Renault taken 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 on Friday, the information having then been confirmed to AFP by the plaintiffs' lawyer, Me Christophe Lèguevaques. What do the victims blame Renault for? Which vehicles are affected? What possible sequels? Le Figaro takes stock of this affair which has plagued the group for several years now.
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 1,794 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 overconsumption of oil, which could result in engine failure, between 40,000 and 60,000 kilometers, often on the highway. “Many of you tell us that you have narrowly avoided fatal accidents”, can we read on the web page of the collective action. "One of the reproaches made to Renault is to play Russian roulette with the safety of road users," accuses the plaintiffs' lawyer.
In total, 400,000 of the engines concerned were manufactured by Renault. These are gasoline engines, which were fitted to many Renault, Dacia and Nissan vehicle models between 2012 and 2016. The class action lists all affected models:
A model from Mercedes, the Citan, is also affected.
As early as 2019, UFC-Que Choisir had launched the alert on the malfunctions of these engines. Denouncing "the deafening silence of Renault", the consumer association had put the manufacturers Renault, Dacia, Nissan and Mercedes on notice. 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 'business support'.
The case was relaunched in January 2022, with the launch of a class action, at the origin of the criminal complaint which will be filed on Monday, "Renault having so far refused to negotiate", is it mentioned in the presentation text of the collective action.
Renault claims that customers affected by these problems are taken care of: "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, benefited from support,” said a Renault spokesperson.
The group “has never stopped and continues to review the requests made to it. The requests to participate which could not be accepted have all been the subject of a careful examination of their constituent elements and a response has been provided”, he added. Allegations disputed by the plaintiffs.
“93% support, yes, but at very variable rates, replies to the Parisian Olivier Blanchet, creator of the Renault/Nissan Motor Breakdown Facebook group, which today has more than 7,000 members. It's up to the customer, and according to the news! The levels of support are better when Renault finds itself under fire from critics…” According to the Renault group, the vehicles concerned remain “safe and comply with regulations”.
According to the plaintiffs' lawyers, if the automotive group were found to be criminally guilty, "this would then open the way to compensation that could exceed the purchase price of the vehicle increased by various damages, in particular moral damages due to the deliberate exposure of consumers to a risk of fatal accident”. Registrations for collective action, which are paid - it takes 360 or 489 euros depending on whether you are already listed or whether you join the procedure - will remain open beyond the filing of a complaint, said Me Christophe Leguevaques.