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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Saturday, 03 March 2007

Another poor response, another letter off to Renault UK Head Office and Renault France (Global HQ):

"The last two replies that I have reeived from Mr Phelan question his professionalism, integrity and ability to respond as a representative of Renault UK.  It would appear that his comments conflicts with thephilosophy and values of Renault on 'safefy' issues.  I do not believe Mr Phelan is in the appropriate position to further comment on this matter.  i would prefer to communicate to the Executive Office going forward, as the credibility of your UK Customer Service Department has repeatedly come into question during the case.

A matter should only be settled once all parties are in agreement with the findings of a case.  The only way the case is to be concluded to my satisfaction is after a true, complete and transparent assessment by Renault and VOSA, behind the root cause of the incident.

Since the indicate, I have yet to receive the comprehensive responses to all of the questions I raised - a number of which would provide an insight into the potential causes of the incident.  Renault still owes me a duty of care and to respond satisfactorily to the numerous questions and statements which remain unanswered. This is the approach that I would consider to allow me to look at settling this case.

Renault has commented that it is 'unable to give a definite cause of the incident' (in the letter dated 19th April 2006) - after completing the inspection on my Clio. This letter implied that 'as the catches weren't broken' this enabled Renault to reach its conclusion tha it is 'not a manufacturing defect'.  This assumption linking the two points (incorrectly in my opinion) that as the catches weren't 'broken' to signify that it is not functioning correctly, all this proves is that the catches 'released themselves' as part of the incident - without causing damage to the catches themselves.  This point should simply raises the question as to why the catches released themselves without the safety catch engaged or being deployed fully 'as designed' - thus indicating an apparent failure in the safety catch mechanism.

In Renault's letter dated 13th June 2006, it indicated that 'Safety is of paramount importance and in an event of an inherent problem arising with our vehicles, as a responsible manufacture we will inform our customers and take corrective action'.  I don't believe advising your 'dealership to maintain these catches will suffice under this context.  This statement and your current stance as quoted in your statement in response to BBC Watchdog's programme are in contradictions with one another.

Renault indicated on 14th July 2006 that 'Any problem with the operation of the bonnet lock and catches would be noticed during routine checks and maintenance' - how can this occur if your dealerships weren't responsible for maintainng these during servicing?  This is further compunded by Renault's statement on 7th August 2006 which advised that the 'the process [of closing the bonnet] is self-perpetuating, so it does not reply on any particular level of maintenance'.  If this is the case, why are you implying to your dealerships and customers that 'lack of maintenance' is a contributable factor?  Design, maintenance and the safety performance of the catch mechanisms are seemingly inter-related and there is a cause of doubt in the functionality of the mechanism by the current viewpoints provided.  If this is the case a recall is the only suggested option available to you 'as a responsible manufacture'.

I maintain that I was accepting the settlement for the repair costs - not as a 'goodwill gesture' - only to take delivery of my new car; there was always a need to find out the root-cause of the incident, which still remains an unknown.  Renault has not shown any accuracy in the way the investigation was completed nor the way the gesture was offered and accepted.  I would like to direct you to Renault's letter dated 13th April 2006 which mentioned that 'Due to the loyalty to Renault UK< it has been agreed that as a goodwill gesture, we [Renault UK] will cover the cost of the repair, in order for you to take delivery of the new vehcile from Tates'.  Settlement of the repair costs was nothing to do with the root-cause analysis or my additional follow-up discussions; at this stage I have not received anything relating to experiencing the incident itself. By this very nature, you are implying you are not only aware of the issue (and that it is common to Renault vehicles), but also there is reason to doubt the integrity of the catch functionality in circumstances when the catches may become stiff and not 100% effective. Now in conclusion, this has implied an inherent issue with not only the manufacturing and design of the catch, but the maintenance process – which I re-iterate is the responsible and liability of Renault UK up to your statement dated 23rd January 2007 – which transitioned the liability to your dealerships. My final point would therefore be that I hold Renault UK wholly liable and responsible for the root-cause behind the incident. I have not received any supported evidence that counters this statement; Renault needs to offer support and guidance to ensure the root-cause of the issues are fully resolved and agree upon an amicable settlement for the Clio owners affected by this apparent safety-defect." 

Hmmm...guess there will be a slight delay in getting a response to this one then! 

Null reply from Renault MD / SQD
Written by abrigatti on 2007-04-09 18:12:08
...well a null reply to the last letter (above) which I sent to the MD and SQD of Renault UK (it was also cc'd to the Chairman and CEO of Renault Group). 
Guess this is how they like to treat "safety-issues" then, by means of blatant denial!! 
Arrogant people!

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