Stellantis Charged in France Over Diesels After VW, Renault
(Bloomberg) -- French investigators charged Stellantis NV’s Peugeot and Citroen subsidiaries over allegedly defrauding consumers with diesel engines in a broadening crackdown on carmakers that’s already ensnared Renault SA and Volkswagen AG.
The two marques, which became part of Stellantis when PSA Group merged with Fiat Chrysler early this year, must pay a combined 18 million euros ($22 million) in bail and provide two bank guarantee worth a total of 55 million euros.
The charges against Citroen were announced in a Thursday statement, a day after those pressed against Peugeot. Both said they were in the process of assessing their defense options. Stellantis added Wednesday that its Fiat Chrysler subsidiary will face questioning in the same case in July.
The disclosures follow VW and Renault’s announcements this week of charges over similar accusations. The French charges spring from judicial investigations opened over four years ago, right around the time when VW settled criminal and civil complaints with the U.S. related to its use of illegal devices to circumvent emissions tests with diesel vehicles.
Read More: Stellantis Drops; Peugeot Probe Negative But Minor Risk: Equita
The accusations could prove a further distraction from efforts by Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares to integrate PSA and Fiat into one of the top global carmakers. Since the two combined in January, he’s had to deal with the global semiconductor supply crisis impeding production across the industry.
Both Peugeot and Citroen face allegations of consumer fraud in connection with the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015, according to their statements.
In France, investigative magistrates can charge companies or individuals when there are “serious or consistent” clues showing likely involvement. They can then decide whether to refer a case to trial but aren’t involved after that stage.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.