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post #853 of (permalink) Old 10th March 2008
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You are still correct in saying no comprehensive analysis has been completed - but this is unfortunately down t the manufacturer, and VOSA, and experts in the field.

Anything compiled outside of this remit - will simply be dismissed. Look at an example of independent reports - all reports that have been compiled by the likes of the AA, RAC etc - have all been dismissed by Renault - who stood to their guns and said - "thanks for compiling the report, but you still didn't close the bonnet properly - so it's your fault" (paraphrasing the comment they usually make, of course!).

VOSA is the only agency that can compile a thorough, independent, impartial investigation and one that Renault cannot dismiss - but VOSA don't want to - as this will make them do a complete u-turn, and basically admit that what they did during their previous (investigation) was not sound!

You mentioned a few further interesting points: materials, design and maintenance. Lets start with which one would Renault admit too and which ones which they want to avoid - i.e. avoid admitting liability for:

Renault Admission:
Bonnet Closure - Renault originally advised us of not closing the bonnet properly - fine it was 1 or 2 cases, but not when it goes into the 1,000's. So Renault chose a second point of admission (reluctantly)...
Maintenance - Renault originally avoided mentioning this - but their report into my vehicle (which Renault did not want to release to the public domain) indicated corrosion was a part-cause of the issue (state of the mechanisms). We managed to get VOSA to release this under a FOI (yes we've done this already!), around the same time that Renault started to admit "Maintenance" was a contributable cause. They then omitted to mention that Renault UK were 100% liable for Maintenance, as this was not a mandated servicing item (was not on any servicing checklist) - and the parts in questions were actually designed as "maintenance-free". So two admissions here! This created the rationale behind why 1) the dealer network was advised to start maintaining the mechanisms or checking the mechanism if questioned by Clio owners (since Jan 2007 - when a dealership wide Renault communication went out) and 2) the ~500k (April-June 2007) "invitation" (not Recall) notification to the owner base (Mark-2 plus Campus) - a way of mitigating this "failure to warn" liability point. One thing that Renault UK CANNOT distant themselves - is they REMAIN 100% liable for any issue affecting vehicles PRIOR the owner communication went out (April-June 2007) - that's a significant portion of the cases reported. The liability would shift to the network dealerships if the vehicle experienced the issue AFTER visiting a dealership post-Jan 2007 (after the network comms went out). The challenge is then legal-proof that Maintenance was the sole cause and not bonnet closure - this IMHO is the biggest gray area which to some extent I applaud the Renault Legal teams - they know the industry and loop-holes very well!

(I know I am waffling - but these points are important!!)...

Renault Non-Admission:
Quality of Materials (Build) - Renault have never questioned this - although Watchdog, other experts, including some on this forum mentioned the use of inferior parts, which are prone to failure due to the "cheapness" in their build standards, i.e. are not covered sufficiently to avoid corrosion. Basically the same level of comments you just mad!
Design - it is basic common sense (though agree that an Engineering mind needs to confirm the standards involved in stating the obvious here!), that ANY safety device should be fool-proof. If it is not (in this case) - then a design failure is apparent, and the design part is not performing as designed. If there is a slim chance (%age) that a safety mechanism can fail in its 'safety' function - then it should NOT be deemed as a safety function. Personally, I now only class this secondary catch as this - a "secondary catch". I avoid referring this as a safety catch as it CANNOT currently perform this role effectively. Would welcome any thoughts on the industry guidelines as to whether a secondary catch or safety catch is recalled for bonnets - if the latter - then Renault falls-down BIG TIME!

We've tried hounding Renault UK, Renault France, VOSA, SMMT and no one wants to look into the matter. It is basically an admission of guilt and liability that is at stake.

I actually think your points are the way forward, we need expert knowledge / studies PROVING that the mechanism is 1) poorly designed, 2) poorly contructed and 3) performance is ineffective versus the industry guideline and standards...

Ironically one thing I learnt from VOSA is that there is no tests performed on bonnet safety mechanism in Europe - Renault advised VOSA who advised me that Renault use the Australia guidelines - where a bonnet has to be released at speeds of 70mph to indicate that the bonnet catch holds - note that this only works if the bonnet catch is engaged in the first place - so null and void in the current climate!


Aaron Brigatti
Brigatti Online -

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Last edited by brigatti; 10th March 2008 at 07:28 PM.
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