Renault faces criminal probe over diesel

November 11, 2016

Renault is facing a criminal investigation over its diesel emissions. French officials have passed a file to prosecutors amid concerns its engine technologies broke the law.

The French government said that the Direction Générale de la Concurrence de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) had sent prosecutors the findings of its inquiry into possible emissions test manipulation by the carmaker.

‘It is now up to the courts to determine what further action to take over the suspected breaches,’ the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Renault is the only carmaker other than Volkswagen Group to be referred for possible criminal investigation in France.

The carmaker insists that it has done nothing wrong. In a statement, it highlighted why a prosecution should not be carried out: ‘Renault complies with French and European regulations. Renault vehicles are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems.’

Although cheating software isn’t the issue, the investigation will look at whether Renault has broken any laws by producing some cars which meet legal requirements during testing, but exceed emissions limits on the road.

The company says it has already submitted a plan to fix vehicles found to be breaching emissions limits and that this was accepted by the authorities.

The decision to refer the case to prosecutors comes 10 months after Renault was visited by investigators looking into the manufacturer’s diesel engines following news of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The submission to prosecutors includes material seized during those initial raids, Reuters reports.

Prosecutors are expected to carry out their own initial inquiry before deciding whether to formally investigate the company and potentially hold a full trial.

The government said in its statement that other unnamed carmakers also remain under investigation by the DGCCRF.

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