Shares in Renault dived after anti-fraud raids on a number of the car maker’s factories prompted by the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
The shares have since recovered slightly after the French company said tests have so far not found unauthorised emissions-cheating software.
French media reports said the CGT Renault union released a tract on Thursday describing raids on multiple sites focusing on engine monitoring. Soon afterwards, the Renault share price sank by 22%.
An official with the French Finance Ministry’s anti-fraud unit said it had conducted raids on Renault last week but would not elaborate on why.
Renault issued a statement saying the raids were linked to random tests of 100 cars that French authorities are carrying out to see if they are equipped with software of the kind found in Volkswagen cars last year. In Volkswagen’s case, the software helped the cars cheat on diesel emissions tests in the US.
Renault said no such devices have been found on the four Renault vehicles checked so far, calling that “good news” for the company as it tries to further reduce emissions from its vehicles.
Shares rallied to 74.83 euro in early afternoon trading, down 13.7%.
Philippe Velu of the CFDT union at Renault said unions were not informed about the raids, or emissions tests.
Peugeot shares also tumbled, amid apparent suspicions that they were being targeted too. PSA Peugeot-Citroen issued a statement saying it had not been raided by anti-fraud authorities and that the French government tests on Peugeot-Citroen cars have found no anomalies.