14 May, 2019

Renault could face French court over emissions

A French investigation into possible emissions test cheating by Renault has confirmed some of the carmaker’s diesel engines have higher emissions outside of test conditions.

The new report suggests that Renault affixed devices to reduce emissions during tests. Similar to Volkswagen’s ‘defeat devices’ that were discovered in the US, Renault’s vehicles emitted up to ten times the amount of pollutants outside of test conditions.

French newspaper Le Monde reported the possibility of court action being taken earlier this week, saying the probe into Renault’s emissions could contribute towards a criminal investigation that French prosecutors opened against the carmaker in 2016-17.

‘Renault vehicles are not equipped with defeat devices and are homologated in conformity with the regulations in force,’ a Renault spokesman said.

Despite Renault’s statement, ISAT (a French transport institute) confirmed that Renault’s Clio and Captur models shut down one form of emissions control outside a range of air temperatures covering official tests but not everyday use.

Other carmakers currently being investigated by French prosecutors include Volkswagen, PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Dieselgate ramifications

Though it has been years since the Dieselgate scandal broke, carmakers and prosecutors are still feeling the impact of the discovery. While French prosecutors target Renault, elsewhere fines are being dispensed left and right.

Earlier this month, Porsche was handed a €535 million fine by German prosecutors for its own part in developing ‘defeat devices’ and the scandal itself. Accepting the fine meant the carmaker accepted its role in the scandal.

However, Porsche was quick to denounce diesel, saying in a statement: ‘Porsche AG has never developed and produced diesel engines. Concluding the proceedings is another important step towards ending the diesel topic.’

Germany continues to spearhead investigations, issuing fines to both VW and BMW for their own emissions issues in February. The country’s motoring authority, the KBA, is also investigating Daimler of suspected manipulation, while all three carmakers are facing action by the EU Commission following the uncovering of a cartel on emissions systems.