Citroen becomes fourth automaker to face ‘dieselgate’ charges in France
Citroen became on Thursday the fourth automaker to reveal this week that it has been charged in France in connection with the widening “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal.
The French automaker was charged by authorities over allegations of “deception” related to the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015, its parent company Stellantis said in a statement.
The company was ordered to place a deposit of eight million euros and provide 25 million euros in bank guarantees to cover potential compensation payouts, Stellantis said.
Germany’s Volkswagen, French rival Renault and another Stellanits unit, Peugeot, all announced this week that they had been charged over diesel emissions.
Fiat Chrysler, which is also part of Stellantis, will be questioned by investigators next month.
The scandal erupted in 2015 when a US investigation revealed that VW had equipped around 11 million vehicles with devices capable of lowering carbon dioxide emissions during tests, even though actual emissions could be up to 40 times higher.
The company later admitted to the trickery, dealing a massive blow to its reputation for solid engineering and well-built, high-performance vehicles.
Fines, legal fees and vehicle refits, recalls and compensation have already cost VW some 32 billion euros.
Other brands, including BMW, Porsche and Daimler have been caught up in the dieselgate affair.
– VW denies causing harm –
A source close to the French investigation said this week that VW had been charged last month with “deceit over substantial qualities of a product, resulting in a danger for human and animal health.”
VW denied causing any “harm” to French consumers.
Renault also denied on Tuesday “having committed any offence” and said its vehicles do not have “any rigging software for pollution control devices.”
Fraud investigators who began looking into the allegations in 2017 accused Renault’s top managers, including longtime chief Carlos Ghosn, of using or knowing about “fraudulent strategies” to falsify emission test results since 1990.
Stellantis said late Wednesday that Peugeot was charged “on allegations of consumer fraud in connection with the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015”.
It also revealed that Citroen and Fiat Chrysler would face investigators.
“The companies firmly believe that their emission control systems met all applicable requirements at the relevant times and continue to do so and look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate that,” Stellantis said.