* Mercedes models ready since June 12 affected
* Daimler says has no explanation for why registration
* EU source says France acted because of banned coolant
STUTTGART, July 5 France has blocked the
registration of some new Daimler Mercedes cars which
an EU source said was because of a controversial air
French authorities have refused to register Mercedes
A-Class, B-Class and SL cars assembled since June 12, even
though German authorities have approved them, a Daimler
Usually the approval in France follows on automatically from
the German approval.
"We have no explanation for why the registration in France
was not yet accepted," the spokesman said.
An EU official familiar with the matter said that France had
blocked the registration because the cars contained a coolant
that was not permitted in the European Union.
The person added that the French transport ministry had
informed the Commission about their plans this week and that the
Commission would discuss the matter at their next automotive
meeting in mid July.
French government officials did not immediately return calls
Daimler said in September that 1234yf, the only air
conditioning coolant on the market that conforms to a new
European Union directive on greenhouse gases, could be the
primary source for a vehicle fire.
It and rival Volkswagen are both developing
expensive carbon dioxide-based air conditioning systems in order
to avoid what they say is a fire hazard posed by Honeywell
and DuPont's new refrigerant HFO-1234yf, which
emits poisonous hydrogen fluoride gas when it burns.
Daimler is violating the EU directive by continuing
exclusively to use the non-flammable R134a. The German
authorities agreed to extend a permit already granted before to
predecessor models to the new models.
General Motor's European unit Opel began installing
1234yf-based systems in its Mokka model at the start of the
Opel said it had found no evidence in a crash test on its
new Mokka SUV that the air conditioning refrigerant could catch
fire in a collision and release toxic fumes.