Daimler Loses A Round With EU Over R134a Refrigerant, Full EU Commission Meets

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
daimler loses a round with eu over r134a refrigerant full eu commission meets

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.

“Currently in the European market there are vehicles produced by this manufacturer that, according to the preliminary Commission analysis, are not in conformity with their type-approval,” EU vice president for trade Antonio Tajani said in a prepared statement on Tuesday. Daimler insists that since the cars were approved by Germany’s Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Motor Transport Authority), known as KBA, they are legal to sell in France and the rest of the EU. “Our cars have a valid, European-wide permit. Nothing should stand in the way of their being registered.”

So far the cars that are affected are the Mercedes A class, B class and the new CLA. The company said that the regulatory blockade could affect about 2% of its global sales, about 29,000 cars. Audi and Volkswagen have also objected to the refrigerant change.

The issue is serious enough that a meeting was scheduled for today (July 17, 2013) with all 28 Member States of the EU sending representatives. A spokeswoman for Tajani told just-auto from Brussels. “Tomorrow afternoon, we are probably going to send a release on the position of the European Commission.”

Join the conversation
4 of 29 comments
  • Wmba Wmba on Jul 18, 2013

    Type approval chaos. Under the so-called type regulations, if a vehicle is type-approved in one country, it is legal for sale in all other counries signatory to the plan. As I have opined before, and obviously others agree, Daimler cannot have commercial reasons for objecting to this new refrigerant. For them, the easy way out is to simply use the stuff and let it all play out. The SAE has now had two taskforces saying the stuff is really not a problem, and dismisses Daimler's fears. Who is right? The sit back and enjoy popcorn scenario envisages a time in the future, after an EU/USA trade accord is signed that France will object to some US rule or regulation which some EU commissioner will uphold, based on "preliminary" investigation, e.g. forgetting about what I mention in my first sentence above, and then the fun will begin, especially since 80% of the population, including 80% of the Senate will have forgotten about the pact. Freedom fries will once again proliferate. Unlikely? Don't bet on it.

  • 84Cressida 84Cressida on Jul 18, 2013

    Nothing will ever top R12. R134a was touted as environmentally friendly and now it's harmful to the environment, blah blah blah. I guess I should stock pile R134a now like people used to with R12.

    • See 1 previous
    • 84Cressida 84Cressida on Jul 19, 2013

      @Hummer I'm sure someone out there has tried. Theoretically it should be doable, you'd have to find R12 fittings to go over R134a ones, and they strangely do exist. Whether the EPA approves, I don't know. You'd also have to flush the PAG oil and use Mineral or Ester oil and then charge the system. It might be difficult determining the right amount to put in since R12 has larger molecules, but it also has lower head pressures so I would imagine would cool better. The EPA test is a comical joke. Open book, $15 dollars, and mostly common sense knowledge. On eBay you don't even need the certificate with most sellers, most auctions stipulate that if you email the seller saying you will resell this to a licensed professional they'll you R12 right then and there. I've seriously considered buying a few cans. My grandpa has a 12 oz can in his garage from 20 years ago.

  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
  • Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged
  • Albert Also owned a 1959 Continental Mark IV coupe for 20 years and loved every minute!
  • ToolGuy You coulda said "Jeep Tomahawks Cherokee" -- just sayin.