BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has launched legal proceedings against Germany over Daimler's
The decision follows months of investigation by the Commission into the German luxury carmaker's refusal - backed by Berlin - to apply an EU law banning an air-conditioning coolant known as R134a from the start of last year.
Daimler says its refusal to phase out R134a, a global warming agent 1,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is justified by safety concerns. It still uses the refrigerant in new Mercedes A-Class, B-Class, CLA and SL cars.
"We are opening a procedure against Germany. This is not a final decision by the Commission," EU industry commissioner Antonio Tajani told reporters.
Germany now has two months to respond, the Commission said in a statement.
The only available replacement for R134a, Honeywell's
After safety tests, other European carmakers have switched their newest models to the coolant developed by Honeywell in partnership with Dupont
"Daimler says there is a safety problem with the new coolant, but we do not see that," Tajani said.
In a statement, Daimler said it still believed its use of the R134a coolant was legal.
"In order to use the transition period for the development of CO2 air conditioning systems by end 2016, we applied for approval to extend current type certificates. This was evaluated and approved by the (German) authorities," Daimler said.
The EU executive also threatened Britain, Belgium and Luxembourg with legal action, saying it suspected they had sought to circumvent the coolant rules by approving new vehicles on the basis of older technical standards.
(Reporting by Tom Koerkemeier in Brussels and Edward Taylor in Frankfurt; Writing by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Luke Baker)