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Italian MEP calls on Italy to ban new Daimler registrations as air conditioning dispute deepens

“There cannot be one rule for Germany and another for the rest of EU member states,” says MEP Andrea Zanoni as he calls on rest of Europe to follow suit

Italian MEP Andrea Zanoni has repeated his call for Italy to prevent sales of non-compliant Daimler models ‘because of that company’s flagrant flouting of the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive’ and called on other European states to do likewise.

He told The European Voice newspaper the introduction of a climate-friendlier refrigerant would have a huge impact: equivalent to removing some four million cars from European roads.  

“This is about creating a level playing field and ensuring respect for the rule of law.  In order to sell their cars in the EU, the global automotive industry must comply with the rule of law and move over to an alternative that must have a global-warming value of less than 150.”

He pointed out that Daimler’s concerns are based on testing that was conducted without the participation of any reputable third party and without consultation with others in the industry.

“It came just a little more than three months in advance of the MAC directive’s implementation date but at the very tail end of a ten-year process of development and testing involving all members of the automotive industry throughout.

The global car industry has tested the new refrigerant and has reported it safe.”

He accused Daimler of attempting to seek a commercial advantage. “Daimler openly refers in its 2012 annual report to the ‘negative effects on the production costs of the vehicles involved due to the required technical modifications and on the development of sales.’

If Daimler were successful in delaying the integration of low global-warming potential refrigerants to its vehicles, it could save several millions of euros over the next few years.

This is a huge and unfair competitive advantage over other European car manufacturers that have already made the necessary investments to ensure that they are fully compliant with the MAC directive and EU law.” 

He said: “There cannot be one rule for Germany and another for the rest of EU member states.”

Mr Zanoni called on Antonio Tajani, the European commissioner for industry and enterprise, to ensure the full compliance of German car manufacturers with the MAC directive.

He said: “Allowing such flagrant abuse of an important piece of EU environmental legislation will set a terrible precedent, and will ultimately weaken the Commission’s ability to ensure the respect of other EU legislation.

I trust that the German government will not present any further excuses such as the supposed flammability of the alternative low-global-warming refrigerant that the rest of the global automotive industry has adopted and considers is perfectly safe for use.”

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