Dieselgate

Citroen, Peugeot charged with consumer fraud in Dieselgate emissions probe

French carmakers Peugeot and Citroen are under investigation on allegations of consumer fraud in connection with the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015.
French carmakers Peugeot and Citroen are under investigation on allegations of consumer fraud in connection with the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015. Joël SAGET AFP/File

French carmakers Citroen and Peugeot are facing prosecution in France over the "Dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal, the groups' parent company Stellantis said, after similar charges were announced against Renault and Volkswagen. 

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Citroen became the fourth automaker to be charged in France in connection with the "Dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal.

The Judicial Court of Paris has also summoned FCA Italy, another Stellantis subsidiary, to appear in court over the coming weeks as part of the same investigation, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The US-European auto giant said Peugeot was under investigation "on allegations of consumer fraud in connection with the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015".

Euro 5 was an EU emissions standard introduced in 2009. Investigators allege that close to 2 million such cars were sold during that 6-year period.

Stellantis said Peugeot will have to guarantee 30 million euros "for the potential compensation for losses", as well as pay bail of 10 million euros, comprising 8 million euros for potential damages and 2 million euros for court representation.

Stellantis, which was formed earlier this year after a merger between Fiat Chrysler and the French PSA Group, said in a statement that Peugeot was assessing its defence options in the case.

"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 added.

Dieselgate

Several European carmarkers have come under scrutiny since the Volkswagen "Dieselgate" scandal which erupted in 2015 over test cheating in the United States.

A French court on Tuesday charged carmaker Renault with alleged deception and test manipulation of some of its older diesel vehicles.

French prosecutors looking in to Renault and Peugeot said they had found that some of the cars produced on-the-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions more than 10 times regulatory limits for some models, according to reports of the investigation from 2019.

France's DGCCRF anti-fraud agency had in February 2017 filed a report with the French justice system alleging that there was a "global strategy aimed at fabricating fraudulent motors and then commercialising them".

The DGCCRF estimate the maximum fine over the allegations could cost the company 5 billion euros.

Revelations in 2015 that Volkswagen had equipped 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with software capable of producing fake carbon dioxide emission readings during tests plunged the company into a deep crisis.

It has so far cost the German car giant more than 30 billion euros in fines, refits and legal costs.

(with newswires)

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