Daimler to dispute French sales ban in top court: paper

PARIS Fri Aug 2, 2013 2:31am EDT

A company logo is seen on a wheel in front of Mercedes-Benz A-class cars displayed in a dealership of German car manufacturer Daimler in Paris, July 30, 2013.

A company logo is seen on a wheel in front of Mercedes-Benz A-class cars displayed in a dealership of German car manufacturer Daimler in Paris, July 30, 2013.

PARIS (Reuters) - Daimler (DAIGn.DE) will dispute France's decision to ban several Mercedes models in France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, financial daily Les Echos reported.

France has halted sales of the Mercedes cars assembled since June 12 because of Daimler's refusal to stop using the air-conditioning coolant R134a, banned by the European Union from new vehicles since the start of the year.

The blocked models account for most of the brand's French business and 2 percent of global deliveries.

On July 25, a French administrative court lifted the ban, but the next day the government vowed to maintain it.

The Council of State (Conseil d'Etat) rules on the correct application of legislation by the state and hears complaints against public authorities.

It sometimes overrules government measures - on Thursday it rejected a ban on genetically modified corn, and in January it annulled government-imposed limits on gas price increases.

Les Echos gave no source for its report. It said no date had been set for a hearing on the Mercedes case but that it could take place within two weeks, given the urgency of the case.

No one at the court or at Daimler France was immediately available to comment.

France's sales freeze has so far prevented the delivery of 4,518 vehicles, 2,704 of which have already been sold to waiting customers, Daimler said in a legal filing this month.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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