The Strategist

FT: French government sheltered Renault from Dieselgate

08/23/2016 - 16:06

Last October, France established a special government commission to study French cars in connection with a scandal around Volkswagen Group. Today, The Financial Times referred to its members saying that Renault SA could also use a special software for hiding real level of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. At the same time, the newspaper sources, the French government deliberately concealed details of the investigation, and did not include them in a final report, published in late July.

Lu Tianyu
Lu Tianyu
Quotes of Renault SA today are almost the only ones of the CAC 40 index which are creeping down. The reason for that was publication of British edition of The Financial Times. The newspaper repoerted that Renault group, as well as Volkswagen Group, could probably use a special software to hide real level of emissions of its vehicles with diesel engines . At the same time, according to representatives of the Commission, the French government deliberately excluded some details of the investigation from the final report, since state is one of Renault’s shareholders. As a result, today's trading for the French automaker’s shares opened with a fall of 2.91%, down to the level of € 71.71.

In October last year, Minister of Transport, Environment and Energy France Ségolène Royal has created a special government commission to investigate activities of the French car manufacturers in connection with the scandal around Volkswagen Group. Back in January, it became clear that level of emissions on some models of Renault and Opel greatly exceeded the legal limit. Then, Renault management decided to revoke 15.8 thousand cars to bring their engines to normal. The Minister herself then commented that the system of limitation of harmful emissions of these cars is malfunctioning, and therefore subject to change. At the end of July, the Commission published a report on findings of its own independent investigation. The document, in particular, stated that the Commission found no "evidence of the use of illegal software" in the cars of eleven national producers. However, there was a clarification that the Commission cannot "exclude this possibility" without conducting further investigation.

According to three members of the commission, who asked to remain anonymous, the government hid details of its own investigation to protect Renault. For example, it is said that control of harmful emissions on Renault Captur was activated when a car was readying for the tests. The system is not supposed to work in real practice. This suggests, according to sources, that the French auto giant could also use illegal software. Maybe it was not the same as that of Volkswagen, but it pursued the same task, highlighted one of the commissioners.

Renault itself is denying these assumptions. The manufacturer states that its cars conform to "laws and regulations of all the countries where they sold".


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