French investigators at the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs, and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) have been trying to figure out whether Renault misstated the performance of its diesel engines for getting the mills through environmental certification. On March 15, the French newspaper Libération offered its readers an insider look at the inquiry when it published details from a 39-page document about the investigation.

"The company used a strategy aimed at distorting the results of anti-pollution tests,” the DGCCRF claimed. A judicial inquiry is now underway.

According to the DGCCRF report, testing showed significant discrepancies between the results for Renault models in the lab and on the road. For example, the evaluations found a Captur exceeded carbon dioxide emissions rules by 377 percent, and the Clio VI was 305 percent over the limit.

“These results make it possible to suspect a fraudulent device that specifically modifies the operation of the engine to reduce emissions of NOx", the DGCCRF noted.

2017 Renault Captur facelift
2017 Renault Clio Paris Motor Show

Internal emails obtained by investigators in January also indicated that Renault’s executives knew this alleged cheating was happening.

France’s environmental and public health regulator has opened its own investigation into the problem. Renault’s emissions scandal could affect nearly 900,000 vehicles, according to Libération, and the automaker could face a fine as high as 3.5 billion euros.

In a statement, Renault reported that it didn’t have access to the DGCCRF report cited by Libération, and therefore the company “cannot confirm the veracity, completeness, and reliability of the information published in said article.” The automaker defended itself by promising its “vehicles are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems.”

Renault has been fighting allegations of emissions irregularities since an independent test at the University of Bern showed the Espace emitted 25 times more NOx than allowed by Euro VI regulations. French investigators raided the company’s offices in January 2016, but they found no evidence of defeat devices. Prosecutors continued digging into the case, though.

Source : Libération, Renault

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Groupe Renault: press release
March 15, 2017 | ID: 88586
Groupe Renault has acknowledged the publication of an unbalanced national newspaper article related to the "emission" case. This article alleges to quote selected excerpts from a report drafted by the DGCCRF.
Groupe Renault will not comment on a current investigation, the latter being confidential by nature and Renault having as yet no access to the case. As a consequence, Renault cannot confirm the veracity, completeness and reliability of the information published in said article. Renault will prove its compliance with the regulations and reserves its explanations for the Judges in charge of investigating this case.
Groupe Renault reminds that none of its services has breached European or national regulations related to vehicle homologations. Renault vehicles are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems.
Groupe Renault, as it has always done, will fully cooperate with the Judges in the context of an investigation which raises, between the European authorities and the Member States, issues of interpretation of the standards governing the conditions of vehicle homologations.