Renault under investigation for cheating on diesel emissions tests

Maxine SotoJan 15, 2017

The company has denied installing emissions-cheating software in its vehicle pollution control systems.

French authorities raided Renault company premises after Volkswagen was found to have used engine software to cheat on United States diesel emissions tests.

Since Volkswagen Group's diesel vehicle emissions cheating case came in to light, the auto industry around the world has been in turmoil.

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Renault, whose biggest shareholder is the French government with a 20 percent stake, said it hasn't received any official notification about the latest developments in the investigation, which French prosecutors announced in a brief statement Friday.

The reports about Renault, Europe's third-largest automaker came shortly after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles illegally installed software on about 104,000 pickups and sport-utility vehicles that spewed harmful air pollutants while failing to disclose the technology.

Three judges have been looking into the Renault matter, a source told Reuters.

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The investigation comes one day after USA environmental regulators accused automaker Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) of installing software on 100,000 diesel-powered cars and trucks to cheat on emissions tests.

Renault shares trading in Paris dropped as much as 4% after the news broke, before recovering roughly half of the loss.

U.S. officials said Wednesday the German giant will plead guilty to three criminal charges and pay a total of $4.3 billion (4.0 billion euros) in fines to settle the emissions cheating scandal known as "Dieselgate".

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The probe is based on an initial investigation by the Economy Ministry's fraud department, which handed its findings to prosecutors in November. The company insists that its vehicles comply with French and European Union legislation and aren't equipped with software to cheat on emissions. Every regulator seems to have a bee in their bonnet about diesel emissions.

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