14 Jan 2016

Renault shares hit by report of emission-testing probe

Shares in French automaker Renault fall substantially, after reports that French investigators had seized computers from the firm, apparently in a probe related to emissions testing.

Shares were down by as much as 21 per cent in intraday trading, wiping one fifth off the price of the car manufacturer.

Citing the CGT union that represents workers at the automaker’s site in Lardy, France, news agency AFP reported that agents from the French Economy Ministry visited Renault sites on 7 January in relation to standards testing and engine certification.

The union indicated that this was related to emission standards following the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Renault confirmed that the investigations into its exhaust emissions technology are ongoing, but stressed that there was no evidence it was cheating emissions tests.

It said its teams are “fully cooperating with the independent technical commission and the additional investigations decided by the Ministry of Economy.”

“The French Agency for Energy and Climate (DGEC) … already considers that the on-going procedure would not reveal the presence of a defeat device on Renault’s vehicles.”

Volkswagen scandal

Volkswagen last year confessed to rigging the emissions tests of diesel powered vehicles in the United States.

So-called “defeat devices” were installed into its vehicles, which means a car could detect when it was being tested and change the performance accordingly to improve results, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

True emissions levels as much as 40 times higher than the US legal limit were being hidden.

In September, Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager of Transport & Environment told Channel 4 News: “Volkswagen’s admission of cheating is just the tip of the iceberg and there could be a lot more companies embroiled in this.

“Tens of millions of cars have been sold since 2009, and with exactly the same diesel technology being used in Europe as in the US, this could not be an isolated case.”