Renault customers say the automaker should have issued a recall when they discovered a problem with the 1.2-liter engine used in 400,000 vehicles in Europe between 2012 and 2016.
Renault could face charges in France over faulty engines as a customer group plans to file a criminal complaint against the automaker next week, the group’s lawyer said.
“We will file a complaint on Monday on behalf of at least several dozen people,” Christophe Leguevaques told Reuters, adding that many other owners of Renault vehicles – as well as those of its Dacia brand and partner Nissan – could join the movement .
The complaint, first reported by Le Parisien newspaper, will be filed at the Nanterre criminal court, with claims ranging from “aggravated fraud, questionable commercial practices” to “fraud” and “endangering the lives 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.
The possibility of an official investigation
It will be up to prosecutors to decide whether to open a formal investigation.
A Renault spokesman said the firm was offering technical support and financial aid to affected customers.
“Groupe Renault has never stopped and continues to analyze the requests it receives,” the spokesman said.
A spokesman for Nissan, which makes some models with Renault, said it “supports all customers who may experience engine noise, misfires, low power or excessive oil consumption under our warranty and customer support policies “.
Customers say the automakers should have issued a recall when they discovered a problem with the 1.2-liter engine used in 400,000 vehicles in Europe between 2012 and 2016.
Renault admitted 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.
“The support requests that could not be addressed have all been carefully reviewed and a response has been given,” Renault said.