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post #754 of (permalink) Old 13th August 2007
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Meeting between Mr Sweeting, Mr Jenkins, Mr Brigatti and Mrs Brigatti (mother).
  • VOSA***8217;s remit into any Code of Practice Safety Defect investigation is to ***8220;verify whether a defect exists in the construction or design***8221; of the said parts.
  • VOSA took forward the case in April 2006, and reached a conclusion in January 2007. However, during the initial 2-3 months, an understanding had already been established as part of the investigation.
  • VOSA reviewed two Renault reports initially ***8211; but have subsequently reviewed other reports and discussions (a number of which weren***8217;t documented as VOSA not an ***8220;enforcement agency***8221;).
  • Due to not having a technical understanding of bonnet catch mechanism of the Renault Clio Mark-2, VOSA visited the local Renault dealership (City Motors of Bristol) and inspected 3 vehicles that were present for servicing.
  • They had already contact made with Renault UK and France, and obtained various parts from the different models and ages ***8211;
    • Mark 2 ***8211; Phase 1
    • Mark 2 ***8211; Phase 2
    • Mark 3 (the current model)
  • Later in the investigation (end of 2006) ***8211; VOSA visited Renault France to also review video examples of the mechanism in operation.
  • VOSA indicated that there are no metrics to class a ***8220;performance of a bonnet catch mechanism***8221; (main or safety) ***8211; nor guidelines (only two catch mechanism is a legal requirement). ***8220;No industry ***8216;approval test***8217; for bonnet mechanisms in Europe***8221; exist.
    • Note: does this mean that there is no way of defining whether a safety catch is performing as it should in all cases. i.e. is 90% or 99.9% performance acceptable?
  • Renault had confirmed that although they is no guidelines for the sustainability of the mechanism, they opted for the Australian guidelines ***8211; which required car bonnet safety-mechanism withstanding speeds of 230km/h (142mph).
    • The video footage shown to Brigatti***8217;s demonstrated this point for speeds of approx 90mph ***8211; car on safety catch only.
    • Car bonnet did not release fully ***8211; remained on safety only.
    • Brigatti***8217;s asked whether the driver would feel any difference in the performance of the car, VOSA indicated yes, as Aerodynamics and overall vehicle performance would be affected.
  • VOSA showed examples of the various mechanism model types, ages and condition (some of the catches had experienced the bonnet release issue).
    • All of the cases had issues with a level of corrosion (some worst than others).
    • Mechanisms were ***8220;still operational***8221; even in the most corroded cases ***8211; all deemed as ***8220;functioning***8221; by VOSA.
  • Based on this, VOSA came to the decision that regardless of the condition of the mechanism, the mechanism still operated correctly.
  • Therefore, VOSA felt that the situation had been down to maintenance.
  • So no recall was necessary as it did not fall under the Code of Practice ***8211; ***8220;VOSA***8217;s investigation had been completed***8221;.
  • VOSA indicated that at least 5 models of Renault are affected ***8211; as the same mechanism had been used in these models (not just Clio Mark-2s) ***8211; mention of Scenic and Laguna as examples.
  • VOSA only indicated that only 500,000 Clio Mark-2 were being recalled by Renault.
  • VOSA indicated that Renault***8217;s actions under their ***8220;invitation***8221; approach ***8211; was deemed as a ***8220;recall***8221; within the industry ***8211; there was no enforcement within a recall. Recall***8217;s normally have approx 90% success factor over a period of time.
  • VOSA admitted that they couldn***8217;t identify the root-cause behind the bonnet releases, as all mechanisms were still in ***8220;working order***8221;.
  • VOSA agreed that bonnet (main catch) might not engage fully, but this was down to how the bonnet was closed, not because of a failure in the mechanism.
    • Brigatti indicated that Renault had indicated either the bonnet was not closed correctly or not maintained ***8211; but in the Renault report, they had not indicated maintenance was an issue only that corrosion was present.
    • VOSA couldn***8217;t dispute the background of my case, i.e. whether I had closed the bonnet or not (nor the timelines) ***8211; but Brigatti advised that they should have tested the theory of the background of the case ***8211; as mine was also the ***8220;original case filed to VOSA***8221;.
  • Maintenance was noted as a ***8220;prevention measure***8221;, and they felt was all that was required to reduce the risk of the issue happening.
  • Brigatti advised that Renault had indicated that maintenance was NOT mentioned in the Renault report on my car, only that "corrosion was present".
  • VOSA indicated that the mechanism was originally deemed by Renault as maintenance-free, but this stand had now changed, with the direction to the Renault dealership network to maintain the catches from January 2007.
  • As more time went by, VOSA completed more checks as part of the investigation.
    • Brigatti indicated that the understanding was a ***8220;conclusion***8221; had already been reached in early stages of investigation (within first 2 months), but no preventive action had been taken at that time.
    • VOSA indicated that they had ***8220;completed a through investigation***8221;.
    • Brigatti indicated not within first 2 months they didn***8217;t!
  • VOSA indicated investigation ***8220;not closed***8221;, but in any new cases, the previous investigation statement would stand. VOSA would not comment on why cases weren***8217;t accepted, although implied same conclusion would have stood.
  • VOSA indicated that VOSA, Renault and the other vehicle manufactures were at a lost as to why there was a higher level of corrosion in the UK than elsewhere. Discussions with Council agencies on the materials used in the gritting process.
  • Despite reports of 1,000***8217;s of cases by the BBC, VOSA has only been made aware of about 500.
    • BBC declined to supply details of their filed cases, quoting data protection, and not enough resources.
    • Renault had indicated willingness to provide to the BBC their own resources to assist. BBC had ***8220;declined***8221; this approach.
  • VOSA re-iterated that they could ***8220;not comment***8221; on my case details; Brigatti indicated this was because VOSA had not inspected into my car. VOSA indicated they only look at the wider picture, and not at individual cases.
  • Brigatti indicated that Renault was also uncertain of cause; VOSA was not able to comment on Renault***8217;s own investigation results.
  • Cause still uncertain even after VOSA investigation had been concluded ***8211; but this is not a concern by VOSA, as their remit was whether a defect existed in the operation of the mechanism.
  • Brigatti concluded that we doesn***8217;t believe maintenance is the only plausible reason behind the root-cause of the incident, but VOSA indicated that there is no evidence of a defect existing. Brigatti indicated cases are likely to continue to happen regardless of the maintenance aspect.


Aaron Brigatti
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Last edited by brigatti; 13th August 2007 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Slight correction
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