The French car manufacturer’s share price dropped by 5% to a three- month low on Thursday following allegations that the company had failed to adhere to emissions standards.
Allegations have also surfaced that the carmaker’s “entire chain of management” – including CEO Carlos Ghosn (corr) – were complicit to the “fraudulent strategies,” AFP reports.
Investigators for the country’s economic fraud watchdog said that Renault had deceived authorities on how much pollution its cars emit, with a report finding that the carmaker had installed cheat devices in some 900 000 cars to create the illusion that the cars are cleaner than they really are.
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According to documents seen by the news agency, Renault emissions results from its SUV Captur and Clio IV models differed by up to 377% when they were tested on the road.
In a statement released on Thursday Renault vehemently denied the allegations saying that “Renault vehicles are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems”.
“Groupe Renault reminds that none of its services has breached European or national regulations related to vehicle homologations. Renault vehicles are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems,” the carmaker said.
The scandal follows a similar one experienced by German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) in 2015 after it admitted to fitting around 11 million diesel cars around the world with defeat devices designed to reduce pollution emissions when the car was undergoing testing.
VW has agreed to pay a $19 billion (R242,3 billion) fine in the US to settle the matter.
Renault also faces a hefty fine of up to 10% of its average turnover according to French law and the executives implicated in the scandal could face jail time and €300 000 (R4,1 million) in fines.