August 23, 2013 / 10:26 AM / 5 years ago

French court delays Daimler sales ban decision to Tuesday

A emergency exit sign is pictured above a logo of German car manufacturer Daimler AG, before the annual news conference in Stuttgart in this February 18, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s top administrative court said it would delay until Tuesday a decision on Daimler’s (DAIGn.DE) request for an injunction lifting a ban on the sale of certain Mercedes Benz cars in France.

France has held up the sale of thousands of new Mercedes Benz cars because of a spat over Daimler’s failure to switch to a new, more environmentally friendly coolant fluid. Daimler has argued that the new refrigerant, known as R1234yf, poses a potential fire hazard.

“The stakes are big,” Jacques-Henri Stahl, president of the tribunal judging the case at the Council of State, told lawyers for France and the German company during a two hour hearing on Friday. “We’re at the heart of overlapping national and European issues.”

A lawyer for Daimler, Denis Garreau, said the ban affected 60 percent of the company’s sales in France.

“No other (EU) member state has taken the measures that France has taken,” he said, calling it a “brutal decision” to suspend sales. “Daimler’s position has been jeopardized in France.”

France has argued that the ban is legally permissible under an EU law that protects the environment and public health.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Writing by Christian Plumb; Editing by Catherine Bremer

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