With the agreement between Volkswagen and its ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn, on June 7, 2021, concerning the payment of 11 million euros following the DieselGate affair, the cheating on polluting emissions was thought to be a closed chapter of the history of the automotive industry. Far from it: it is Renault’s turn to enter the dock.
Renault would have cheated in emissions tests
The case is the same, it’s just the company that changes: Tuesday June 8, 2021, the French group Renault has announced that it has been indicted for a suspected cheating on polluting emissions from its Diesel engines. Millions of cars would be affected.
An investigation was opened in France in 2017, following the DieselGate scandal that hit Volkswagen. The German company, to which the scandal has cost more than $ 30 billion in fines and compensation and which has not yet finished with justice, admitted, finally, to have installed faking software on its engines: it made it possible to reduce the polluting emissions of diesel engines as soon as an approval test was carried out.
At Renault, as early as 2016 a difference of more than 300% had been identified by investigators from the DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud) between the emissions recorded during homologation tests and the actual emissions on the road. But Renault denies outright and declares that ” its vehicles are not equipped with pollution control device fraud software “.
DieselGate: other indictments to come?
The case will potentially end before judges, but is more complex than that of Volkswagen: Renault considers that the limitation of emissions is related to the design of the engines themselves and was not an attempt of fraud, which however appears contradict the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) for whom a device that would limit emissions cannot comply with the law even if its use is justified for other reasons.
Renault must nevertheless prepare for the worst: the group said it has an obligation to post a deposit of 20 million euros and to give a guarantee of 60 million euros to pay possible fines, damages and injured consumers. A blow in the aftermath of a terrible year for the group: 2020 ended with a loss of more than 8 billion euros for the manufacturer at Losange.
As for the DieselGate, it should still be talked about for some time, 6 years after the outbreak of the scandal: PSA Peugeot-Citroën and FCA Fiat-Chrysler are also suspected of cheating. However, the two groups merged to give birth to Stellantis in early 2021.