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post #540 of (permalink) Old 10th March 2007
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Two Battles for the Price of One!?

Originally Posted by brigatti View Post
Right all.....firstly, hello from sunny and warm Cyprus!

I've received a letter from Hugh Edwards @ VOSA - in reply to my recent correspondence back to VOSA - outlining my concerns in the approach that they have "completed" their investigations...

Can't go into details (mainly as I can't recall them specifically), but the long and short of it, is that VOSA still do not think they have done anything wrong.....

They have completed 2 inspections on damaged cars and they have indicated that once "banged back" into shape, the bonnet appeared to connect correctly with the catch mechanism - and even with 2 man-power worth of force, they were unable to release the bonnet on either the main or safety catch. They indicated that the apparent release was due to the safety catch not being "engaged" - 1000 catches replicated this same stand (safety catch "not engaged"!??) - they blamed that the bonnet was not "closed properly" (where have we heard this before, hmmmm....let me think!! [*sarcastic*]). I think they also forgot one thing, it happened once on that particular car - so "something" went wrong. So to summarise, they concluded on two cases that there is a chance that the "safety catch" is not always engaged (if it is not-maintained (although Renault implied in an earlier letter - that the catches are self-pertuating and do not not require any form of maintenance!) - hmmm....a contradiction!?

They also did a further 5 inspections, 3 of VOSA employees and 2 other cars - and no issue were found (no details on background of the cars, and condition etc - so unsure on validity of these - we need the technical reports really...i.e. age of car, status at inspection (were the cars "just serviced" by Renault?).

This brings the number of "analysis" (inspection) that VOSA has completed to the magic 10 - yes just 10 vehicles (not the first 2 aren't counted - as no VOSA inspection completed!):
  • 2 damaged car report inspected (no VOSA inspections completed).
  • 3 spot checks on "serviced" cars at the local Renault dealership - no issue identified.
  • 2 inspections on damaged cars - safety catch was stiff and not engaged, but issue was down to closing the bonnet! (BURNING QUESTION >>> how would one know the safety is not engaged?) - need VOSA to let me know the answer!
  • 5 further inspectons (undamaged cars) - no issue reported.

Thoughts please! I've already drafted my response - but before including here, thought I'd open it to the floor

Astronishment really!
Right having arrived back today, I almost can't stop laughing at the implausible and incoherent response that I received from VOSA. Here it is:

"I fully understand your concerns with the 350,000 Renault Clio Mk2 vehicles in use in the UK.

VOSA continues to monitor this situation and has, to date, accompanied Renault Engineers on inspections of 2 vehicles where the bonnet opened whilst the vehicle was in use. In both cases no design or construction deficiency was noted. However, in both cases the safety catch was not maintained and found to be stuck in the released position. The only conclusion that could be reached in these 2 cases was the bonnet was not closed properly.

In both these cases, VOSA engineers managed to re-shape the bonnets so that they could be correctly closed as prescribed in the vehicle handbook. Attempts to lift the bonnet when fully closed by 2 pesons applying a considerable oscillating force failed to unlatch the bonnet when it was secured by either the main or safety catch.

Additionaly, VOSA engineers have selected a further 4 Clio vehicles at random - 2 belonging to VOSA employees and 2 which were at body repairers. The same methodology was applied to attempt to open the bonnets. No defects were found.

We have analysed the annual MOT test data, as part of the test includes a specific check on the retaining devices of a bonnet which when opened would obscure the drivers view thrhough the windscreen. The search for the last year shows there to be a low overall failure for all vehicles types of 0.11%. For all Renault Clio vehicles this is 0.15% and for those vehicles built between 1998-2002 the failure rate is 0.11% which indicates no significant trend.

It may also be helpful to know that one freelance journalist/researched and a major Insurance Company whom we have been in communication about this matter and who have also investigated this on behalf of our clients, are also of the opinion that this is not a design or construction deficiency.

Therefore, to date, we have no evidence to cause us to reconsider our view which is that this issue is not a matter to be addressed under the terms of the Code of Practice.

Turning now to your question about why didn't the VSB inspect the entire case file. Renault has kept us informed of the outcome of the inspections they have conducted. As the responsibility for the investigation rests with them - as it is they who have the detailed product knowledge and experts - and that their findings to date concur with ours, then VOSA sees no need to do so.

Regarding your particular case and our scenarios regarding the performance of the bonnet catches, this is something on which VOSA cannot comment and is a matter for Renault.

We will continue to work with Renault to monitor this situation."

What on earth is going on's kinda like I'm fighting TWO battles here - Renault and VOSA - why?????


Aaron Brigatti
Brigatti Online -

Clio Bonnet-Catch Issues?
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