The legal struggle has heated up between Daimler and the European Commission over the automaker’s continued use of R134a air conditioning refrigerant, which has been banned by the EU, in some of its models. ”We are opening a procedure against Germany. This is not a final decision by the Commission,” EU industry commissioner Antonio Tajani said.
Germany has two months to respond. The procedure for adjudicating the violation of EU rules is a multi-step process which normally takes months. The German government is backing Mercedes-Benz and the dispute could ultimately end up in the European Court of Justice, with the possibility of heavy fines and the recall of about 130,000 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B class, CLA and SL cars. (Read More…)
Aston Martin’s current engines are assembled at a Ford facility near Cologne, Germany.
In a non-cash deal, Daimler AG will supply Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. with technology and engine development in exchange for as much as a 5% non-voting stake in the British luxury sports car maker. The AMG performance division at Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop engines with Aston Martin for AM’s next generation models. Daimler also will get a non-voting observer on Aston Martin’s board of directors. Aston Martin currently buys engines from Ford Motor Company, an artifact of the time when Ford owned AM. The Aston Martin V12 is based on the Ford Duratec V6 and Aston’s V8 engine is based on the Jaguar V8, funded by Ford when it owned that luxury marque as well.
“This agreement is a real win-win for both sides,” Tobias Moers, head of Mercedes-AMG, said in a statement cited by Bloomberg. (Read More…)
Nissan. Cadillac. Chevrolet. All brag about being the Lord of the ‘Ring, upsetting the German automakers to no end. Yet, one of them may still have the last laugh through the act of saving the Nürburgring from certain doom.
Body line at Nissan’s Aguascalientes, Mexico assembly plant
Reuters is reporting that his sources tell him that Daimler will join Nissan in building cars at Nissan’s $2-billion Aguascalientes plant in Mexico, which will start production in late 2014. The factory will assemble compact crossovers, the Infiniti Q30 and possibly the Mercedes-Benz GLA, which will share engines and other components with the Q30.
In the continuing saga of Daimler, the EU and banned refrigerants, the German automaker won a provisional ruling from France’s highest administrative judicial body to overturn the suspension of the sale of Mercedes-Benz models equipped with R134a refrigerant in those cars’ air conditioning systems. European Union regulators have banned R134a but Daimler claims that the replacement, R1234yf, can create fire and toxicity safety issues. The French Council of State said that authorities in that country must resume registrations of those Mercedes-Benz models while the case goes on.
According to Bloomberg, the court in Paris ruled that there is “serious doubt” about the immediate environmental threat upon which the French government was basing the sales ban. (Read More…)
The regulatory and verbal war between France and Germany over Mercedes-Benz’s refusal to switch to the R1234yf air conditioning refrigerant has escalated. After a French court ordered a 10 day stay, lifting that country’s ban on R134a equpped A Class, B Class, CLA and SL cars made since June, Daimler expressed confidence that the French government would abide by that ruling. That confidence was apparently badly placed because the French government has now invoked a “safeguard procedure” of the EU that allows member countries to act unilaterally to avoid a serious risk involving the environment, public health or traffic safety, reinstituing the ban. Daimler promised that it would continue fighting to allow the sale of those cars in France. It claims that the new refrigerant is dangerously flammable and toxic. (Read More…)
Though Daimler shuttered its Maybach ultra-luxury brand, it isn’t giving up on selling cars in the $200,000+ price range. With the $470,000 Maybach, Mercedes-Benz tried to compete with ne plus ultra cars like the Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls Royce Phantom. In the ten years that the Maybach was produced, Daimler sold about 3,000 of them, about how many Phantoms Rolls-Royce sells in a year.
Two or three times a year, Jack Roush’s Roush Collection has an open house. The Collection is the private museum where Roush keeps many of the race winning cars from what is now Roush-Fenway Racing as well as cars and artifacts from his personal collection of cars, motorcycles and airplanes (the “Cat in the Hat” must have nine lives indeed because the guy has survived two plane wrecks). Since they bring in tables for merchandise and memorabilia to sell during the open house, some of the items in the museum get moved around. Up against the back wall were a bunch of engines, race and prototype, from various projects or race cars. I was admiring one of Jack’s beloved flathead Ford V8s and nearby noticed an odd looking V4, banded to a pallet, with just a tag that said “Gemini engine” and instructions to send it to the Roush museum, with a couple of names after “Attn:”. One of the names was that of a senior Roush engineer. (Read More…)
After a French court lifted that country’s ban on Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with R134a air conditioning refrigerant, saying that the French ministry for the environment must reevaluate their decision to block those cars, Daimler said that it was “very confident’ that the French government will abide by that court ruling. R134a has been banned for use in new model cars by the EU since the start of 2013.
As part of an announced technical partnership between AMG, the performance subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz and Britain’s Aston Martin, Daimler will buy up to a 5% interest in the luxury performance car maker. The agreement will give AM “significant access” to the technical resources of both AMG and its parent. Aston Martin will use those resources to develop V8 engines and have access to Mercedes Benz’s electronic architecture and components. (Read More…)
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. (Read More…)
The EU Commission has provisionally sided with France in that country’s decision to stop the sale of new Mercedes-Benz cars because of Daimler’s decision to continue to use R134a refrigerant in it’s HVAC systems. The EU has banned R134a out of concerns for global warming. The only available replacement that meets the new regulations is R1234yf, made by Honeywell, and Mercedes-Benz has insisted that their tests show that the new refrigerant is dangerously flammable and could start an underhood fire under certain conditions. The provisional ruling could be a problem for Daimler in other EU countries.
The fight over the flammable refrigerant takes a new twist. France refused to register Mercedes A-Class, B-Class and SL cars assembled since June 12, even though German authorities have approved them, a Daimler spokesman told Reuters. (Read More…)
“Struggling to match rivals’ scale and efficiency in smaller cars, as well as their success in China, Stuttgart-based Daimler has fallen further behind German peers BMW and Volkswagen,” reports Reuters. Alone by bringing outsourced SAP systems in-house, Daimler wants to save €150 million (nearly $200 million.) (Read More…)