French Authorities Investigate Renault Emissions, Stock Plummets
15 Janvier 2016 - Autoblog
Renault's stock plunged as much as 22 percent on January 14 to wipe out $5.4 billion in value over fears of the French automaker's potential involvement in an emissions scandal like Volkswagen Group.
The shares eventually rebounded slightly to close down 10 percent after the automaker and a French government minster clarified there was no evidence of defeat devices, Reuters reported.
In the wake of VW's scandal, the French government checked for emissions defeat devices on 100 vehicles, including 25 from Renault. According to the automaker's statement, environmental officials visited its headquarters and two tech centers "to carry out additional on-site and material investigations in order to definitively confirm the first findings resulting from the analysis of the independent technical commission." When word of these searches went public, investors started selling in case of another scandal.
French energy minister Segolene Royal told Reuters there was no sign of a defeat device in Renault models and "shareholders and employees should be reassured." She said government officials also searched other automakers – without naming them.
Renault could still face a problem from the French investigation because early tests found excessive emissions in some of its vehicles, according to Reuters. The company intends to meet with officials soon to work out a solution. Earning the reputation of a polluter could be a black eye for the French automaker's green image, especially after previous allegations from Germany about high emissions found in the Renault Espace.