* Governments agree to take action against German carmaker
* EU executive says steps could include registration bans
* Talks planned between Germany, France to resolve issue
BRUSSELS, July 17 More European Union countries
could join France in blocking registrations of new Daimler AG
vehicles using a banned coolant, after EU governments
agreed on Wednesday to take action against the German carmaker.
France has halted registrations of Mercedes A-Class, B-Class
and SL cars assembled after June because of Daimler's refusal to
stop using the refrigerant R134a, which was banned throughout
the bloc from the start of this year.
The European Commission said on Tuesday that some Daimler
models were being sold in breach of EU rules, and according to
its preliminary assessment the French ban could be justified.
At a technical-level meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to
discuss the issue, national officials from the 28 member states
agreed steps should be taken to bring all vehicles sold in the
EU within the rules, the Commission said.
"Member states acknowledged that, regarding the vehicles
which do not conform with EU law, corrective measures shall be
taken to bring the vehicles into conformity including the
withdrawal of those vehicles already sold on the market, as it
has already been done by a member state," the Commission said in
a statement, referring to the French registration ban.
One EU official briefed on the meeting said the Commission
would organise further talks with the French and German
authorities in the coming weeks to try to find a solution.
The dispute centres on Germany's decision to allow Daimler
to continue using R134a - a potent global warming agent 1,000
times more powerful that carbon dioxide - after all other
European carmakers switched to a replacement made by Honeywell
International Inc and Dupont.
Daimler says the replacement, known as R1234yf, can emit
toxic hydrogen fluoride gas when it burns. Honeywell has said
there is no significant risk from the coolant, and that it is
the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly
The Commission has given the German government until Aug. 20
to explain its decision - the first step before possible EU
Based on 2012 deliveries, Daimler has said the French
registration ban could affect about 2 percent of its global
sales, or 29,000 cars.