France’s ban on the registration of Mercedes vehicles has infuriated Daimler and forced Brussels to try to solve the growing dispute.
Beginning with last month France has banned the registration of thousands of new Mercedes vehicles which have the air conditioning refrigerant which has been banned in Europe since the beginning of the year. The dispute escalated last week when the government mentioned the EU “safeguard procedure”.
“The registration of Daimler/Mercedes vehicles classes A, B, CLA and SL remain banned in France as long as the company does not conform to active European regulation,” the environment ministry said.
Daimler considers that France’s decision to ban the vehicles was “absolutely inexplicable” and said that it would take legal action to solve this issue. Brussels officials said that they will consult with Paris and Berlin officials on this problem and bring Daimler and the French government together in September in an attempt to find a solution.
The R134a air-conditioning coolant use by Mercedes has been banned from January in the EU as it is a highly potent global warming gas. German automobile authority KBA has allowed the automaker to continue using the coolant until 2017. Jean-Claude Bernard, head of the Association of Mercedes-Benz dealers in France, says that this move is in fact politically motivated and it is only aimed to “to please the greens and damage a German manufacturer”.
“This coolant is used in 95 per cent of cars in France with air conditioning. If it is so dangerous they should take them all off the road,” he said.
He added that so far 5,000 vehicles have been affected, orders dropped 20% and that the models involved accounted for almost 30,000 vehicle sales annually.