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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Friday, 26 March 2010

Well as I received a pretty lame response from my letter to Renault Global HQ in France, I decided to give them another chance...

I re-sent my previous note, with a supplementary cover e-mail, as follows:

"Can I please request that your department take another look at the attached letter and respond more appropriately to the concerns.

A response from your UK division that simply stating “your comments on this are acknowledged” and “no further comments to add” is quite disappointing, and really emphasises the wrong attitude in relation to this safety risk by your corporation.     This brings your Customer Service Department into  disrepute and they are not reassuring your customers that Renault-Nissan Group are doing all that you can to resolve your customers concerns.   

As I stated in my previous letter, there remains unanswered questions on why the safety risk remains with you Clio Mark-2 vehicles (that’s over 500k vehicles in the UK alone). 

Another quote for you to review: “No design or construction defect has been found. The bonnet catch mechanism of the Clio II is safe, reliable and fit for purpose, providing the vehicle is maintained correctly and the bonnet closed as prescribed.”

            
  • If “no design or construction defect has been found”, then why are Renault replacing parts which are corroded – this was designed and manufactured as a maintenance-free part.  Therefore a fault exists. 
            
  • If it is “fit for purpose”, why did the incidents occur affecting such a volume of Clio Mark’s in the same Country where millions of other cars do not experience this issue. 
            
  • If it is “safe and reliable” then why is it that both catches can suddenly release without warning and obscuring the view of the driver.  This is extremely dangerous and endangers the lives of you customers and the road users around the vehicle. 

Customers safety MUST take precedence above all else.  The manufacture is responsible for the functionality and performance of any safety mechanism.

There are two mechanisms that are at fault:

            
  • the main catch – which should only be released from inside the passenger department (this cannot simply disengage without warning),
            
  • the safety catch – which is designed to stop this very thing happening...a bonnet cannot simply be allowed to release without engaging / triggering the safety catch mechanism. 

So both mechanisms are not fit for purpose nor safe; maintenance cannot be seen as the only cause. It is the functionality of both mechanisms that is at fault, not the maintenance of the mechanism.

The simply question that remains, if Renault and VOSA feels that risk has been fully mitigated, then why are incidents continuing to be reported? 

More action is required, a blanket denial to deal with this matter is unacceptable from a “safety-conscious” manufacture."

We'll see what they say.  Not holding up much hope for anything more constructive...but alas, I feel they still need to progress a more formal recall (not an "invitation" letter) and replace the defective mechanism to a design and manufactured to a standard that can withstand general road use!

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