Renault emissions inquiry implicates entire management team

French carmaker finds itself at centre of global diesel emissions scandal

Renault has rejected claims made in a report obtained by French newspaper Liberation that reportedly indicates some Renault vehicles, Renault Captur and Clio IV, exceeded the legal emission limits more than 300 per cent in real-life tests. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

Renault has rejected claims made in a report obtained by French newspaper Liberation that reportedly indicates some Renault vehicles, Renault Captur and Clio IV, exceeded the legal emission limits more than 300 per cent in real-life tests. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

 

Renault has been dragged fully into the global diesel emissions scandal with reports on Wednesday from France that the entire senior management of the carmaker has been implicated by prosecutors.

According to Agence France Presse, “The entire chain of management” of Renault, right up to chief executive Carlos Ghosn, are to be investigated for suspected fraud.

Renault’s offices were raided by French police last year as part of an investigation into emissions cheating in the wake of the Volkswagen Group scandal.

Investigators suspect that development of software which allows an engine to cheat on its emissions tests dates back potentially as far as 1990, with the Clio which was launched that year being one of the earliest cars implicated in the scandal.

Last year, Renault recalled about 15,000 cars across Europe for excessive emissions, but has consistently denied any wrongdoing, or any deliberate attempt to defraud regulators or customers.

Judicial investigation

Earlier this year, Renault released a statement which said that it acknowledged “the opening of judicial investigations on the ground of deceit on essential qualities and inspections conducted, these facts having led to the products being dangerous for the health of humans or animals”.

The carmaker denied any breaking of the rules, saying that “Renault complies with French and European regulations, Renault vehicles are all and have always been homologated in accordance with the laws and regulations. They are compliant with the applicable standards and are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems”.

The French economy ministry has accused two current models, the Captur and the Clio IV, of having real-world emissions that are 300 per cent worse than their stated limits.

Any finding of fault could have wide-ranging implications, as Renault shares its diesel engines with other companies within the same group, such as Nissan and Dacia, and also in a technology sharing agreement with Mercedes-Benz.