruled that France was entitled to block for sale cars that do not conform.

"Currently, in the European market, there are vehicles produced by this manufacturer [Daimler] that, according to the preliminary Commission analysis, are not in conformity with their type-approval," he said.

"Non-conform vehicles cannot be sold or registered in the European Union," he underlined.

Since January 1, EU norms demand that use a called R1234yf.

But Daimler is sticking to an older coolant, called R134a, as it claims studies have shown that the new gas catches fire more easily and puts cars at a greater risk of explosion in case of a crash.

The makers of R1234yf reject Daimler's claims. But in Germany, the auto giant was given special permission to keep using the older gas, despite initial approval by the German Automakers Association, VDA, of which Daimler is a member.

Germany has until August 20 to answer queries from the European Commission, Brussels having another 10 weeks thereafter to decide whether to launch formal legal action.

Daimler argued that some of the cars blocked in France were made during a grace period, a point Wednesday's talks will attempt to resolve.

Explore further: Big German cars favoured in new EU car emission rules

Related Stories

EU raps Daimler over new coolant rules

January 11, 2013

The EU cautioned German auto giant Daimler Friday it must upgrade the air conditioning coolant used in its new models to meet greenhouse gas emission targets if they are to be cleared for sale.

EU takes Germany to task over new auto coolant rules

June 13, 2013

The European Commission has taken a first step to ensure Germany's giant auto industry switches to a new air conditioning coolant deemed to be more environment friendly, a senior official said on Thursday.

New EU cars will dial for help in case of a crash

June 13, 2013

The EU wants all new passenger cars fitted out by October 2015 with a life-saving automatic dial-up system so emergency workers can speed to the site of a crash as swiftly as possible.

France bans sale of latest Mercedes cars

July 9, 2013

The latest models of Mercedes cars cannot be sold in France as they still use an air conditioning refrigerant the EU says emits excessive greenhouse gases and should be replaced, the German auto company said on Tuesday.

EU bids to fix French-German Daimler auto row

July 15, 2013

EU experts meet on Wednesday to tackle a French-German row over a delay by auto giant Daimler in using a new air conditioning coolant deemed more environment-friendly, officials said Monday.

Recommended for you

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.