When we last reported on France banning some Mercedes-Benz vehicles because the company refuses to use the now mandated R1234yf refrigerant, representatives from all 28 EU member states were scheduled to meet with the EU’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles to discuss the matter, particularly as it regards the sale of M-B vehicles in the 27 other EU countries besides France. That meeting has since taken place and according to a memo issued by the European Commission, those representatives have confirmed that all new vehicles sold throughout the EU must use R1234yf, and that any vehicles with the now banned R134a must be withdrawn from the market in all EU states. The dispute is over the fire safety of the new refrigerant. R134a was banned because it is considered a greenhouse gas.
The EU’s statement from its Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles seems to criticize Germany’s Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Motor Transport Authority), upon whose certification of Mercedes-Benz A-class, B-class and SL cars built since June, Daimler has been relying to sell the cars in Europe outside of Germany. “National authorities” and the manufacturers they regulate were told they must find “effective solutions to ensure the safety of European citizens” and the goals of climate objectives and a fair, competitive market (emphasis added).
Since the statement from the EU tells member states that “corrective measures shall be taken to bring the vehicles in conformity including the withdrawal of those non-conforming vehicles already sold on the market, as has already been done by a Member State,” Mercedes-Benz can probably expect sales of those cars to be blocked across the continent.
Full EU Commission Memo below:
Brussels, 17 July 2013
The Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles supports the European Commission approach to the MAC affair
The Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles met today in a very constructive and positive atmosphere. The European Commission and the competent authorities of the 28 Member States discussed the current situation regarding the implementation of Directive 2006/40/EC on mobile air conditioning (MAC Directive).
There was a general consensus that, within their respective responsibilities, the national authorities and the vehicle manufacturers will have to find effective solutions to ensure the safety of European citizens, the achievement of the climate objectives of the Directive, and the good functioning of and fair competition in the internal market, in full respect of the requirements of the EU legal framework.
Member Stats acknowledged that, regarding the vehicles which do not conform to EU law, corrective measures shall be taken to bring the vehicles in conformity including the withdrawal of those non-conforming vehicles already sold on the market, as has already been done by a Member State.
The European Commission is committed to continue discussions with Member States in the coming weeks with a view to finding appropriate solutions.