The raids, which took place at Renault's headquarters, the Renault Technical Centre in Lardy and the Technocentre in Guyancourt, were first reported by local unions, but have since been confirmed by Renault. In a statement, it said that investigators wanted to check the equipment used at its factories.
Several computers belonging to company directors are said to have been seized.
The CGT Renault union suggested that the raids “are linked to the consequences of the Volkswagen rigged-engines affair”, and confirmed that the raids had targeted engine control units.
Renault subsequently revealed that prior to the raids, the UTAC (the French homologation authority) had already been testing Renault vehicles, with four of 25 models being examined before the new year. It said that the testing enabled "the French public authorities to initiate productive discussions with Renault's engineering team".
According to Renault, these latest police raids are part of "additional on-site and material investigations, in order to definitively confirm the first findings resulting from the analysis of the independent technical commission".
Despite such scrutiny, Renault says it is confident its cars will pass the tests without issue. It currently has the support of the French Agency for Energy and Climate (DGEC) and states that these on-going tests provide it with an opportunity to improve the Renault Emissions Plan.
Renault was one of a number of vehicle manufacturers to welcome more stringent test procedures in the wake of the emissions scandal, which broke last September.
At the time, the company confirmed that it had not used so-called defeat devices in the past. A spokesman said: “We invite all those legislations and framework in markets we operate in. We don’t have defeat devices in any of our cars and we welcome the improvements that are proposed in Europe for the NEDC [New European Driving Cycle] side of it.”
Shares in the French car maker fell sharply this morning as the first reports of the raids surfaced, with stock prices dropping by as much as 20%.
Volkswagen has been subjected to the most scrutiny under the emissions scandal, but it's known that authorities are looking into other vehicle manufacturers. German officials from the KBA said late last year that they would be investigating 23 different marques.