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French authorities investigate Renault emissions, stock plummets

Currently No Evidence of Defeat Devices

Renault's stock plunged as much as 22 percent on January 14 to wipe out $5.4 billion in value over fears of the French automaker's potential involvement in an emissions scandal like Volkswagen Group. The shares eventually rebounded slightly to close down 10 percent after the automaker and a French government minster clarified there was no evidence of defeat devices, Reuters reported.

In the wake of VW's scandal, the French government checked for emissions defeat devices on 100 vehicles, including 25 from Renault. According to the automaker's statement, environmental officials visited its headquarters and two tech centers "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." When word of these searches went public, investors started selling in case of another scandal.

French energy minister Segolene Royal told Reuters there was no sign of a defeat device in Renault models and "shareholders and employees should be reassured." She said government officials also searched other automakers – without naming them.

Renault could still face a problem from the French investigation because early tests found excessive emissions in some of its vehicles, according to Reuters. The company intends to meet with officials soon to work out a solution. Earning the reputation of a polluter could be a black eye for the French automaker's green image, especially after previous allegations from Germany about high emissions found in the Renault Espace.
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Groupe Renault press release
January 14, 2016 | ID: 74740

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 2014in the improvement programs of of the carbon footprint. Over the last 3 years, the Renault Group has reduced by 10% the carbon footprint of its vehicles.

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