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post #608 of (permalink) Old 29th March 2007
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Exposed: Renault Clio bonnet catch problems

just saw this on MSN.

Exposed: Renault Clio problems

By Richard Aucock
March 29 2007

Allegedly, Renault knows Clio II bonnet catches are badly designed and corrode over time. Well, that is the line from the company’s former PR manager, who appeared on BBC’s Watchdog last night to ‘blow his whistle’.
This is the latest chapter in the ongoing furore surrounding the late ‘90s hatch, which the BBC says has been the subject of “over 1,000 complaints”. It is said the catches fail and cause the bonnet to fly open at speed. The BBC has a brace of people who say they have crashed because of this. Last night, we apparently got the ‘inside story’.
Graeme Holt, the ex-Renault man, continued his allegations that the company would not admit the problem, that instead it chose to blame poor maintenance, or the owners for failing to close the bonnet correctly. If it is a maintenance issue, he said, why is it not mentioned in the owner’s handbook? It was gripping TV: Watchdog has now featured the Clio bonnet catch issue three times, and clearly has an axe to grind. Renault’s PR Director had a right to reply on the show, and was given no quarter. His response? Renault and VOSA, an independent governing body, “conclude no design or construction defect”.
• Do you own a Clio II and have you suffered bonnet catch issues? Tell us on our Message Boards
Renault is writing to all Clio II owners (half a million of them in the UK), asking them to visit a local dealer for a safety check. If they reckon “corrective action” is needed, they will do it for free. If you own a Clio II, look out for something in the post. But what exactly happens? Well, it seems that while factory-fresh catches are fine, after a few years’ accumulation of dirt, they begin to corrode. And, according to an expert on the show, this leads to the safety lever (the bit you lift up when you open the bonnet) sticking, with obvious consequences.
• Driven: Renault Clio II
The current Clio III has a redesigned, problem-free catch. Trouble is, as pointed out on the show, the Clio Campus remains on sale – which is nothing but a renamed Clio II, and which features the same design of bonnet catch. Mindful of how a disastrous Euro NCAP crash test score effectively killed off the Rover 100, we wonder if sales of the Clio Campus will be similarly affected? More importantly, will Renault’s actions be enough to appease customers? Last night’s show didn’t leave the French company in a good light, and we are sure this will not be the last we hear of the issue.
Renault customer services : 08000 723 372
• Do you own a Clio II and have you suffered bonnet catch issues? Tell us on our Message Boards
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