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New Mercedes face ban from British roads

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Janine View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 7:07pm
The article below appeared in today’s Mail on Sunday.  I hope they sort something out soon or there will be some very disappointed people out there.


New Mercedes face ban from British roads for flouting EU rules on 'green' air-con: Germans say compulsory coolant causes cars to catch fire and explode on impact

Car maker embroiled in an extraordinary row with EU bureaucrats

It is over decision to force manufacturers to use 'green' air-con gas

By RUSSELL MYERS

PUBLISHED: 22:27, 23 March 2013 UPDATED: 12:04, 24 March 2013

 

Thousands of new Mercedes are set to be banned from sale in Britain after they were declared 'illegal' by the EU.

The German luxury car maker is embroiled in an extraordinary row with EU bureaucrats over a decision to force all car manufacturers to use a new 'green' air-conditioning gas.

Mercedes has raised fears that the new coolant causes cars to catch fire.

But any car maker refusing to install the gas faces a ban on selling cars across the Continent, the European Commission warned this week.

The DVLA and the Vehicle Certification Agency in the UK are poised to suspend any new registration of the luxury German cars if they do not conform to the regulations.

All new Mercedes A-Class hatchbacks, B-Class family cars and SL roadster models will be affected because the manufacturer has failed to agree to the law, which came into effect on January 1.

Most manufacturers have already complied with the directive. But last September Mercedes appealed to delay the implementation of the law.

Internal tests by the company allegedly showed that ten out of 14 cars using the new coolant caught fire when subjected to conditions that simulated the coolant leaking into the engine in a front-end collision.

But the Commission last week rejected the claims and warned it is not possible for new cars to be sold within the EU if they do not conform to the legislation.

Implementing the directive could result in thousands of new cars being left on dealers' forecourts, unable to be registered by the DVLA.

In an update last week, the European Commission said 'controversial' testing techniques by Mercedes were to blame for the findings and the Department for Transport in the UK would be fined if it allowed the company to sell the affected models.

It stated: 'It is not possible for motor vehicles to be registered and marketed in the EU if they are not in conformity with the relevant legislation.'

The Department for Transport said it was monitoring the situation closely, but it could cost Mercedes almost £500 million in lost sales in the UK and more across Europe.

Mercedes predicts sales of about 15,000 A-Class cars this year, which cost from £18,970. About 6,500 £21,000 B-Class models and an estimated 800 of the £72,550 SL models are also expected to be bought by Britons – but all could remain unsold if the DVLA refuses to register them for the UK market.

Older models will be unaffected but from 2017 every vehicle released into the European car market must be installed with the new coolant.

Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, claims its tests show the new air-con chemical is 'highly flammable', poisonous and poses a danger to occupants and rescue services.

The European Commission is now involved in 11th hour talks with Mercedes. Volkswagen, which owns the Audi, Porsche and Skoda brands, has also refused to install the new coolant.

However, the fellow German manufacturer has insisted its engineers have designed a new coolant using carbon dioxide which adheres to the European environmental guidelines and is in advanced talks to use the new variant.

Mercedes claims it has instructed its engineers to design a similar chemical but the Commission denies knowledge of the plans. Critics have accused Mercedes of putting costs ahead  of global climate concerns because the new coolant is more expensive.

Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies, who helped to draft the new law, said: 'This amounts to a declaration of war on Daimler. It is widely believed Daimler is trying to avoid paying extra costs of about £20 per vehicle.

'The Commission's briefing makes clear that new models using the old refrigerant should not be sold.'

Mercedes was last month confirmed as the leading premium brand in the UK. It registered 3,329 new cars in February – up 13.5 per cent on last year.

Professor Thomas Weber, from Daimler, claimed the  company was in the process of producing a new coolant using carbon dioxide which would be approved by the European Commission.

He said: 'Daimler has examined all possible options very closely over recent months and worked with the other manufacturers within the VDA (German Association of the Automotive Industry) to find a solution that is acceptable to all.

'These efforts have shown clearly that CO2, is by far the most promising solution, as it is environmentally acceptable and safe. We have given our engineers the clear commission to develop the CO2 air-conditioning system.'

A Department for Transport spokesman said: 'The safety of all road users is paramount. However, we have seen no evidence that the air-conditioning fluid in this case poses any risk in appropriately designed vehicles. We continue to monitor this issue and the European Commission is leading a review to ensure a consistent approach for all vehicle manufacturers and purchasers.'

The European Commission said it would not take action against anyone who has bought one of the affected Mercedes models since January 1. But a spokesman said it would continue to appeal to countries to enforce the legislation and ban future registration of all new vehicles that do not contain the new coolant gas.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2298132/New-Mercedes-face-ban-British-roads-flouting-EU-rules-green-air-con.html#ixzz2OU6wC267 
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mon2s View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mon2s Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 7:19pm
Thanks for posting this janine.  I had no idea (and thought it was an early April fool !)
 
On a selfish note, it will mean our A Class' remain a rare sight on UK roads! Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JhRocks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 7:42pm
I had seen this earlier today and have my fingers crossed that I get my car in the next day or two.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Mbznut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 7:54pm
Thought the post was going to read ' a class faces ban because it's so good looking other cars feel inadequate'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anzz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 9:01pm
What!!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimBatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 9:25pm
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lynne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 9:39pm
I cannot believe this! Surely MB will sort it out? If it's true!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jamiednm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 9:46pm

I cant see the German-dominated EU penalising Mercedes to the tune of £500m in lost revenue over this, especially when every European country needs as much money as it can get.

VW/Audi have also expressed their unease with this gas. It really smacks of typical EU corruption, ignoring safety fears so certain MEPs can get their kickbacks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aguycalleddb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 10:04pm
I read that this morning, can't see anything happening tbh. It's just more red tape from the eu.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Janine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2013 at 10:13pm
It wouldn't be the first time that this country enforces an EU directive that the rest of Europe just ignores.
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