The French government is investigating certain models from Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Renault because they allegedly produce more nitrogen oxide than the country’s pollution rules allow, according to Automotive News, citing a French newspaper.
After VW’s emissions scandal, French regulators began checking more vehicles for evidence of defeat devices and excessive real-world pollution. According to Automotive News, the Mercedes S350 allegedly showed inconsistent results across these tests, and a Ford C-Max had NOx levels five times over the limit. The Renault Capturcrossover, Espace, and an unnamed utility vehicle also had results that were too high.
The French testing for this investigation includes an on-road emissions check that’s not part of the EU’s normal evaluations, which some automakers claim is unfair. “Unofficial on-road testing has varying conditions and can produce significantly different results,” a Ford of Europe spokesman told Automotive News.
Renault representatives met with French officials on January 18 to explain the situation. The company later submitted a plan to recall 15,800 examples of the diesel Captur, and said it would offer a voluntary software upgrade for about 700,000 other vehicles, according to Automotive News. Representatives from Ford and Mercedes will meet with the government soon, too.
Renault’s stock price plunged last week after investors heard that French regulators searched three of the automaker’s sites as part of the emissions investigation. The stockholders feared an environmental scandal like the one currently embroiling Volkswagen. There’s one major difference – as of now, there’s no evidence Renault equipped any of the polluting models with defeat devices.