Renault facilities raided by French police

Share prices plunge as Renault premises raided by French Police. Renault says there is “no evidence” of cheating

Renault has confirmed a number of its facilities were raided by French police recently. The announcement has lead to a 20% drop in its share price.

Although the raids were understood to be aimed at checking equipment, Renault has said tests have shown “no evidence” of devices designed to cheat emissions tests

According to Renault, a number of its vehicles were in the process of being tested by an independent technical commission, set up by the French Government in the aftermath of the Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal.

Out of 100 vehicles from a number of car makers due to be tested, 25 were to be Renaults as a reflection of the company’s market share in France.

As of the time of the raids, which are thought to have happened last week, no defeat devices had been found in the four Renault vehicles tested thus far. However, the General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) decided further on-site and material tests would be required and were carried out at the HQ of the Renault Technical Centre in Lardy and the Technocentre in Guyancourt.

The statement read: “The DGCCRF decided 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.”

Renault insists its teams are co-operating fully with the technical commission and are doing everything that is asked of them.

It is important to point out that there is currently no evidence that any sort of ‘defeat device’ has been discovered in a Renault engine. Mercedes-Benz has insisted that the Renault diesel engines it uses in some of its vehicles do not, in any way, carry such a device.

Update

PSA Peugeot Citroen also released a statement today, confirming that all of their BlueHDi diesel engines had been investigated and found to be officially "cheat-free" by the authorities. The group was also keen to point out that none of its sites had been raided by any law-enforcement agencies.

The company has attributed this success to its early adoption of 'selective catalytic reduction' technologies, which eliminates the majority of the offendidng Nitrogen Oxides before they get to the particulate filter. this greatly reduces harmful emissions.

The group has released a further statement stating that both the Peugeot 208 supermini and the Peugeot 508 family car ahs been cleared by the independent technical commissiopn set up by the French authority.

In the statement, the company said it was "calmly and serenly" awaiting the next round of test results.

Read Renault's statement in full below:

Following public disclosure by the EPA – US Environmental Protection Agency – of the existence of a Defeat Device software used by a leading car manufacturer, an independent technical commission was created by the French Government. The purpose of this independent technical commission is to verify that French car manufacturers have not installed equivalent devices in their vehicles. In this regard, the UTAC (French Homologation Authority mandated by the Ministry) is currently testing 100 vehicles in circulation, including 25 Renault vehicles reflecting Renault's market share in France. At the end of December 2015, 11 vehicles had already been tested, including 4 Renault vehicles enabling the French public authorities to initiate productive discussions with Renault's engineering team. The French Agency for Energy and Climate (DGEC), which is, on behalf of the Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, the main contact for the independent technical commission, already considers that the on-going procedure would not reveal the presence of a defeat device on Renault's vehicles. This is good news for Renault. The on-going tests open the way for improvement solutions for future and current Renault vehicles. Presented in its Renault Emissions Plan which is aimed at improving the energy performance of our vehicles. At the same time, the DGCCRF decided 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. The DGCCRF went to the Headquarters, the Renault Technical Centre in Lardy and the Technocentre in Guyancourt. Renault's teams are fully cooperating with the independent technical commission and the additional investigations decided by the Ministry of Economy. Following the success of the COP21, Renault intends to accelerate its investment towards industrial solutions aiming at protecting the planet. The Renault Group is already in the top 3 (1st in 2013, 2nd in 2014) in the improvement programs of the carbon footprint. Over the last 3 years, the Renault Group has reduced by 10% the carbon footprint of its vehicles.

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