Legal clearance given for ‘corrective measures’ theoretically enabling other countries to follow France’s lead in refusing to register new Mercedes if they use R134a refrigerant, banned under the Mobile Air Conditioning Directive
A meeting of the EU commissioners with 28 member states yesterday appeared to clear the way for other countries to follow France in refusing to register A, B and CLA Class Mercedes.
The Commission released a statement saying: “Member states acknowledged that, regarding the vehicles which do not conform with EU law, corrective measures shall be taken to bring the vehicles into conformity including the withdrawal of those vehicles already sold on the market, as it has already been done by a member state.”
Germany is backing the right of its carmakers to defy the MAC Directive because they believe that the lower GWP alternative HFO1234yf is flammable in certain conditions, whereas R134a isn’t.
One EU official briefed on the meeting told the Reuters news agency the Commission would organise further talks with the French and German authorities in the coming weeks to try to find a solution.
The Commission has given the German government until August 20 to explain its decision - after this date the EU said it ‘may’ bring infringement proceedings, which could include daily fines.
Based on 2012 deliveries, Daimler has said the French registration ban could affect about 2 per cent of its global sales, or 29,000 cars.
Paul Sanders, European manager of Honeywell Fluorine Products, the maker of HFO 1234yf said:
“We welcome the engagement of the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV) in enforcing the EU Mobile Air Conditioning Directive.The MAC Directive was passed six years ago, allowing ample time for automakers to comply.
Consistent with good regulation, the MAC Directive set a policy objective and allowed each automaker to choose the best technology for its cars.
Many automakers engineered their vehicles for HFO-1234yf because they saw it as a safe and the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution. Honeywell continues to supply its customers to enable them to comply with the MAC Directive.”