PARIS -- French carmaker Renault challenged a motorist's statement that a fault in one of its top-of-the-range cars had embarked its panic-stricken owner on an involuntary 125 mph motorway dash.
Refusing to rule out suing the driver for his remarks, Renault said its engineers had given a clean bill of health to the $49,190 Vel Satis after its owner, Hicham Dequiedt, told French police a malfunction in the electronic cruise control was to blame for Sunday's high-speed incident.
The company said in a statement it wanted a judge to appoint an independent expert to check the car and might take legal action "without prejudice to other legal actions taken in compensation." A spokesman said the company had yet to decide whether to pursue legal action against Dequiedt.
An emotional Dequiedt later told TF1 TV he was shocked by the manufacturer's reaction: "I haven't sought any compensation from Renault, I just wanted to have the truth.
"Having risked my life, narrowly missed a truck, thought only of my mother, who I love the most in the world, I think Renault's behavior is totally illogical, inhuman, beyond words," he said, tears in his eyes.
Police said Dequiedt told them he was convinced he was going to die when he called them repeatedly on his cell phone as his car tore down the A71 motorway toward a toll barrier on Sunday.
He managed to bring the car to a halt 12 miles short of the toll station, which had been evacuated. No one was hurt.