Japanese automaker Toyota has decided to join German rival Daimler in boycotting a new air-conditioning coolant deemed more environment-friendly in Europe, Toyota's German unit told AFP on Friday.
Toyota will revert to an older coolant for its Prius Plus, Lexus GS and GT86 models in Europe, said a spokesman for Toyota Germany.
Since January 1, EU norms demand that car makers use refrigerants that are more environment friendly in new types of vehicle and European automakers decided to that one called R1234yf meets those standards.
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.
"Toyota regards it as the duty of individual companies within the automotive industry to ensure that vehicles meet current safety standards," Toyota Germany said in an emailed response.
"Unfortunately, there is no consensus on this issue on the European market. For this reason, we have decided, as a temporary measure, to use R134a so as to dispel any possible concerns our customers might have," it said.
Toyota had conducted internal tests with the coolant R1234yf and found "no safety concerns," it said.
The sale of vehicles with R1234yf had only begun after "complete confirmation of their safety."
Nevertheless, "it is of the highest priority for us that our customers feel safe in their vehicles. As soon as the situation has been clarified and a consensus found, we will comply with outcome," Toyota said.
The spokesman declined to say how many Toyota cars might be affected.
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