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France sticks to its guns as air conditioning war with Daimler heads to the courts

France has refused to resume registering of Daimler cars that don’t comply with the MAC Directive, despite administrative court ordering a review

The French environment ministry has confirmed that registrations of noncompliant Mercedes models “will remain forbidden in France as long as the company does not to conform to European regulations”, the government body told Reuters. The decision has been backed by the French government whcih said it will take formal steps to block the registrations.

France has halted sales of Mercedes cars assembled since June 12th, following Daimler’s refusal to stop using R134a, a refrigerant proscribed by the MAC Directive for new models. The blocked models account for most of the brand’s French business and 2 per cent of global deliveries. Court documents say that 4,500 cars have been blocked, including cars that have been sold.

An French administrative court had ordered the environment ministry on Thursday to re-examine the case after Daimler argued that the sales freeze had not followed the correct EU “safeguard” procedures, because it hadn’t informed the manufacturer or the Commission of its move. The court gave the ministry 10 days to ‘reassess its decision, rejecting Daimler’s plea to enforce an immediate resumption of registrations.

Daimler reacted angrily to the announcement, branding it “absolutely incomprehensible” and vowing further legal action.

“This argument isn’t logical to us and can’t be applied in the present case. In Europe, nearly all existing and new vehicles are equipped with the tried-and-tested safe cooling fluid R134a, and will remain so until the end of 2016. We will now initiate the required legal steps,” a Daimler spokesman told Wall Street Journal.

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