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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I decided to follow-up my note to Renault UK, by forwarding it to Lord Andrew Adonis and Mr Paul Clark, the Ministers in the UK Government responsible for Transportation and Road Safety respectively.

Lets see what I get in responses:

"Dear Andrew, Paul,

As the ministers of Transport for the Government, and Paul you being responsible for Road Safety, I am eager to get your formal response to the recent mails to Renault, and their continual denial in wanting to do anything more effectively as a “safety conscious” and “responsible” manufacture to resolve this bonnet catch defect.

I am interested to hear what the DoT are doing about this?  If Toyota and Honda issue recalls for a serious fault, and Alfa-Romeo did so previously for a similar “bonnet safety catch risk”, why not Renault for an equivalent well-known “safety fault”? 

In all follow-ups to the DoT and VOSA, you simply reference the report completed on my particular case – and the “spot-checks” on 3 Clio vehicles – which actually implied corrosion was present on the catch mechanism.  It went on to explain that VOSA visited Renault and saw a video and asked Renault’s engineer’s about the mechanism design and functionality, at which point VOSA basically asked Renault whether there was a failure in the mechanism.  This is not an impartially, nor comprehensive investigation.  Why didn’t you use independent engineer’s?... If you ask a manufacture whether there is a fault, their first reaction would be “no problem here guv’”.  I am sorry to say that your investigation was simply asking this from Renault, and you simply wrote a report which Renault were quite ken for you to write, to avoid a costly recall.  It is a marketing report plain and simple.  There is nothing I have seen through the FoI request of the report (which BTW VOSA were very reluctant to share to the public) that can indicate you have completed anything in addition to the above, nor looked at any additional cases reported to you by other Clio owners!  It’s simply a farce, and VOSA’s inactions simply outline the significant incompetence and impartiality of the department – one from an authority that manage Road Safety, it is extremely disappointing that VOSA has no teeth in this particular matter (even though by policy, you can enforce a recall).

This is a safety risk, it is impacting the safety functionality of the secondary (safety) catch and there is nothing that VOSA have indicated so far that can confirm that this isn’t a safety defect.  Why are Renault replacing parts in the safety catch mechanism if there are not defective?

What VOSA have basically done is given Renault carte blanche as they kept referencing the VOSA report in all customer or media follow-ups to Renault-Nissan group – quite convenient methinks, so it implies VOSA actually backs Renault’s stance.  This is ludicrous and questions remained unanswered by Renault and more importantly DoT/VOSA into why this issue occurred and why it continues to exist. 

If a comprehensive investigation has been completed, and you are happy with the limited actions of Renault, why are incidents still happening?

I look forward for your response after you have discussed with Mr Ghosn’s / Mr Bouchara’s office on why they have not issued a Global Recall on this apparent safety defect.  I am afraid Renault have gone too long with their head in the sands.  We consumers will not roll-over and accept their stance.  They need to stop issuing standard responses and deal with the matter comprehensively and fully mitigate the safety risk.

The only stance that will be accepted (don’t forget it was an incident that could have killed me, other Clio motorists and those around us when these issues occur), is for them to admit that they are responsible for the safety defect, they need to remediate all cases where the issue has been reported (including settle financially all cases), and formally instruct a UK and Global Recall to replace the mechanism in their 500,000+ UK models where this risk is present."

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