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Renault recalls thousands of cars to adjust engines

French carmaker Renault has announced it would recall cars to check them again before they go on sale. The decision came after regulators reported the company's diesel engines had failed random pollution tests.

Under the spotlight over high levels of harmful emissions, Renault said Tuesday it was recalling a total of 15,000 cars for engine checks.

French Environment Minister Segolene Royal told RTL radio that the automaker had "committed to recalling the vehicles to check them and adjust them correctly so that the filtration system works" in all temperatures.

Last week, a government-appointed commission said that

Renault's diesel cars failed pollution tests

and investigators raided its facilities, raising fears the company could be caught up in an emissions scandal similar to the one engulfing Germany's Volkswagen.

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Renault had admitted that while tests in the lab fully met the norms in place, on-road tests showed far higher carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emission levels. The company emphasized, though, that it had not installed any defeat devices to thwart tests.

Renault Sales Director Thierry Koskas said the carmaker was working on a technical plan which should allow it to cut emissions.

He gave no details of what that plan may entail. The French automaker currently uses a technology called NOx absorber, which is cheaper and simpler than a rival system called selective catalytic reduction, but it's also less efficient.

Opel joins chorus

Meanwhile in Germany, the automaker Opel also dismissed a report by a Belgian broadcaster that had alleged systematic emissions cheating in its diesel models.

Journalists at Brussels-based VRT reported Monday that Opel had surreptitiously altered the emissions outputs of its cars by installing secret software updates.

"Opel clearly rejects the allegations," the company said in a statement. "It is not true that Opel dealers installed a modified software...which changes the emissions behavior of the vehicle."

The broadcaster raised questions about Opel after a software update carried out at a local dealership seemed to improve the nitrogen oxide emissions of its cars. Before the update, VRT said, the Opel vehicles' emissions had exceeded EU limits.

Opel said the software update, which was installed in its Zafira Tourer models, "had nothing to do with a change in emissions values." It did not elaborate, however.

hg/cjc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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