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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Monday, 27 March 2006
Whilst travelling at 65-70mph along the A23 in Brighton at approximately 08.10BST on Monday, 27th March 2006, my Renault Clio Extreme 1.2 (registered as 53 - i.e. Sept/Oct 2003) experienced a life-threatening incident. 
The car bonnet all of a sudden shot up, smashed into my front windscreen, and due to the momentum got lodged within the windscreen.  Having managed to get the LHS of the road (after doing an emergency stop in the fast lane of what was becoming rush-hour traffic, I managed to limp my way across the 3 lane carriageway), I then called the Police and AA. I obviously wanted to take this up directly with Renault UK - due the potential 'Safety Defect' and that the car was still within the 3 year manufactures warranty.
The car was towed to the garage where we initially purchased the car (from new) and who had complete two services on the car (although Renault Service is 18k miles or 2years, I wanted a lubrication service after the first year, and the main 18k service in the 2nd year).  The local garage confirmed at 11:00BST that the "safety catch although functioning was not lubricated recently and was found to be stiff". 
Having followed up with Renault UK, they commented that after inspecting the "photographs" received from the garage (from the same garage that did the car servicing!), that there is no fault with the bonnet latches/catches that could comment on, and therefore do not accept any liability for the incident.
In short, they are parking blame directly with me.
I did top up the Windscreen Washer Water about 3-4 weeks ago, and ensured (like I always do), that the bonnet was dropped shut and was flush - i.e. ensuring it was not "on safety" only.  I am aware that the bonnet release (from inside) on releases the 1st catches but the safety catch is a secondary release.  My thoughts are (not being a mechanic - but using common sense), if the bonnet was not closed properly, the bonnet would be vibrating and also would NOT have been flush; there would have been a gap and would move/open if tugged at.  This was not the case - as would have been easily spotted when checking the bonnet, getting into the car, and also seen and heard when driving.  Therefore, I am comfortable in that this is not the issue.
Therefore, somehow the catches have failed (both the main ones and safety catch), although by inspecting the photo's Renault UK have stated that this are seen as fully functioning.
I was very concerned to make an insurance claim as I would lose 2 of my 3 years no-claims (it's not protected), and also pay the necessary excess for something that I feel is no part of my own. 
I was so lucky that I, nor any other motorists on that same stretch of road that morning were involved in a more fatal or severe road accident, and managed to quickly pull over without causing too many issues for everyone else! 
One VERY lucky escape!  Here comes the fun-part of trying to take it up with Renault...more news to follow!

The quotation! (Part 2)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-03-30 19:25:46
Well the quotation has been formally received - the repair works would costs just over £2700! 
Renault UK will not accept any liability and will not pay for the repair - and therefore implying I should claim through my insurance - no chance!
Communication and "paying"! (Part 3)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-03-31 18:29:08
Having discussed over numerous phone calls between Renault UK, the garage (Baldock's Renault of Wivelsfield) and the new car dealer (Tates Renault of Hollingbury!), I have had some success confirmed today! :sigh  
Renault UK have confirmed that they will settle the repair work directly with Baldocks Renault.  
However, it wasn't as simple as this! They initially wanted Tates Renault and Baldocks Renault to split the costs between them. Both declined, so Renault UK agreed to then cover £2500 - yes £200 short, and requested Tates Renault and me (yes me!) to share the difference! Again, fat chance! 
After much pushing and tooing and froing, Baldocks Renault agreed to reduce the bill down to £2500 and Renault UK agreed to settle this themselves. 
Do they call this Customer Service - they were actually expecting me to "thank them"!?? For what exactly??????? :?
This is not over! (Part 4)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-03-31 23:22:45
Well, I am going to get my courtesy car on Monday (hopefully) - of course, I am not paying a penny towards this! I've advised Renault UK that I am expecting to collect a car and it's between them and Baldock's to sort out who is paying! 
In regards (more importantly!) to my new car, well the new car dealer will not complete the transaction until they receive the repaired car. We are now looking at about 7-10 days delay!  
Someone will have to pay for this time difference - and it ain't going to be me!  
Part 5 to follow!!
Courtesy car - and next actions (Part 5)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-04-06 18:40:03
Ok, I've now received my courtesy car on Monday evening - which at the very least removes my "commuting" issue - and asking for favours from family, friends and work colleagues - and the dealer is covering the costs which is a nice gesture!  
Regarding the actual event, well I've written a letter to the MD of Renault UK and the Servicing and Quality Director to look into - as feel that I have not had the support or service from their Customer department regarding the potential safety defect.  
Unfortunately, my new dealer is not willing to provide me with the new car, until the time when my damaged car is repaired and delivered to them! 
I am definitely looking for a settlement to cover the delay in getting the new car!! Absolutely abysmal episode! I just want my new car!!! 
Renault Looks to Withdraw Offer (Part 6)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-04-14 11:46:42
Well, I've now pretty much received an ultimatum from Renault UK. :upset  
Either, I accept their "goodwill gesture" and get the car repaired, case closed and I move on, or they [Renault UK] will withdraw the gesture and I am back to square one, having to them claim through the insurance - if I wish to pursue my case to find out the cause of the incident! 
Boy what a nasty predicament to be in. This makes me feel very threatened!? Are they trying to hide something or are they simply just trying to close the case?
BBC Watchdog (Part 7)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-04-25 20:59:19
Well, well, well. I have been told a pack of lies - those people who call themselves "Renault UK Customer Services", actually misled me in several aspects. :( Largely, addressed by a National TV report by the BBC1's flagship Consumer programme, "Watchdog" :upset . This show went out on 25th April (yes today!), and went on to explain the "bonnet release" situation experienced by several viewers: 
"Renault Clio car bonnets:  
The bonnets of some Renault Clio's suddenly flip up while the car is moving at speed. Watchdog investigates. (25 April 2006) 
The Renault Clio is the only car ever to have won What Car's 'Car of the Year' award twice. It's sharp and sexy with lots of 'va, va, voom'. But there's a catch and according to some Watchdog viewers, it's not a very reliable one. 
Kate Stubbs was driving at nearly 97kmph (60mph) down a busy road when the bonnet of her Renault Clio suddenly flipped up, obscuring her vision, cracking her windscreen and damaging the bonnet and roof of the car. 
Stubbs decided to investigate the matter on the internet. She found other similar incidents involving the Renault Clio. 
Keith Lewington works for a fleet management company. He collects and delivers hundreds of cars a year. Lewington thought that it was just bad luck when the bonnet flipped up on a car he was delivering for work. However, when word went round the fleet that this same thing had happened to four other Clios, Lewington got in touch with us.  
A coincidence? Watchdog has received other complaints of bonnets opening unexpectedly on the Renault Clio, specifically on models ranging from 1997 to 2001. 
Since 2001, Renault Clio's are now fitted with a modified bonnet catch.  
Martin Woodhouse, a mechanic with more than 30 years experience, explained to Watchdog that the Clio's safety catches for these models are inferior in both design and quality.  
Renault says the safety of its customers is of paramount importance and it takes any customer issue extremely seriously. 
It says it's aware of an extremely small number of cases, where a problem has been reported about the bonnet catch mechanism, but that no pattern has emerged highlighting one particular component to be at fault. "
BBC1 Watchdog - 25th April 2006
BBCWatchdog - Renault's Response (Part8)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-05-12 13:38:16
Well, after the report on BBC Watchdog on 25 April 2006, Renault UK has responded 'disclaiming' some portions of the report. However, I note that they have not indicated that it was "not true"!!!! 
The SAGA continues... :upset  
The following details the latest Watchdog update on 2nd May: 
"On 25 April 2006, we told you about the bonnets on some Renault Clios which had suddenly flipped up.  
Renault has asked us to make it clear that it made a minor modification to the catch in 2001. The metal hook that we featured last week only came into effect in 2006.  
Since our programme, you have told us about over a hundred similar incidents where the bonnet catch has failed. These relate to Clios manufactured before and after 2001 when the first modification was made. Renault says that, as a result of our programme, VOSA (The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) has inspected several cars and it's not aware of any fault having been found with the mechanism.  
Renault UK says that any customers who were concerned by our report on 25 April can speak directly to its customer services on a freephone number, 08000 723372.  
In addition, Renault is offering a free check at any of its dealerships for concerned Clio owners. This will be provided free of charge. "
BBC1 Watchdog - 2nd May 2006 
I also note that they have theoretically extended the period of the 'cars affected', from 2001 (according to Watchdog) to 2005 (according to Renault UK), so you are talking about a period from 1997-2005 - that's a lot of cars! 
I also like the last paragraph, so you got to a Renault garage for reassurance and a bonnet check - methinks after a quick look under the bonnet, the response is "yeah it's fine". Also, doesn't this mean Renault have started to identify a potential issue here by this "action" - or am I being cynical and is this a genuine re-assurance exercise!? Who knows?
VOSA and My Car Repairs (Part 9)
Written by abrigatti on 2007-04-07 12:08:04
The Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA) have visited Renault UK, to discuss my case (and for 'other matters' - probably referring the other cases subsequently reported to VOSA). Hopefully I hear something from them, but was advised it can be a lengthy process! :sigh  
Some added good news is that I spoke with Baldocks Renault (the dealer is who is repairing my old car), and they informed me that I can now collect my "repaired" car this Friday - including full valet and wash! :)  
Hopefully the "bonnet catch" has been lubricated, 'cos I have to travel down to Brighton Hollingbury to collect my new car - I can't wait!!!! Wahoo!!!!!!! Just over 6 weeks delay... :(  
More news to follow. 
Delivery of my New Car (Part 10)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-05-13 16:25:04
Finally, I've taken delivery of my new car - having picked up the 'repaired' old car as part-exchange.  
I attempted to complete this exchange late on Friday, but back-to-back meetings prevented me leaving work early. :(  
Looking at the repairs, they seemed to have been finished quite nicely - one couldn't even tell of the incident by looking at the car: new bonnet, new windscreen, new wipers, new paint for the roof, side panels and bonnet! All for that GBP £2700 sum - which luckily I didn't have to pay! :p  
Oh, a nice valet and hoover - was a nice touch! Shame I didn't enjoy this "new look" of the old car for long! But I get my new car so methinks this is a bonus!
Found the forum that was on BBC Watchdog
Written by abrigatti on 2007-04-10 15:57:57
Well, having attempted numerous times to locate the Forum featured on the Watchdog programme on 25th April, I've located it now! So here it is: 
To register to post a reply on the forum, click here: 
Renaul Forums registration
Follow-up with Renault (Part 11)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-05-14 08:20:11
I decided to wait to take delivery of my new car (to ensure that there were no obstacles during my part-exchange). 
After which I wrote a further letter on 13th May highlighting my dissatisfaction with the whole manner in which they supported me (that should "lack of support!!) and the many areas which the failed in their duty of care! 
I went on to re-emphasise that I am still looking for answers into the incident - where something did indeed go wrong with the bonnet catch and lock mechanisms!
Escalation to Renault Grp CEO (Part 12)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-06-16 23:52:23
I submitted a letter to the Renault Group's CEO explaining a brief summary of the incident, background of the failures by Renault UK and list of actions I was expected the Renault Group to address. 
I didnot get an acknowledge nor personal response, but instead received a letter from Alex Phelan (Renault UK) who discounted me letter and points I raised...he emphasised that Renault do not agree that anything went wrong with the catches - I guess that they have to stand by their story! But what incompetence is there in this storyline they are taking? 
He indicated that I received (as a gesture of goodwill) the repair costs covered by them, so felt I had already received something. What Alex failed to understand is 1) I didn't receive a penny of this, it was sent directly to the garage who completed the repairs and 2) this was offered as I was a loyal customer and not due to the incident - so actually was out of context of my case and claim! Morons!
Further follow-up (Part 13)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-07-05 11:21:11
I sent a further correspondence to Renault UK, explaining that I was unwilling and it was impossible to accept their stand without sight of the technical can only assume that they are hiding something based on the fact that repeatedly declined to provide me a copy of the report! 
I explained to him that the terminology used by Renault had to be made clearer, in that the talk about bonnet catches being engaged, functioning and not broken all had to be put into context (they were not doing this!)  
My concern is that as the bonnets weren't broken, means that they weren't engaged at all when the bonnet released, so what made the bonnet that was originally securely closed properly release itself? This is the burning question which remains unanswered! Why, why and why? 
Renault are implying that as the catches were broken this means that there is no defect- they fail to grasp that this actually is the ultimate issue - why weren't they engaged...because if they weren't engaged then of course they wouldn't "break"! Simple logic hey?  
I re-emphasised the clear facts behind the incident and explained numerous cases were still occurring people were in contact with me (via that Renault Forum which I mentioned in a few updates back!) 
More news soon....hopefully with a more positive response from Renault - hahahaha fat chance!!!
Renault's Reply (Part 14)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-07-20 21:15:55
Renault replied and decided to take the line that although they agree that "functioning" and "engaged" is different, they still believed the assessment they completed indicates that there is nothing that should mean the catches were not effective. They don't believe catches can suddenly release themselves without warning...the ironic thing is they did! :upset  
They then declined my invitation for a face-to-face meeting to discuss and resolve this matter once and for all! They are just playing silly buggers - maybe they DO have something to hide, hence the denial approach???? :eek
Another follow-up (Part 15)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-07-28 10:13:05
Decided to take a more summary view of the whole episode thus far. 
Wrote a letter on 26th July re-confirming what I done previouly, the background behind the journey and so far, re-indicating that the bonnet was flush and was secure after the last time I closed the bonnet!  
I posed questions for Renault to respond to covering things like what "signals" I was expected to see to tell if a bonnet wasn't closed properly, why didn't the safety engage when the bonnet was flush? Safety engages prior to main catch mechanism! 
And lastly, why Renault chose the easiest option to exhonerate any blame in the direction of Renault...very "easy" approach this!
Renault's further reply (Part 16)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-08-10 20:11:07
Well Renault remain undeterred :upset  
They emphasised the safety is of "paramount importance" - I am sure I heard this before... 
They refuted any talk about metal fatigue and confirmed that it was the last person who closed the bonnet that caused the incident - how "comfortable" is this excuse for them, hey? 
And declined the face to face meeting I requested! :sigh
Well 5 months on! (Part 17)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-08-20 10:50:42
Can you believe it's been 5 months since I experienced the incident, and still no joy with Renault!! :upset  
I sent a further note to Renault explaining that my manner in which I close the bonnet has been proven to be sound by various garages (inc Renault dealerships!) 
Everything still indicates to issues with the mechanism operation and I provided a further alternative suggestion into the cause - it seems to be providing possibile suggestions - even though they are the "technical experts" and have the report. The identify approach was around the fact that as the main mechanism is of basic design, dirt, water and other debris can collect in the recess meaning that the main catch may engage and seem secure but not actually be fully engaged properly...together with the torque and tension of the bonnet during transit, this could be enough to disengage the catch without breaking it. 
Add to this the fact that the safety catch was stiff and Watchdog has proved that it may not go back to the default 'hold' (secure) position, means that if the main catch failed, the safety might not have been engaged to stop the bonnet releasing itself all the way - thus causing the incidents reported...both catches would not be broken, and would appear to be secure when the bonnet was last closed - even if was by a Renault garage!! 
Again, ending with the point about the need for a more fruitful discussion with them! :(  
I am also impressed with the Renault forums feedback - it's been brilliant! 
Short response (Part 18)
Written by abrigatti on 2006-09-02 20:11:50
Renault submitted a very quick and short, concise response...stating that they have no further comment to make. 
Ummmm...the blantant silence act is to follow - hey? 
Maybe things are now turning legal?
Another forum listing
Written by abrigatti on 2006-09-03 14:49:26
Well I found another forum providing details of this "issue", it's located on
Same thing happened to me yesterday
Written by Meesh on 2006-11-02 19:57:22
Is there anyway I can email or discus this with you privatley? 
The exact same thing happened to me yesterday and I am so annoyed by the response of Renault. Like you I am comitted to see this through as I believe Renault will end up with blood on there hands over this if something is not done.
Contact Me
Written by abrigatti on 2006-11-03 00:09:45
Thanks for your note... 
Pls use the contact us section but pls leave me your landline or mobile to contact you and discuss...Aaron.
Written by Guest on 2007-01-25 12:53:14
I have a Renault Clio manufactured/registered November 2001 very concerned about this am going to contact Renault customer service line for free check. I did have a small accident and since then I have had trouble even opening the bonnet at all. Good Luck hope you get them to pay out they are liable certainly but obviously they are waiting for a death before they do anything disgusting
Links to the Other Blog Entries
Written by abrigatti on 2007-04-07 12:05:44
Here are the links to my most recent Blog entries regarding this incident, to enable you all to follow the current progress thread: 
Miss K O
Written by Guest on 2010-01-12 18:36:21
Hi, this happened to me sunday 10/1/2010 and I was not aware of the problem and it was truely terrifying. As predicted from other stories Renault try to blame in on anythig except themselves and I am waiting for an assessment from the garage through my insurance company. Lets see what happens!
Steph P
Written by Guest on 2010-01-14 14:44:57
Well thats alot of info, I basically got the same treatment that it was all my fault blah blah blah. Why can renault not see it is a design fault???? the new clios and older clios amazingly have different catches and yet there is very little about theirs opening whilst driving. and for renault to say about if you got at speed you are more than likely to have your bonnet open, er hello, i was only doing 30mph and under and it cost me £1500 of damage!
Search "Renault" to get more Blog link
Written by Guest on 2010-02-20 13:57:51
I didn't get around to providing all of the links to the documentation sent to and from Renault. So use the search function and look-up "Renault" for more of the latest communications.  
My last correspondence was May 2009, but feel that with more reports occurring, I should send a further note to Renault! 
Why are cases continuing to happen, hey?
Written by Guest on 2010-03-02 18:17:31
This happened to me today as i was travelling with my 90 year old mother.Was doing 50mph on a busy road when the bonnet shot up and shattered my windscreen,ive never had such a fright as that today.I have phoned Renault and im waiting on a return call.Will let you know how i get on
Extremely Frustrating!
Written by abrigatti on 2010-03-13 18:17:36
It remains extremely frustrating to keep hearing that the incidents of bonnets flying up without warn continue to occur. Some 4 years have passed since I experienced my incident, one of the first that had been reported to Renault...just shows that their limited resolution actions simply aren't working!
Written by Guest on 2010-03-25 05:01:21
Well Renault says its owners fault for not maintaining bonnet clip,they say 2 letters were sent out for my car to have it checked but they were sent to previous owner.Renault did send a new bonnet clip to garage my car was getting repaired at and then car had to be taken to Renault garage to be checked it was fitted properly.If it was my fault for not maintaining the clip,why were the letters sent out and why did Renault go to the bother of sending new bonnet clip if it wasn't their fault ! :(

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