Ever since the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal broke a few years ago, more evidence seems to suggest that the problem may be more wide-spread than was initially thought. Not only Volkswagen, it seems, may be guilty of emitting higher levels of pollution than is legally permitted, but other big names have now come under scrutiny as well.
The implications of a scandal like the Volkswagen emissions fiasco can be huge for manufacturers as well as individuals. As trust is lost, so to can the value of the product. This can cause a turbulent market and it’s reported that car buyers like The Car Buying Group saw an increase in Volkswagen enquires after the emissions scandal.
Renault was the first manufacturer after VW to come under intense scrutiny. When first tested, results for Renault showed that its Talisman recorded a discrepancy between lab tests and real-world circumstances of 57.6mg/km NOx against 926.1mg/km. It has now been confirmed by the prosecutor’s office that Renault will be investigated and that three judges have been tasked with probing possible cheating by the company in terms of how they present emissions tests. The car maker’s shares fell sharply immediately after the announcement. It has emerged that some of the car maker’s models emit more than ten times, and more, the legal amounts of NOx (nitrogen oxide). Renault is aware of the probe but insists that they have not used software to enable them to cheat results – unlike Volkswagen, the company that has six executives under investigation for fraud. One of them was arrested in Florida recently.
The problem may be much bigger than was anticipated initially since it has emerged that France’s environmental minister, Ségolene Royal, is considering a commission to investigate more than 52 cars from manufacturers that include French companies such as Renault and Citroёn – but also others such as Ford, Mercedes, Toyota and, of course, Volkswagen. Most of these exceeded the legal limit by at least five times. Meanwhile it was announced that Fiat Chrysler (FCA) was similarly accused in the US of using cheat devices to hide the real outcome of tests.
It seems very likely that the next car that will be investigated thoroughly in France is the Citroёn C4 Cactus as was reported by Le Parisien. A research commission by the EU found in December that the car emitted 585mg/km NOx, while only 80mg/km is allowed. This is not good news for the PSA Group, the parent company that owns not only Citroёn, but DS and Peugeot too. PSA would not be drawn into speculation but confirmed it would co-operate fully with any investigations by government.
Minister Ségolene is quoted, “The manufacturers will be made to face up to their responsibilities because air pollution is a serious problem…”