French authorities have confirmed that they conducted a raid on three Renault facilities as part of their on-going investigation into possible emissions testing violations throughout the French automotive industry.
The raids reportedly took place on January 7 as part of the work of a independent technical commission, setup by the French government, into the possible use of emissions testing "defeat devices".
This commission was set up in the wake of Volkswagen's admission last year that it had installed emissions testing "defeat devices" on up to 11 million diesel-powered vehicles worldwide, and is tasked with discovering whether a similar practice is underway at its indigenous car makers.
In statement from Renault, the Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (DGCCRF) decided to carry out "on-site and material investigations", with officials visiting Renault's headquarters, as well as its research and development centres at Lardy and Guyancourt.
According to The Guardian, Segolene Royal, the French ecology and energy minister, said: "There is no fraud at Renault. Shareholders and employees should be reassured."
Royal also confirmed, though, that at least one Renault vehicle tested by the commission did emit more carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the real world than under testing conditions, and that company would spend around 50 million euros ($78 million) to bring any non-compliant vehicles into line.
When news of the raids leaked out this morning, European time, shares in Renault dropped by over 20 percent. After the positive statements from both the French authorities and Renault, the company's stock price has recovered somewhat, closing the day only 10 percent down.
PSA Peugeot Citroen has told The Wall Street Journal that no similar raids have taken place on its facilities.