Renault dragged to court. The hexagonal automotive group will be the subject of a collective criminal complaint, which will be filed Monday before the criminal court of Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine). The existence of this complaint was revealed by the newspaper Le Parisien this Friday, the information was then confirmed to AFP by the lawyer of the plaintiffs, Me Christophe Lèguevaques. What do the victims blame Renault for? Which vehicles are affected? What are the possible consequences? Le Figaro takes stock of this case that has been poisoning the group for several years now.
What is Renault accused of?
The grounds for the complaint filed against Renault Group and Nissan are heavy: "deception, endangering the lives of others, fraud and deceptive commercial practices," Christophe Lèguevaques told AFP.
The plaintiffs, numbering 1794 to date, implicate the 1.2 TCE or DIG-T engines, manufactured by Renault between October 2012 and June 2016 and which have equipped more than 400,000 vehicles. These would be victims of an overconsumption of oil, which can result in a breakage of the engine, between 40,000 and 60,000 kilometers, often on the highway. "Many of you tell us that you narrowlyavoided fatal accidents," reads the web page of the class action. "One of the criticisms made of Renault is to play Russian roulette with the safety of road users," accuses the lawyer of the plaintiffs.
Which vehicles are affected?
In total, 400,000 of the engines concerned were manufactured by Renault. These are gasoline engines, which equipped many models of Renault, Dacia and Nissan vehicles between 2012 and 2016. The collective action lists all the models concerned:
- Renault: Captur, Clio 4, Kadjar, Kangoo 2, Mégane 3 and 4, Scénic 3, Grand Scénic 3 and 4.
- Dacia: Duster I & II, Dokker, Lodgy.
- Nissan: Juke, Qashqai 2, Pulsar.
A model from Mercedes, the Citan, is also concerned.
Is this really a new case?
As early as 2019, the UFC-Que Choisir had launched the alert on the malfunctions of these engines. Denouncing "the deafening silence of Renault", the consumer association had put in formal notice the manufacturers Renault, Dacia, Nissan and Mercedes. According to UFC-Que Choisir, which said it had obtained a technical note on the subject, distributed in the network of dealers and garages of the brand, Renault was aware of these anomalies.
At the time, Renault defended itself, saying that "all our vehicles equipped with the TCe A.2 engine are not affected by this phenomenon". "Indeed, overconsumption of engine oil can come from different causes – lubricants, conditions of use ...", added the group, warning that "compliance with the maintenance program is (...) a prerequisite for the examination of a commercial accompaniment'.
The case was revived in January 2022, with the launch of a class action, at the origin of the criminal complaint that will be filed Monday, "Renault having so far refused to negotiate," is it mentioned in the text presenting the class action.
What does Renault say?
Renault says that customers affected by these problems are supported: "93% of identified customer cases, having encountered a difficulty in the use of their vehicle, equipped with a 1.2 T engine produced between October 2012 and June 2016, have benefited from support," said a Renault spokesman.
The group "has never ceased and continues to consider the requests addressed to it. The requests to participate that could not be accepted were all carefully examined for their constituent elements and a response was provided," he added. Allegations disputed by the complainants.
93% support, yes, but at very variable rates, replies to the Parisian Olivier Blanchet, creator of the Facebook group Casse moteur Renault/Nissan, which now has more than 7000,<> members. It's at the head of the client, and according to the news! The levels of support are better when Renault finds itself under fire..." According to the Renault group, the vehicles concerned remain "safe and comply with the regulations".
What are the possible consequences?
According to the plaintiffs' lawyers, if the auto group were found criminally guilty, "this would then pave the way for compensation that could exceed the purchase price of the vehicle plus various damages, including moral damage due to the deliberate exposure of consumers to a risk of fatal accident". Registrations for the collective action, which are paid - it takes 360 or 489 euros depending on whether one already appears or joins the procedure - will remain open beyond the filing of complaint, said Christophe Lèguevaques.