French carmaker Renault has confirmed yesterday that the government fraud investigators have checked the company’s sites to look into its vehicle emissions technology, news that drew a massive drop in its market value.
It is at least unlikely that Volkswagen is the only carmaker in the world that cheated on the emissions tests, but definitely it is the only one being caught so far. The latest news adds extra fuel on an already big fire of diesel emissions, as government fraud investigators have inspected three of Renault’s sites to look if the French carmaker has used any sort of cheating devices. Following the public disclosure made by the US Environmental Protection Agency on the existence of a defeat device software used by Volkswagen, an independent technical commission was created by the French government to verify whether local car manufacturers have not installed equivalent devices in their cars.
In this regard, the authorities are currently testing 100 vehicles in circulation, including 25 Renaults. By the end of last month, 11 cars have already been fully tested, including 4 Renaults. The company said investigations to date have found “no evidence of a defeat device equipping Renault vehicles.” The government officials went to check the automaker’s headquarter, the Renault Technical Centre in Lardy and at the Technocentre in Guyancourt.
Daimler has already pointed out that diesel engines supplied by the French carmaker Renault for its Mercedes-Benz brand do not contain defeat devices used to cheat on emissions tests. Peugeot also has released a statement saying the emission tests carried out by the government on its cars showed no anomalies and that it has not been subject to searches by fraud investigators.
Renault shares fell as much as 22 percent after union officials first said the sites have been searched, prompting the company to issue a statement confirming the inspections. The French company saw some 5 billion euros wiped from its market capitalization in the worst day since its shares were first listed in 1994, according to Reuters data. Later that day, France’s Energy minister Segolene Royal said tests conducted on Renault cars had not shown any presence of fraudulent emissions concealing software. “There is no fraud at Renault. Shareholders and employees should be reassured,” Royal stated. The minister added that presence of C02 and NOx above accepted limits had however been detected in cars of other manufacturers.