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Renault to recall 15,000 vehicles for emissions tests in wake of VW scandal

French minister says vehicles will be tested under real-world conditions

Mark Renders/Getty Images

French carmaker Renault will recall more than 15,000 vehicles to make sure their engines are in line with emissions standards. The cars will be recalled before they go on sale, Ségolène Royal, France's minister of ecology, told RTL radio Tuesday morning. Royal said the company committed to the recall in order to test the car engines and filtration systems to make sure they adhere to emissions standards in all temperatures.

The announcement comes after French fraud investigators raided Renault's headquarters and two other sites near Paris earlier this month, as part of a probe into its emissions technology. French authorities launched an investigation into Volkswagen in September, following revelations that the German carmaker had installed software that allowed its vehicles to cheat on US emissions tests. Investigators said they would expand the probe to include other carmakers, and later discovered discrepancies between real-world engine tests and lab results for four Renault models, the company announced earlier this month.

"To be fair to Renault...there are other brands that exceed the norms."

Speaking to RTL, Royal said that the new engine tests would be conducted in real-world conditions. "We can say that the tests were insufficient," Royal said, adding: "After the Volkswagen fraud scandal, we decided to conduct incontestable tests. But what we want is to save the automotive industry while guaranteeing consumer rights."

Following this month's raids, Renault issued a press release stressing that French probes into its vehicles had found "no evidence" of any so-called defeat device software, such as the kind that VW installed to cheat on emissions tests. The company had previously said it would spend €50 million ($54 million) to bring its carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions in line with lab results.

Earlier this month, Royal said cars from "several" foreign manufacturers were also found to exceed emissions limits, though she did not name them. Defeat devices were only found on two Volkswagen models during an investigation that covered nearly two dozen vehicles. "To be fair to Renault...there are other brands that exceed the norms," Royal told RTL, adding that company representatives from other manufacturers had agreed to meet with a commission set up by the French government.