After Volkswagen in May and Renault on Tuesday, Peugeot was indicted on Wednesday for “Deception” in France in the investigation into the scandal of “Dieselgate”, unblocking a file bogged down for years which could also lead to the questioning of Citroën and Fiat-Chrysler.
In a press release Wednesday evening, Stellantis, Peugeot’s parent company, announced the indictment of its subsidiary “Due to allegations of deception relating to the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015.”
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“Our subsidiaries firmly believe that their emission control systems met all the requirements applicable then and continue to meet them today, and they look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate it”, added the group.
A judicial source confirmed the indictment on Wednesday of the head of “Deception endangering human or animal health”.
A report from the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control), sent to the courts in February 2017, referred to a “Global strategy to manufacture fraudulent engines and then market them”.
According to investigators, some 1.9 million diesel vehicles of the Euro5 generation (standard in force until 2015), “Whose engine works according to fraudulent strategies”, were sold by PSA (Peugeot-Citroën) between September 2009 and September 2015 in France.
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In view of the violations found, the DGCCRF assessed the maximum fine incurred by the company at 5 billion euros. An enormous sum, however four times less than the maximum fine, 19.7 billion euros, assessed this time by the DGCCRF for Volkswagen.
The manufacturer, by whom the scandal of “Dieselgate” arrived, was indicted on May 6 for “Deception on the substantial qualities of a commodity endangering the health of humans or animals”, a judicial source told AFP. The indictment in France was made public by the German giant on Wednesday morning in a disputing press release “Any prejudice” for consumers in France.
Citroën and Fiat-Chrysler?
In addition to being indicted, these automobile companies are subject to judicial control accompanied by heavy guarantees for the possible payment of damages and fines, up to 20 million euros for Renault, and heavy bank guarantees for compensate for any damage, up to 60 million euros for Renault and Volkswagen.
“All the elements seem to confirm the infringements committed by the various manufacturers. The owners of injured vehicles do not understand that there is not a trial as quickly as possible “, reacted Wednesday morning Me François Lafforgue, lawyer of associations “Ecology without borders”, “Breathe” and a hundred vehicle owners.
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The scandal of “Dieselgate” is the subject of various legal information in France. Investigations into this scandal have long been slowed down by a legal battle before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
Tuesday, Renault was the first to announce that it had been indicted. Next potential targets on the list, Citroën, then Fiat-Chrysler, also belonging to the Stellantis group: the latter announced their hearing on Thursday and ” in July “ in its press release Wednesday evening.