Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot and Citroën have been indicted in France, five years after the discovery of cheating software that equipped certain engines of the Volkswagen group, aimed at minimizing their real emissions during homologation tests.
It’s the return of Dieselgate, the scandal that rocked the auto industry following the discovery in 2015 of cheating software. From 2009 to 2015, the Volkswagen group thus equipped some of its petrol and especially diesel engines with fraudulent software, in order to minimize their actual emissions by detecting homologation tests and by activating certain antipollution systems only under these conditions. In all, 11 million cars were sold with such software, while their emissions of NOx, for example, were up to 40 times greater in real conditions than in homologation tests.
This case, which has already cost Volkswagen more than 30 billion euros in fines and damages, also shed light on important differences between the homologation values and the actual emissions of vehicles. In Europe, it is on the old NEDC standard, which has since been replaced by WLTP, that significant differences have been noted, while many manufacturers have been suspected of cheating.
Five years later, a few days apart, Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot and Citroën announced their indictment in France for “deception” in this survey. For now, there is nothing to confirm that Renault, Peugeot or Citroën have used such software, but these indictments follow significant discrepancies observed by the fraud control service (DGCCRF) between approved emissions. of certain vehicles of these manufacturers and their performance in real conditions.
Renault, Peugeot and Citroën deny use of cheat software
“This formal stage of the judicial investigation will allow companies to have full access to the proceedings file and will give them the opportunity to defend themselves against allegations that have not yet been discussed in adversarial proceedings. ”, indicates Stellantis, which owns Automobiles Peugeot SA and Automobiles Citroën SA, in a communicated. The group, born from the merger of PSA and FCA, denies any use of cheating software: “Our subsidiaries firmly believe that their emission control systems met all the requirements applicable then and continue to meet them today, and they look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate it.” Note that another Stellantis subsidiary will be auditioned: FCA Italy SpA. in July 2021.
Renault also indicated “That its vehicles are not equipped with fraudulent software for pollution control devices”. “It should be remembered that the approval standard at the time (NEDC) was not representative of the reality of uses by customers”, adds Gilles Le Borgne, engineering director of the Renault group (source: Le Figaro).
Volkswagen, for which the presence of fraudulent software is no longer to be proven, disputes “Any prejudice” compensable for French consumers and recalls having been sentenced in Germany in 2018 for identical facts, with a fine of one billion euros already including vehicles marketed in France.
Pending the continuation of this case, the four manufacturers were required to pay a deposit of 8 million euros for Citroën, 10 million euros for Volkswagen and Peugeot and 20 million euros for Renault, and the provision of a first demand bank guarantee of 25 million euros for Citroën, 30 million euros for Peugeot and 60 million euros for Volkswagen and Renault.