Renault has been accused by investigators of cheating emissions tests for as long as 25 years, according to a French newspaper.
French consumer protection agency DGCCRF has said that alongside falsifying emissions tests for more than two decades, the car maker’s top executives, including boss Carlos Ghosn, are likely to have been aware.
The allegations come from a report, published by French newspaper Liberation, in which the agency suspect Renault of using a device – in a similar manner to Volkswagen – so engines would meet nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution regulations. The report names two models, the Captur and Mk4 Clio, as polluting 300% higher than their tested results under real-world conditions.
The accusations follow claims made earlier this year that Renault had been cheating diesel emissions tests. At the time, Renault said its vehicles "are compliant with the applicable standards. Renault vehicles are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems".
The report published today said: "The car maker deceived consumers over the verifications conducted and in particular over the regulatory certification of the emission of pollutants.
"The results give rise to suspicions that a special device modified the performance of the motor to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions during the specific conditions of certification tests."
Renault has denied the allegations of emissions cheating.
The company said: "Groupe Renault has acknowledged the publication of an unbalanced national newspaper article related to the 'emission' case. This article alleges to quote selected excerpts from a report drafted by the DGCCRF.