France Declares War On Germany By Halting Mercedes Sales

In the most stunning development in Franco-German relations since Hitler's forces crossed the Maginot Line, the French government has moved to halt sales of some new Mercedes-Benz models in their country. Zut alors!

No, it's not delayed retalliation for German dickery during the Second World War. (Probably not, anyway.) It's because of refrigerant. France is following a new EU regulation that bans the use of a refrigerant called R134a, a global-warming gas which Car and Driver says is 1,400 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Mercedes asked for an extension to 2017 to implement the changeover to the new refrigerant. The German government granted this extension, but the French refuse to recognize it.

Reuters reports that in response the automaker took France to court, and administrative judges ordered the government to lift the ban, but now they refuse to do so.

This effectively bans sales of the A-Class, B-Class and CLA in France, the Wall Street Journal reports, and now it's up to the European Commission to decide the issue, which they should do by September.

It's kind of a terrible time for this to happen to Mercedes, actually. Thanks to a generally poor economy, car sales have been in the toilet all over Europe, including in France, but they seem to be picking up as of late. BMW sales in France were up 8.8 percent in July, but thanks to the ban, Mercedes sales slid down 6.8 percent. Sacre bleu!

Graphic credit Jason Torchinsky