Mercedes gets French sales ban overturned image

Last year, France, Germany and Mercedes-Benz got caught in a fierce public and legal battle with the EU over the use of a refrigerant used in the car’s air conditioning systems.

Now, after last year the French government decided to enforce a EU law and forbid sales of some models from the Mercedes-Benz line-up, the automaker managed to get a positive outcome – with France’s top administrative court overturning the decision.

France’s Conseil d’Etat actually gave a final decision yesterday to its temporary injunction given to Mercedes-Benz last August, which allowed the German company to stop a two months sales ban for the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and SL models.

The scandal ensued when Daimler, the parent of Mercedes-Benz decided against fazing out the R134a refrigerant – which according to the EU is a huge pollutant, contributing to the global warming effect. The German automaker, later back by its country government refused the switch to a new one, citing internal tests that showed it becomes dangerous in certain situation. The only EU compliant replacement agent is R1234yf, manufactured by Honeywell and Dupont. The R134a agent is considered by EU law to be 1,400 times more pollutant than carbon dioxide.

According to Daimler, after identifying the safety hazards of the new refrigerant agent, the company will continue to use the old one – as it has started research and development into using by 2017 a new home-made air conditioning system that would use CO2.