French Court Backs Mercedes-Benz in R1234yf/R134a Dispute With EU

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff

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.

According to the summary ruling, the ministry has 10 days to decide if it’s going to try to continue the ban on Mercedes A-class, B-class and SL cars built after June 12, which Daimler has equipped with R134a, now banned by the EU because it is considered a powerful greenhouse gas. The ruling does not force French authorities to allow registrations of those cars during that 10 day period.

A Daimler spokesman said: “We welcome the positive decision of the French court, which clearly rejected the French registration authority (decision) to prevent the registration of our cars.”

If the ban is upheld, it would affect about 29,000 cars annually, about 2% of Mercedes-Benz’s worldwide sales.

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  • Hummer Hummer on Jul 26, 2013

    Good news for Daimler, though I'm sure in short order Honeywell will be sending bags of money to the EU.

  • Bobhaynes88 Bobhaynes88 on Jul 26, 2013

    My post was based on recent personal experience of two family cars one 3 years old a Seat and a 4 year old Ford, I asked the question of the garage why the A/C on both vehicles needed recharging with coolant so soon when Domestic refrigerators lasted up to 20 years. The garage owner(Dragon motors of weston super mare) who recharges 100's of British cars a year and is very knowlegable so I believed him, explained the difference in construction of the two compressors, domestic = sealed bearing whilst cars have bearing lubricated by refrigerant from inside which slowly leaks thru the bearing. I was gobsmacked by the lack of ethics displayed by motor manufacturers.

    • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Jul 26, 2013

      This story hurts on many levels. Suppose there is a design difference on EU cars where refrigerant is gradually leaked, it raises the following questions for me: -Is the leaky bearing so much cheaper that it is worth it for manufacturers to change the part based on the destination country? -How can the EU not be aware of it? -If the EU is aware of it, why don't they mandate a sealed bearing and be done with it? -If the EU is aware of it and they are choosing to pursue an alternate refrigerant instead of sealed bearings, is it really because of a conspiracy where Honeywell bribes their way into an EU monopoly on refrigerant? I get that shady things happen between large corporations and governments, but this seems like a stretch.

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Jul 26, 2013

    -Which manufacturers are complying and selling cars with r1234yf? -Are cars being sold with r1234yf in the US? -Isn't r1234yf more expensive? If it is, I'm surprised other manufacturers don't take a more active role in fighting the EU. -So why is Mercedes the only one putting up a serious fight? Is it a publicity stunt to stake a claim as the company that really cares about your safety? Is there some other strong financial incentive to stay with r134a that is unique to MB? I find this an interesting story just because of the number of unanswered questions it raises. Given the potential sensationalism of MB's test and a well-know manufacturer fighting the EU, I'm surprised mainstream media hasn't picked up on this. Maybe they have and I haven't run into it yet?

    • See 2 previous
    • MBella MBella on Jul 27, 2013

      @84Cressida The first few hundred 231 chassis Mercedes SLs had R-1234yf. They all have been recalled after the now famous crash test. They are being converted back to R-134a. This to me dispels the myth that Daimler is doing this to save a few pennies. All the A/C systems in the new cars are designed for R-1234yf and the extra little bit the gas costs can't possibly be close to what this legal battle is costing them.

  • Carlos Danger Carlos Danger on Jul 27, 2013

    If every AC system in every car in the EU spontaneously emitted all their refrigerant, how many cow farts would that be equivalent to?