By on January 14, 2016



Agents from France’s Economy Ministry’s fraud office last week raided the headquarters of automaker Renault, as well as other sites in Guyancourt and Lardy, as part of a probe into heavily polluting diesel vehicles in the European country. Specifically, the agents were said to be looking into “possible engine-rigging to dodge pollution controls,” reported RFI.

Renault stated that investigators found “no evidence of a defeat device equipping Renault vehicles,” Reuters reported.

Renault is now the second automaker to be investigated on a deeper level after Volkswagen admitted to falsifying CO2 emissions data in Europe and implementing a “defeat device” in diesel vehicles worldwide.

The General Confederation of Labour, which represents employees of Renault, distributed a leaflet stating the raids were linked to a diesel-emission investigation. On Thursday, Renault acknowledged the raids at three separate sites by agents from the fraud office.

Shares of Renault SA opened Thursday morning at $92.58, then tumbled and came back. By the middle of the day, shares had sunk to $73.15, before rebounding to $84.52 at 15:45 GMT (down 10.14 percent from morning open) after the automaker stated investigators had found no evidence of a “defeat device.”

Renault released the following statement:

Following public disclosure by the EPA – US Environmental Protection Agency – of the existence of a Defeat Device software used by a leading car manufacturer, an independent technical commission was created by the French Government.

The purpose of this independent technical commission is to verify that French car manufacturers have not installed equivalent devices in their vehicles.

In this regard, the UTAC (French Homologation Authority mandated by the Ministry) is currently testing 100 vehicles in circulation, including 25 Renault vehicles reflecting Renault’s market share in France. At the end of December 2015, 11 vehicles had already been tested, including 4 Renault vehicles enabling the French public authorities to initiate productive discussions with Renault’s engineering team.

The French Agency for Energy and Climate (DGEC), which is, on behalf of the Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, the main contact for the independent technical commission, already considers that the on-going procedure would not reveal the presence of a defeat device on Renault’s vehicles.

This is good news for Renault.

The on-going tests open the way for improvement solutions for future and current Renault vehicles, presented in its Renault Emissions Plan which is aimed at improving the energy performance of our vehicles.

At the same time, the DGCCRF decided to carry out additional on-site and material investigations, in order to definitively confirm the first findings resulting from the analysis of the independent technical commission.

The DGCCRF went to the Headquaters, the Renault Technical Centre in Lardy and the Technocentre in Guyancourt. 

Renault’s teams are fully cooperating with the independent technical commission and the additional investigations decided by the Ministry of Economy.

Following the success of the COP21, Renault intends to accelerate its investment towards industrial solutions aiming at protecting the planet.

The Renault Group is already in the top 3 (1st in 2013, 2nd in 2014) in the improvement programs of the carbon footprint. Over the last 3 years, the Renault Group has reduced by 10% the carbon footprint of its vehicles.

A “defeat device” is at the center of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal in the U.S. Nearly 600,000 vehicles powered by the automaker’s 2- and 3-liter TDI diesel engines have been programmed to game emissions tests.

A German hacker presented at a conference last month evidence that showed Volkswagen intentionally ran its vehicles in a “normal” mode during European NEDC tests. The ECU programming would supposedly underdose AdBlue — the NOx-fighting diesel emissions fluid — during most operational scenarios. It’s that underdosing, he claimed, that’s the cause of the excessive NOx emissions in Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles.

More as it develops.

[Photo credit: By Lowdown (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

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15 Comments on “UPDATE 3: Renault Says Investigators Did Not Find ‘Defeat Device’ Evidence...”

  • avatar

    NOx particulates
    Skies growing ever darker
    Who will be the next?

  • avatar

    Monsueir Frend;;

    Sometimes when I am going to the Town Central for some shopping in a weekly appointments (we don’t have a Wall-Mart or a nice Targét ((ha ha, oh a French marking, is Renault owner of le Targé!) there will be a Renault on the street.

    And usuaully, I will look over to it and think -oh that’s one of those with a better and more equipment, eh?- called a Influences or a Modius (modius opperandis, okay whatever!). And I see how it might have luxury in the compartments… But my cousin has brought his to my place one time, it was a Megan’s I think.

    You go inside, okay look ok, and then you touch a sideboard, or a little button panel next to the am-fm sector. And hey, what is this “Life is like a box of the chocolates container.” )Forest Gump, right!) It just feels … sometimes like there is a left-over of parts all glued into place by tired workers. That is not much in the way of the Luxury First Class.

    So, my recommend if you are in the Country where there is many choice in the car, and you want to have a good car which is also a style, and also a litlte bit of the Francais. Then you could get a Dacia. It prevents the visual of pretensions, while having a style and simple qualities of good vehicles like Lada, or Yougo’s. But is also new and modernism.

    Mérci Biéns,

    Grango R.

  • avatar

    It’s kind of funny that their first response was:

    “Corporate fraud and possibly cheating shareholders, no comments. BUT WE CAN GUARANTEE WE DIDN’T CHEAT ON EMISSIONS LIKE THE DIRTY GERMANS!”

  • avatar

    Pretty fancy corporate office there!

    Does Carlos Ghosn have view of the parking lot or the dumpster area at the back?

    • 0 avatar

      That looks like a small dealership. Their corporate office looks a tad bit better.

  • avatar
    John W Clifford

    It’s a darn shame about VW and Renault/Volvo has to cover up this mess. Like others have said it is there somewhere. But you can blame a lot of these automakers. The Tier Ratings enacted by the EPA in 1994 have killed a ton of over-the-road growth in the light-duty diesel industry. With Tier IV ratings now in place for newer diesel engines expensive DPF and Exhaust Filters are now mandatory in diesel engines make the margins much harder to come by. There is an article out there ( ) about the emissions regulations and how it has impacted the diesel industry. It will be interesting how everything plays out in years to come if New Diesel Engines will still be around in production.

  • avatar

    keep in mind that this doesn’t mean they’re actually in compliance with the emissions limits (IIRC the EU test procedure is hilariously lax,) only that they didn’t deliberately circumvent the emissions controls on their cars like VW did. They may still be found to emit more than the regulations allow.

  • avatar

    “The ECU programming would supposedly underdose AdBlue — the NOx-fighting diesel emissions fluid — during most operational scenarios. It’s that underdosing, he claimed, that’s the cause of the excessive NOx emissions in Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles.”

    Except of course, VW didn’t use AdBlue/SCR on TDI Golfs and Jettas from 2009 to 2014. They used a lean NOx trap instead, which is what baffled all the other manufacturers who couldn’t get such a configuration to work, wonder why. A lean NOx trap is cheap compared to SCR, which is why VW used it and saved billions by jimmying the ECU instead.

    In North America, the 2015 Golfs and Jettas finally got AdBlue (VW didn’t bother giving Europe the same – why try to do a halfway decent job?). So I don’t get what that German hacker was trying to get at – he doesn’t seem to know his facts.

    When VW began pumping out TDI Passats in Chatanooga in 2012, they did use AdBlue/SCR. The reason given was that there was room for it in the bigger car, and they claimed better mileage for it than the Jetta. All a matter of record.

    Then came the Mk7 Golf as a 2015 model, and all of a sudden, it gets Adblue/SCR, presumably because they made space for it in the redesign and the upcoming new regs required it to pass the NOx limits for sure, at least under official test, ha,ha.

    When EPA checked the 2016 models after the researchers from Univ of West Virginia found problems with older TDI’s, the brand new 2016 Golf TDI’s sitting on a New Jersey dock were impounded and not allowed into the USA for sale. Same with Passats from Chatanooga and Jettas from Mexico.

    And that’s where it stands.

    The 2009 to 2014 Golfs and Jettas didn’t even have AdBlue to begin with. Their fix may be economically impossible. The 2015’s did have AdBlue. All they need is an ECU update to actually spray enough AdBlue, because that system, properly dosed, is about 99% effective at getting rid of NOx. Highway rigs use it – it’s worth reading webpages from Cummins, Volvo and Mercedes with regard to their giant 11 to 15 liter turbodiesel engines.

    The V6 VW engines always used Adblue. So all they need to do is implement correct dosing – an ECU update.

    In the UK Wednesday, the head of VW there managed to also get the CO2 versus NOx thing confused at a Parliamentary hearing – I think on purpose. VW is using every bulls*it tactic they can to confuse techno-dimwits like elected reps. Muller wandering around the US this week is also a liar and examplar.

    I regard VW management as corrupt. Unluckily for them, EPA and CARB are not confused by German BS.

    Say what you will about them, and all the wacko anti-government horse manure I read here from people who haven’t taken the time to understand the situation, but have opinions anyway which are of zero import, their US bureaucracy appears to be the only one actually onto the VW BS, whining and misdirection. I hope they hose those effers down until they squeak in pain, for they have shown no sign of ethics whatsoever, either to their customers or society.

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