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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Monday, 15 March 2010

Another day, another Renault response.  Well at least I received a response this time.  Shame I can really tear their response to pieces (as always!):

"It is extremely disappointing that you failed to acknowledge the core context of my last few correspondences. I am not looking for repeated quotes of what previous actions you have taken, but an outline response for the action(s) you have chosen not to undertake or accept. Namely, why you feel a formal and recorded recall of your Clio-2 base is not deemed necessary by Renault-Nissan Group.

You have repeatedly referenced the Renault’s Engineer’s June 2006 report on my particular vehicle (inspected in April 2006) and the report DoT VOSA compiled on 28th April 2006 following a visit to City Motors Bristol; no other reports have been compiled by VOSA to support the Clio 2 Bonnet catch safety risk since then. VOSA had admitted that they did not have any technical experts in the field of the Bonnet Catch mechanisms and relied solely on the support and technical knowledge of Renault Engineers. Therefore, there was an apparent lack of impartiality and transparency during the VOSA and Renault investigation for the root-cause of the issue. Therefore, I do not believe it is wise to keep referencing these reports in your responses.

However, I have taken this opportunity to repeat a few elements that appeared to be omitted from the reports, and which Renault Group has a duty of care to respond to as a “safety-conscious” manufacturer.

1. The reports implied that the individual catch mechanisms were both operational, what has not been analysed is the possibility that the safety catch is disengaged at a time when the main catch is engaged. There appears to be possibility of the safety catch being disengaged with the current design and functionality of the bonnet mechanism (including the maintenance condition at the time of my particular incident), i.e. an owner cannot tell that the safety catch is “engaged” securely or not.

Q) Can you please review this and explain why there is a possibility that a secondary/safety catch can remain in a “stuck open” position irrespective of whether the main catch is engaged or not? Also, explain how a user can tell that a safety catch is not “stuck open” when the main catch is secured/engaged and the bonnet is flush.

The referenced reports do not mention this, so it is clear that this has not been investigated thoroughly. I reference a written explanation in my particular case (from a Renault Mechanic) that the secondary “safety catch had not been lubricated recently and was found to be stiff”. This infers that with the surface corrosion reported, the overall mechanism functionality was at risk on my vehicle. Such a risk is sufficient to question doubts of the quality of the mechanism featured on my vehicle and the safety catch functionality thereof. By following your “bonnet closure” guidelines, there is no guarantee that closing a bonnet can indicate that the safety catch is engaged and secured.

2. There is another element which are inferred by referencing the Renault/VOSA reports, namely that the functionality (both design and manufacturing) has changed from the original design specifications laid out by Renault Group. Something that changes from “maintenance-free”, to one that “requires maintenance”, implies that the safety mechanism has not functioned as originally conceived, due to the apparent functional risk that exists with the parts. This, as I understand it, infers that a defect is apparent with the safety mechanism; simply that a mechanism which had been designed with a particular maintenance condition but cannot not operate as such, implies a risk exists to the quality of the mechanism.

Q) Can you please advise why this change in design and manufacturing was necessary, and why Renault Group has needed to replace parts where corrosion exists in the safety mechanism, if the mechanism parts are “not defective” as designed?

3. Renault has implied that you were aware of the risk to the parts in question, and had to notify the UK owner’s of this risk caused. Doesn’t this mean that a safety risk exists if parts related to a safety mechanism have to be replaced and the owner’s notified? In notifying owners, why did Renault not used the Recall system? Isn’t this the purpose of this recall process?

For a safety conscious manufacturer, one would have advised a voluntary acceptance that the risk to your Clio-2 owners was too great, and issued a formal recall. By “inviting” customers for a free check, this does not appears to be working effectively, as issues continued to be reported over the last 4 years with recent reports being raised as of this week.

Q) Can you please advise why you have not issued (voluntary) a formal recall? Isn’t this the process for a responsible and safety conscious manufacturer to resolve a risk to your vehicles?

The liability of all cases where you have failed to notify the owners or the mechanism parts remains at risk continue to lie with the Renault Group. You have not accounted for vehicle servicing outside of the Renault servicing network, which remain at a significant safety risk.

Failing to act honourable will mean that Renault will not fully resolve this issue and the risk will still exist with your vehicles in the UK and around the world.

There are a number of questions which remain unanswered and actions which have not yet been undertaken by Renault Group. Only at this point can you consider that the Renault Group acted responsibly and will we stop seeing reports of cases occurring in the UK (and in your global markets).

I call upon the Renault Group to do the necessary actions, complete a full recall, replace all defective parts with a newly designed safety mechanism and look to fully mitigate this apparent safety risk."

What do you think?  Let me know and respond with your thoughts...

Crap reply from Renault UK
Written by abrigatti on 2010-03-26 20:59:37
Well I received a response today from the "Senior Customer Support Manager" from Renault UK - lets just label this as quite an incompetent response: 
"Thank your for your further letter and email in relation to your ongoing concern over the bonnet catch mechanism. Your comments on this issue are acknowledged.  
Over time, we have fully communicated our considerations on this matter to you and have no further comments to add".
Not surprising I guess, but this doesn't mean we should accept a null response as acceptable. They need to honour the fact that they are responsibility for all cases and a recall is required. Your comments very welcome...

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