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Renault Offices Searched in Emissions Fraud Probe

14 Janvier 2016 - Automotive News

Renault Offices Searched in Emissions Fraud Probe

Renault today said that fraud investigators were looking at the way it uses exhaust emissions technology. The statement came after a union official revealed that the company's offices were searched last week by fraud investigators.

Renault said investigations to date had found "no evidence of a defeat device equipping Renault vehicles." Renault is "cooperating fully" with the investigation, the company said in a statement today.

Agents from the Economy Ministry’s fraud office visited three Renault sites last week, the company said, confirming earlier reports.

Fraud investigators visited the automaker's headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris and sites that work on standards testing and engine certification, including the company's technical center in Lardy, reports said.

"Management has not confirmed that it is about NOx emissions, but given the sectors that were inspected we think that it could be linked," CGT union official Florent Grimaldi said.

Investigators seized computers from the automaker, he said.

Automakers have been under renewed scrutiny since September, when U.S. regulators said Volkswagen cheated to make its diesel cars appear cleaner burning that they are.

French authorities started a probe in September into whether VW deceived customers about the emissions levels of its diesel cars and promised to expand the probe to cover all carmakers, including Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.

Separately, the country’s environmental regulator began randomly testing vehicles to check differences between emissions results found in laboratory testing and real-world figures.

Diesel engines are crucial for the French automakers Renault and PSA -- at the time the VW scandal broke, the technology accounted for at least 60 percent of their European sales.

PSA today said emission tests carried out by the Energy Ministry on its cars showed no anomalies and that it had not been subject to searches by fraud investigators. "The test results carried out by the technical committee of Energy Minister) Madame Royal were passed on to us and the showed an absence of anomalies," a PSA statement said.

PSA said in October it never used software to turn on emissions controls only while being tested, as Volkswagen admitted to doing.

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