Volkswagen has admitted that some 11 million diesel cars worldwide are fitted with the device, which turns off pollution controls when the vehicle is being driven and turns them on only when it detects that the car is undergoing an emissions test.
German prosecutors launched an investigation earlier this week into former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn over the rigging of vehicle emissions tests, as the carmaker suspended three top engineers in an attempt to tackle the crisis.
A total of 984,064 cars in France are involved in the scandal. They are mostly Volkswagen models, but also include Skoda and Seat cars which are part of the VW group.
The French government called last week for a Europe-wide probe of all carmakers, while American and European regulators have said they are working on tighter rules and more stringent checks of pollution from vehicles.