Last January, Renault’s stock value plummeted in Paris’ Stock Exchange EURONEXT after the General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs, and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), an independent French antifraud agency, raided three key premises of the European OEM.
In the search for environmental anomalies similar to those brought to light last fall by German powerhouse, Volkswagen, the DGCCRF was given the task to investigate French OEMs, such as Renault and Peugeot, and ascertain their compliance with regulations revolving greenhouse emissions. As a result, not only Renault’s headquarters saw investigations, but also its facilities in both Lardy and Guyancourt, which inadvertently fixed the public’s attention in the debacle and casted a shadow over the company in a rowdy market that has seen its fair share of mishaps. In return, this resulted in a 20% market share drop that was softened to 10% by the closure of the day after preliminary evidence showed no signs of tampered software and components.
After the blow, the French OEM stated that a “further investigation on-site which aims to definitively validate” preliminary findings will be underway, as the DGCCRF’s investigations “did not reveal the presence of cheat-type software in the Renault vehicles […] which is good news for Renault.” Minister of Ecology, Segolene Royal, made clear that tests were carried out by a “technical committee” at the laboratory UTAC-Ceram, which was composed of scientists, consumer organizations, as well as environmental and government agencies.
Renault’s direct domestic competitor, Peugeot, although not under investigation by the DGCCRF, saw a 9% decrement in its EURONEXT share value during the same time span, demonstrating the market’s sensitivity and responsiveness in such matters. In addition, other European car makers saw at least a 5% drop in their share value, including Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler.
To disassociate itself from Volkswagen, Renault committed to a €50 million investment plan that will be directly allocated to the enhancement of its vehicles performance under real-life conditions in terms of contaminant emissions. “With PSA Peugeot Citroën, the emission difference during a laboratory test and highway usage is normal, that is to say emissions are double under real-life conditions. With Volkswagen, we see those numbers expand three or four times under the exact same context. Renault, on the other hand, has the worst results among all the aforesaid OEMs,” said France Inter, who was cautious on commenting the sources that serve as foundation to their statement.