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post #391 of (permalink) Old 7th February 2007
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VOSA's response to my earlier "comments" letter to them

Well, following my complaint to VOSA - in the way their edalt with mine and I guess the number of other cases filed to them, here's the Director's (who remit includes the VSB) reponse:

"I am afraid that I do not agree that the Vehicle Safety Branch (VSB) has failed in its duties in communicating updates on progress in this matter. My letter of 20 December 2006 refers. I note also that VSB wrote to you on 12 January 2007 to inform you of the oucome of the meeting with Renault on 9 January 2007. Unfortunately, this meeting had to be moved from December 2006.
[Aaron >> nice of them to tell me prior to this happening! That's not what I call being "kept informed" is it?]

I am sorry that you are not satisfied that VOSA is acting in the public interest or that we are "driving" the manufacturer sufficiently hard to deal with these cases. [Aaron >> Least they had the kindness to acknowledge the point I made in my letter - although no resolve in response to it though!] Like the many thousands of other cases that VOSA has dealt with under the terms of the Code of Practice - which, incidently, has been responsible for the recall of over 41 million vehicles and other actions in the UK since 1979 - I am satisfied that this case is being conducted appropriately, in accordance with our normal procedures, with a high level of involvement from VSB automotive engineering staff.[Aaron >> Cough, cough, splutter, splutter, would question whether this is still the case, as the competency of those involved has been in "question" - I guess he has to back up his staff though - so no surprise really on this comment!]

VSB engineers often participate in the investigation of safety defects and the inspections of the actual or types of vehicles involved. [Aaron >> good to know but... (read the next point)?] VOSA has only received two official reports of Clio bonnet release - one of which was repaired before it could be inspected. The other was yours, which the manufacturer comprehensively inspected on 12 April 2006 and consequently we saw no reason to re-inspect the vehicle. [Aaron >> Okay lets put this into context, I know more than 2 cases have been filed to VOSA VSB - only two have subsequently involved a technical report!???? What about the other cases filed to them - no evidence collated - of course VSB can't make a stand without evidence - isn't this plain incompetent?]But we did randomly inspect three unprepared circa 1998/99 Clio vehicles which were in for service, mechanical repair or part exchange at a local dealership. No design or construction deficiencise were found. [Aaron >> Again, in context there have been 2 technical reports reviewed, and 3 cars - what on earth is this?????]

Additional, Renault, having conducted many inspections - and more following the most recent BBC Watchdog programme - still maintain, following extensive tests of the bonnet catches and their inspections of vehicles where the bonnet became unlatched, that there is no evidence of a design or construction defect. They assert that the most likely causes are either that the bonnet may not have been closed as prescribed in the handbook, or there was previous damage to the body and catches, or the catches were partially seized and not maintained. [Aaron >> In my case I know my bonnet was closed properly (else it would have released far earlier in the journey and not after 4 weeks! Damange to the body / catches - well Renault indicated that this was no the case (although the bonnet was damage post-incident (obvious, reasons!), so the only thing left is "maintenance"....the irony is that Renault choose the first one in my case - not closing the bonnet properly - dunno why though!? Esp, since I know this was an untrue scenario! I have confirmation that actually the last one is in question - as the mechanism was found to be "stiff" - when the Renault dealership inspected the bonnet catches post-incident!]

Your request, under the Freedom of Information Act for all the conversation transcripts, meeting minutes, e-mail correspondence and other mailings has been passed to the VOSA Informaion Management Services branch who will be in contact with you.
[Aaron >> 20 days and counting!]

In the matter of the Renault Technical report completed on you vehicle - and for the matter any such report - this could only be released with the permission of the manufacturer or, if ordered to do so by a Court. VSB did request the manufacturer to authorise release of your report but this was refused. Stuart Jenkins informed you of this by e-mail on 25 May 2006. Should you wish to pursue this you should contact Renault direct.
[Aaron >> What can one add to this??]

I note that you are unable to accept the outcome of our internal investigations and that you request technical evidence that there are no maintenance, mechanical or safety issues with the catch. [Aaron >> nglad it was clear what I wanted then!!] This is a matter and the responsibility of Renault, who remain in weekly contact with VOSA and who continue to obtain information about allegations of bonnet release and who have been in contact with BBC Watchdog. [Aaron >> so Renault have "not closed" their internal investigations then on this matter, good to see!]

Currently, we understand, from the evidence that they have obtained Renault's position has not changed.

Finally, regarding the point in your e-mail about the Renault instructions to dealers in respect of the maintenance of the catches, this is something on which VOSA cannot comment and a matter for Renault.
[Aaron >> fair point, but couldn't comment whether this was a contributable factor towards the reported incidents?]

VOSA will continue to follow-up reports we receive and to monitor this situation closely but at present have no evidence to cause us to change our stance.
[Aaron >> in short, VOSA have NOT CLOSED their investigation on this - so keep filing your reports to VOSA!!! AND ask them to complete inspections on your car!!!]

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Edwards
Director, Goods Vehicles, VOSA"

What more can one say? Your views?


Aaron Brigatti
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