PARIS — Renault could face prosecution in France over faulty engines as a group of customers plans to lodge a criminal complaint against the automaker next week, the group’s lawyer said.
“We are going to file a complaint on Monday on behalf of at least several dozen people,” Christophe Leguevaques told Reuters on Friday, adding many more owners of Renault vehicles – as well as those of its Dacia brand and partner Nissan – could join the move.
The complaint, first reported by Le Parisien newspaper, will be filed with the Nanterre criminal court, with claims ranging from “aggravated deceit, questionable business practices” to “fraud” and “endangering the life of others,” the lawyer said.
The decision to file the complaint follows unsuccessful discussions between Renault and the plaintiffs over the faulty engines, he added.
It will be up to prosecutors to decide whether to open a formal investigation.
A Renault spokesperson said the company had been providing technical support and financial help to affected customers.
“The Renault Group never stopped and continues reviewing demands that it is receiving,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Nissan, which produces some models with Renault, said it was “supporting any customers that may experience engine noise, misfiring, low power, or over consumption of oil under our warranty and customer support policies.”
The customers say the automakers should have issued a recall when they discovered an issue with the 1.2-litre engine used in 400,000 vehicles in Europe between 2012 and 2016.
Renault has acknowledged the engine was consuming too much oil and that 133,050 vehicles in France were potentially affected, but also said there was no safety risk – a point disputed by the customer group.
“Support demands that could not be addressed have all been carefully reviewed and an answer has been given,” Renault said.