States back EU-wide sales block in Mercedes aircon row

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L'UE recommande à Mercedes de retirer ses nouvelles Classe A et B

La calandre avant d’une Mercedes-Benz A180 de type Classe A, le 30 mai 2013 à Bombay © AFP/Archives

BRUSSELS – (AFP) – National auto experts meeting in Brussels Wednesday recommended an EU-wide block on the sale of Mercedes cars produced in breach of single-market rules.

The conclusions drawn by officials from the 28 European Union member states hit German constructor Daimler hard, after the European Commission already backed France in a row over standards limiting air conditioning coolant to a type deemed more environment-friendly.

A statement issued by the Commission said the member-state experts “acknowledged that…corrective measures shall be taken to bring the vehicles in conformity including the withdrawal of those non-conform vehicles already sold on the market, as it has already been done by a member state.”

The officials emphasised the need for “full respect” of the EU legal framework.

Daimler will now struggle to gain market access for certain A, B and CLA-class models made since the industry-agreed coolant change.

Daimler stuck to an older coolant, claiming studies showed that the new gas catches fire more easily and puts cars at a greater risk of explosion in case of a crash.

Germany has until August 20 to answer queries on safety and other aspects from the European Commission and avoid potential legal action, having won a temporary national reprieve from German authorities.

© AFP

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