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Renault becomes latest subject of diesel-related investigations

The French automaker's stock price took a big dip after a series of police raids.

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Thus far, Renault has emerged from investigations unscathed, as have several other European automakers.


Update, 2:21 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to reflect breaking news from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Today is not a good day for Renault. After reports of police raids on the French automaker's offices, the company's stock price plunged more than 20 percent, removing the equivalent of €5 billion ($5.45B) from the company's market capitalization.

After Volkswagen was caught using software built specifically for cheating diesel emissions regulations, officials from multiple countries have been busy poring over every diesel-producing automaker's wares, ensuring that nobody else is playing dirty. Renault is the latest to fall under this umbrella of investigation.

This new series of raids -- it's not as dramatic as you think, SWAT teams aren't flying through windows or anything -- follows an earlier investigation by French authorities, but nothing has been uncovered as of yet. Renault told Reuters that there is "no evidence of a defeat device equipping Renault vehicles."

"Renault's teams are fully cooperating with the independent technical commission and the additional investigations decided by the Ministry of Economy," the company said in a statement provided to Roadshow. "The French Agency for Energy and Climate (DGEC) ... already considers that the on-going procedure would not reveal the presence of a defeat device on Renault's vehicles. This is good news for Renault."

Renault's raids have had effects beyond its own doors. After the news broke of the raids, other automakers' stock prices began to fall as well. Peugeot, another French manufacturer, came out and said that it, too, had been the subject of an investigation. Just like Renault, Peugeot has not been caught fiddling with emissions.

That said, while Renault's vehicles are, in fact, free from defeat devices, they're not perfect. International news agency AFP said that while there is no trickery going on behind the scenes, Renault's diesel vehicles are still polluting more than they should:

While Volkswagen, the company that kick-started this whole mess, is working toward a solution in Europe, it's having trouble crafting a solution that satisfies the US. Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board shot down Volkswagen's proposed remedy for the nearly 600,000 over-polluting diesels on American roads.