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The issue is affecting BOTH catches... Ultimately the main catch has "not engaged properly" - which is a major issue, but more importantly, the secondary mechanism that is meant to act as a safety-mechanism/catch is failing (not performing it's function), and can be "stuck open".
Regarding the problems in other countries, there have been reports in France, South Africa (and possibly others - which no one yet knows about). In short, it is a GLOBAL issue.
VOSA were implying to me when I met them in mid-2007 that it is all to do with the "salt mixture used by councils in the UK". Hmmm...wrong type of snow excuse? In short, this could create an accelerator to the corrision evident on the said parts (catch mechanisms).
Your third point is acutally quite valid, we have been pushing for independent reports (ideally 'faciliated' by VOSA) to really explain the root-cause - whatever the issue might be - and WHY it seems to adversely affect Renault Clios more than any other vehicle in the road. If the conditions of the UK roads, or salt used by the councils is a part-cause, then why not Citreons, or Seats, or Fords, or BMWs, or Mercs???
If VOSA decline to (re-)look into the cases, we will NEVER know the actual root-cause nor ensure the appropriate remedial action is put in place. So whatever action that IS decided upon, is a short-term patch over a infected-wound!!
Currently in brigatti's garage:
2009 Audi A4 1.4 TFSI