Daimler says France is blocking Mercedes registrations over new refrigerant

Daimler says France is blocking Mercedes registrations over new refrigerant

France has blocked the registration of some new Mercedes-Benz vehicles due a controversial air-conditioning refrigerant, a European Union source said.

The EU official said that France had blocked the registration because the cars contained the R134a refrigerant that was not permitted in the European Union.

French authorities have refused to register Mercedes A class, B class and CLA cars, even though German authorities have approved them, a Daimler spokesman disclosed.

”We don’t have a clear picture yet about the situation in France and the reasons behind the current situation,” the spokesman said, adding that Daimler was ”in discussions with all the relevant institutions to rapidly resolve the situation.”

Usually the approval in France and other European markets follows on automatically from the German approval.

Daimler is in breach of an EU directive for continuing exclusively to use the non-flammable R134a. The German authorities agreed to extend a permit already granted before to predecessor models to the new models.

French government officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Daimler, VW develop alternatives

Daimler said in September that HFO-1234yf, the only air conditioning refrigerant on the market that conforms to a new European Union directive on greenhouse gases, could be the primary source for a vehicle fire.

It and rival Volkswagen are both developing expensive carbon dioxide-based air conditioning systems in order to avoid what they say is a fire hazard posed by HFO-1234yf. The refrigerant, which is made by Honeywell and DuPont, emits poisonous hydrogen fluoride gas when it burns.

General Motors’ European unit Opel began installing 1234yf-based systems in its Mokka subcompact crossover at the start of the year.

Opel said it had found no evidence in a crash test on the Mokka that the air-conditioning refrigerant could catch fire in a collision and release toxic fumes.