France's Conseil d'Etat yesterday lifted a ban on selling Mercedes vehicles which use R134a.
The ruling was not directly regarding the issues surrounding R134a and 1234yf, but about doubt over the certification of new Mercedes vehicles still using R134a.
Under the EU 'mobile air-conditioning' directive, new vehicle types approved since 2011 must avoid using R134a. Those certified earlier have until 2017 to comply. The doubt has arisen because of the decision by Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority, the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) to re-certify the new Mercedes vehicles by extending earlier approvals granted for older models and thereby sidestepping the requirement that they switch from R134a to R1234yf.
Daimler commented: 'We are delighted that the Conseil d'Etat has confirmed our legal opinion and repealed the registration ban in France with immediate effect. We expect the French authorities to start registering our vehicles within the next 48 hours. The balance between all automotive manufacturers in Europe has thus been restored.
'EU law clearly provides for the case that, under certain conditions, vehicles may be equipped with the safe refrigerant R134a until the end of 2016. This is why well over 95% of all vehicles have been registered with it. All Mercedes-Benz products also have the corresponding type approval that is valid throughout Europe.'
The French Government has said that it will review the situation once a definitive ruling has been made by the EU.