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Renault has hit back at reports that it used software in its cars to cheat emissions tests and has called for a European-wide rethink on standards

Earlier this week, the French carmaker announced it had to recall a large number of its Captur vehicles because the filtration system in models produced between July and September 2015 did not work properly at all temperatures. This meant that nitrogen oxides and sulphur were not being filtered out properly so emissions were higher in a real situation than in the lab.

The week before, the French carmaker's shares lost over a fifth of their value on reports that fraud investigators had inspected its sites.

But Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Renault-Nissan, told CNBC on Thursday that the company had not used so-called "defeat devices" to cheat emissions tests.

"There are three questions being asked. The first question, is there any device which is a cheating device? The answer is no…The second question is, do we respond to the norms… the answer is yes," Ghosn said during a TV interview at CNBC's technology event in Davos.

Carlos Ghosn
Getty Images

The CEO said that this was purely a customer satisfaction issue and the cars were being recalled to fix the filtration system.

Still, Ghosn called for a rethink on how the "real driving experience" is defined in order to make sure that lab tests accurately reflect what users experience on the road.

"Just to make sure there is no confusion in the mind of the consumer…let's define what is the real driving experience so we can avoid the confusion," Ghosn said.

French Energy Minister Segolene Royal on Tuesday said Renault was not the only car company in France to break the rules on emissions but did not name others.

The auto industry has been under scrutiny after the Volkswagen emissions scandal in which the German carmaker was found to have manipulate emissions test data on its diesel vehicles in the U.S. and Europe.

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