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post #620 of (permalink) Old 2nd April 2007
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Originally Posted by Meesh View Post

Renault UK is a responsible manufacturer and prides itself on safety with more five-star Euro NCAP rated cars than any other manufacturer. The safety of its customers is of paramount importance to Renault UK
They keep repeating these two words "paramount importance". Words aren't enough.

Without question, Renault conforms to all strict legal procedures outlined for the motor industry. This includes incidents of drivers reporting that the bonnet of their Clio II has opened whilst the car was being driven.
Legal requirements relate to the barest minimum and assume certain criteria. Inventive (or Creative) developers need to do much more than the legal requirements to gain and retain the goodwill of the public.

Renault has liaised fully with the UK government enforcement agency, the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA), on the issue and both Renault and VOSA have concluded that the bonnet catch mechanism on the Clio II has no design or construction defect.
It is on record that VOSA/VSB did not check any vehicles before they made they pronounced their verdict... they accepted what Renault's vehicle inspectors told them. If these are to be seen as not influenced by the insecurity of their jobs if they choose not to tow the "party line", maybe Renaukt need to reconsider their attitude vis-a-vis Graeme Holt

Since Watchdog***8217;s original broadcast, Renault has monitored and analysed every case we have received and a dedicated Task Force of more than 30 of Renault***8217;s worldwide experts has investigated this issue, including carrying out vehicle inspections. VOSA has been kept fully informed throughout.
Personally, I don't believe that statement. I have asked more than one franchise if they were receiving reports of bonnet-catch problems and they told me that no such problem existed. If Renault had taken this problem seriously, their dealers would have been alerted to the problem immediately,
My perception is that they and VOSA together thought that the complainants would go away quietly (like so many do when a complaint is forwarded to their customer services division).

In co-operation with the relevant authorities including the DVLA, Renault is writing to all Clio II owners, more than 400,000 people, inviting them into their nearest Renault dealership, where the opening and closing mechanisms of the bonnet will be checked to ensure the correct maintenance is being undertaken. If poor maintenance is detected, the appropriate corrective action will be carried out at no cost to the customer as a gesture of goodwill.
Inviting them is not enough. The wording is intended to get them off the hook without admitting that something is wrong. There may be onky 400,000 owners in UK but what about others in other countries who may not be aware of the danger (for example, the passenger who died in South Africa because of this failure)?

No amount of lubrication is going to improve this safety-issue enough. The locking bolt is to frail and the operation of the safety hook is poorly designed; the orifice that engages the safety hook is also poorly designed and leads the device to remain above the holder in particular circumstances.

Renault refutes BBC Watchdog claim that it is ***8216;putting lives at risk***8217;
Try telling that to the Clio passenger who died in South Africa, Mr Renault SAH!

Renault has found no construction or design defect with the bonnet catch mechanism of the Clio II. Renault is a responsible manufacturer. To say we would endanger our customers is categorically untrue. We are recalling all Clio II owners into the Renault network as part of our reassurance plan.
Stop playing with words and call a recall "a recall". Renault must accept that they got this one wrong from the very beginning.

The bonnet catch mechanism of the Clio II is safe, reliable and fit for purpose providing the vehicle is maintained correctly and the bonnet is closed as prescribed.
If a safety (fail-safe) device reliability is conditional, it is not fail-safe.

This issue is a maintenance issue.
No it is not only a maintenance issue. The design of the engagement of the safety catch has nothing to do with maintenance as has the weak locking-bolt that engages the main centre-bolt.

Renault refutes BBC Watchdog***8217;s whistleblower ***8216;cover-up***8217; claim.
What I see is a legal word-play to avoid an admission of liability.

There is no ***8216;cover-up***8217;. Renault always takes any customer complaint extremely seriously and we have escalated reports of this issue to the highest level within Renault. The fact that we are writing to all Clio II owners demonstrates how seriously Renault takes any customer issue and illustrates our openness with the customers.
The highest level within Renault know not-much about mechanical problems because their expertise is in financial policies and project accountancy. Instead of dictating what the company position must be to their subordinates, they should listen to what competent engineers have to say about the subject.

Renault is sorry that Graeme Holt, former Press Relations Manager, Renault UK, has issues with the company. However Renault***8217;s priority remains its customers and communicating with them.
If Renault's priority were their customers' safety, how come they parted company with this man who seems to have stood up to his bosses on the customers' behalf because safety was being jeapardised? Surely, both would have had the same interest in mind if they both valued safety equally.

Renault refutes claims that issue due to a design fault
What does that mean?

There is no design fault with the bonnet catch mechanism on the Clio II. Graeme Holt has no accredited technical expertise with which to make such a claim.
BUt he had access to engineers' reports and this strengthens my conviction that Renault's gold-braiders have been aware of the potential danger ever since this came to light (I think the first I found was from some four years ago.)

This issue is a maintenance issue pure and simple. In its investigations, Renault discovered several cases of poor maintenance where the bonnet had opened whilst the car was being driven.
They may well have discovered cases of un-lubricated devices but that does not mean that this caused the failure. What parts/elements have they tested from the main lock mechanism and what resulted when compared to other makes of device or ones sourced from other makers?
How did they test the safety catches.
By their own admission (i.e., discovered several cases of poor maintenance) they found even more cases where the devices had been maintained sufficiently well. And what about those cars that had been maintained by franchised dealers? What about cars that would have been too new three or four years ago?

Immediately following Watchdog***8217;s original broadcast, Renault UK instructed its dealers to check the bonnet catch mechanism on Clio II free-of-charge for customers and we have now formalised this by adding a check to the service schedule.
I can say that I asked my franchised dealer if there had been any instruction from Renault to check the Clio II bonnet catches any the response was "No. There is no problem with these bonnets".

A check of the bonnet catch mechanism is already included in the annual MOT test required for vehicles more than three years old.
What about the cars that were less than three years old when this happened to them?

¤Clio Campus

There are no reports of this issue on Clio Campus. Renault dealers have been provided with correct maintenance instructions for this vehicle and it will be applied to all Renault vehicles, including Clio Campus as reassuring our customers is Renault***8217;s priority.
I have not looked at the Campus but I have looked at a three-year-old Scenic and found that the safety catch REPEATEDLY got stuck in the open position. This was witnessed by the owner who was unaware of any issue related to any bonnet safety. When I learned that BBC Watchdog was to revisit the subject last week, I recommended that this might be worth viewing.

Why have their dealers only now been issued with a maintenance schedule?

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Last edited by vass20; 2nd April 2007 at 12:45 AM.
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