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Renault in hot water over Euro emissions

Allegations have been levelled against Renault after Captur and Clio models registered higher than expected emissions outputs.

Renault may have become embroiled in an emissions cheating scandal of its own as French authorities have targeted the car-maker's Captur and Clio models in a report which claims "the company used a strategy aimed at distorting the results of anti-pollution tests".

French newspaper Liberation published the report, which was highlighted by quotes from the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) – France's Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) equivalent.

Three of the manufacturer's operating centres – including its Paris headquarters – were targeted in raids by French authorities in early 2016 regarding the alleged issue.

"Renault SAS has misled consumers on the checks carried out and in particular the regulatory control of the approval on pollutant emissions," the report said.

According to the excerpts, diesel versions of the Captur crossover and Clio hatchback – which adhere to Euro 6 and Euro 5 regulations respectively – were found to emit up to 377 per cent more NOx emissions than the designated threshold, prompting the investigation into Renault's alleged cheating.

While none of the vehicles in question were sold in Australia, three French magistrates will preside over the case as part of a Parisian judicial inquiry that commenced on January 12.

The brand released a statement saying it has "acknowledged the publication of an unbalanced national newspaper article related to the ‘emission' case" and that "this article alleges to quote selected excerpts from a report drafted by the DGCCRF.

"Groupe Renault reminds that none of its services has breached European or national regulations related to vehicle homologations. Renault vehicles are not equipped with cheating software affecting anti-pollution systems."

Beyond insisting on its innocence, the car-maker declined to comment any further on the current enquiry, declaring that the investigation is "confidential by nature".

"As a consequence, Renault cannot confirm the veracity, completeness and reliability of the information published in said article," it said.

"Renault will prove its compliance with the regulations and reserves its explanations for the judges in charge of investigating this case."

An issue with emissions filtration at particular temperatures led to a European recall for 15,000 diesel-powered Capturs in January last year.

Meanwhile, Renault's 1.6-litre diesel Espace people-mover came under fire in November 2015 for emitting up to 25 times the legal limit when undergoing independent emissions testing in Switzerland.

However, the company immediately dismissed the findings as "the test procedures used… (were) not all compliant with European regulations".

If Renault was found guilty of emissions cheating, would it turn you off purchasing one of their vehicles? Tell us what you think in the comments below.