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Premium Member
236 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Clio Bonnet Catch Failures – Key Steps

If you are one of the unfortunate Renault Clio (Mark-2) drivers who have experienced an infamous sudden "bonnet-release" incident, here are a number of steps that we recommened you should undertake:

  1. Report the Incident to your Insurance Company
  2. Report the Incident to Renault UK
  3. Report the Incident to Vehicle and Operators Services Agency (VOSA)
  4. Obtain an Independent Inspection Report
  5. Report the Incident to BBC Watchdog
  6. Report the Incident to the Local Council Trading Standards
  7. Report the Incident to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
  8. Document Any Costs Incurred

1) Report the Incident to your Insurance Company:
  • There are two options to consider:
    • take forward the claim directly with the Insurance Company, or​
    • advise them that you are intending to take the case forward directly with the Manufacturer (Renault UK).​
  • Ask them if you could claim on the understanding that you are holding Renault UK Limited responsible for the damage but you need the car back on the road quicker than you can get the money out of Renault. Make sure that your insurance company will reset your premium if you get all the money back out of Renault and pay them back for the claim.
  • If you are undecided, advised the Insurance Company that you are considering your options, but wish to record the incident with them, they should be able to give you a case reference in any case. They might have to file a claim on the system, but you are within your rights to cancel this at a later date, with no impact to your Non-Claims. Obtain clarity on your Claim rights with the Insurance Company, and whether this option is available to you in this particular case.

2) Report the Incident to Renault UK
  • Report the case directly to Renault UK (not your dealership).
  • Telephone the Customer Services Department on Freephone 0800 072 33 72 Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 6pm. Please note not open at weekends or Public and Bank Holidays.
  • Advise them of the incident, with details outlining the following points:
    • when the bonnet was last opened.​
    • the date/time.​
    • whether any other motorists were involved in a RTA.​
    • any injuries caused by the incident.​
    • damage to the vehicle(s).​
    • weather conditions.​
    • whether any witnesses were present.​
    • when the vehicle was last inspected / serviced by a Renault dealership.​
    • you are aware of the discussions surrounding this issue, and know that Renault owe you a duty of care.​
    • advise them that you would like an inspection on the car.​
    • obtain the name of the Customer Service Manager that would be responsible for responding to your case.​
    • obtain a Case Reference number.​
  • Follow-up your initial telephone complaint with a Letter – outlining the case details you have just filed, so that a written audit trail exist with your case:
    Renault UK Ltd [add your Case Reference Number here]
    [add name of person here]
    Customer Services Management
    The Rivers Office Park
    Denham Way
    Maple Cross
    WD3 9YS​
  • URL: Renault UK
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Advise Renault that you consider that they are liable for the incident and you are requesting them to cover the repair costs and any lost of earnings (see separate point below).
  • Request that they (Renault UK) complete an inspection of your vehicle at no charge to you; ensure that you (and your Insurance Company representative) are present at this inspection.
3) Report the Incident to Vehicle and Operators Services Agency (VOSA)
  • Contact the Department of Transport Vehicle Operators and Services Agency (VOSA). They are responsible for looking into the potential safety defects on vehicles on the UK roads, and could recommend a recall to Renault.
  • Letter – always follow-up your initial complaint, so that an audit trail occurs with your case:
    Vehicle Safety Branch
    Berkeley House
    Croydon Street
    BS5 ODA​
  • Tel: 0117 954 3300
  • Fax: 0117 954 3328
  • URL: VOSA corporate website
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Request that a VOSA inspection and report is completed on your vehicle.

4) Obtain an Independent Inspection Report
  • Request that an independent report is completed on your vehicle, if you are claiming from your Insurance; this is something that is normally covered by your Insurance policy.
  • Your insurance company can also provide you a list of Insurance-certified inspectors that you can request this privately.
  • Ensure that you are present at any inspection completed on your vehicle.

5) Report the Incident to BBC Watchdog
  • BBC Watchdog has completed four on-going reports regarding this incident, first airing the incident on 25th April 2006, then a follow-up on 23rd January 2007, 6th March 2007, and more recently a Whistleblower claim on 28th March 2007.
  • Report your incident to BBC Watchdog
    BBC Watchdog
    Renault Bonnet Case
    201 Wood Lane
    W12 7TS​
  • Tel: 020 8535 1000
  • URL: BBC - Consumer - TV and radio
  • E-mail: [email protected]

6) Report the Incident to the Local Council Trading Standards
  • Look up your local Council’s Trading Standard Office @ Trading Standards Central - Trading Standards and Consumer Protection information for the UK
  • Report the incident to them, and ask them for any advice, or history of previous incidents in the region.
  • As it is now a Nationwide issue, they might simply advise you to contact VOSA, if so, advise them that you have already, but would still like the local Regional Trading Standard office to also look at it, to see whether they can take the matter up with the Local Dealership directly themselves.
  • Another useful site is Consumer Direct @ Consumer Direct which encompasses all of the Trading Standard offices in the UK – and provides general advice, tips and guidance to Consumers.

7) Report the Incident to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

8) Document Any Costs Incurred
  • Compile a log of any costs incurred due to not having the use of the vehicle in question.
  • Manage this in terms of:
    • Lost of Earnings​
    • Public Transport Costs​
    • Hire Car Costs​
  • It is important to note that this is not a guarantee that you would be reimbursed by these costs, but if your case is successful, you could then make a claim, either to Renault UK or to your Insurance Company.

Premium Member
236 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Additional Summary Steps

Further summary steps, as also outlined in the Clio Action Group - a Google Group solely set-up to discuss this "bonnet release" subject in more detail:

Clio Action Group | Google Groups

1. Contact Renault Customer Services
Renault, as a responsible manufacturer, want to know when a bonnet flies open on one of their vehicles. It is not clear what they do with this information - but they do want to know. Renault Customer Services can be contacted on 0800 072 3372. As an indication of how seriously Renault take this recurrence, expect to be passed to a Customer Services Manager. The Customer Services Managers that tend to deal with Clio cases are:

* Nicky Glasscott
* Alex Phelan
* Dan Hawkes

They are extremely helpful, they tend to ask four questions:

  • Was anybody hurt in the accident?
  • When did you last open the bonnet?
  • Have you maintained the bonnet catch mechanism?
  • Have you received your 'reassurance letter'? (See #)
# -- a reassurance letter is a way of inviting you for a free service to attend to a part that 'isn't defective', but goes wrong because the silly owners forget to maintain, in this the bonnet catch mechanism. It even helps you by providing you with a new page for your vehicle handbook, so you don't forget again! The reassurance letter looks like this: reassurance letter. The benefits of using a reassurance letter are that it is not a formal recall, and you don't have to notify other countries in the EU via RapEx (EU Rapid Exchange System - see here) that you have a dangerous product on the market - unlike a formal recall.

We have found they have been informed by Renault that they do not accept liability for the this common occurrence - and accused the owner of "not closing the bonnet correctly" in the prescribed manner (referencing the owner's handbook) or had not "maintained the latch correctly". Expect to be told to contact your insurance company to arrange for the car to be fixed.

Important - offer Renault the chance to perform an engineers report on your vehicle. If it gets to court, Renault have been stating they were not offered the opportunity to examine the vehicle.

2. Tell people about your experiences
Send an email to the Clio Action Group and a forum thread set-up here on - there is also a questionnaire which can be completed to capture the reported incidents.

We are collating information to gather how many people this has happened to, the average cost to the individual.

3. Tell BBC Watchdog
Watchdog regularly feature this problem on their show. Make sure they realise the problem hasn't gone away. They have stated on air they receive about 6 new incidents a week - make sure you are included in this figure as it could be more. Watchdog can be contacted on [email protected]. Watchdog don't have time to reply to everyone - but they are keeping an eye on the situation.

4. Tell VOSA if you are not happy with the situation
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) are the government agency responsible for ensuring the roadworthiness standards of vehicles. This included recalls and MOTs. VOSA was formed on April 1st 2003, you'll know this date as April Fools Day - some of our members think this is fitting. VOSA and Renault stand united on the issues of bonnets flying open on Clios - in fact - they often use the same language, even the same sentences in the same order - we don't know who writes them though!). A Freedom of Information request to VOSA yielded this standard response.

VOSA can enforce a recall, but have chosen not to on this occasion. VOSA are confident there is no safety defect, because they looked at three Clios in a car park, and there was nothing wrong with any of them. At this point, VOSA noted "the bonnet catch and release mechanism is a non-servicable item.", however have concluded that failures in bonnets are due to the failure to maintain this part. Why not read this report for yourself VOSA Report - 28th April 2006.pdf.

VOSA, to make sure they had not made a mistake, they looked at three more Clios. By now, they were so confident in their original findings, they didn't document their findings!! In case you are surprised by this, don't worry - it's VOSA standard practice not document investigations. This is because they are ad hoc examinations. They also looked at 10 Clios randomly - again ad hoc, so no need to write anything down. By now, VOSA engineers have probably stumbled on more Clios randomly, so expect a different number if you ask VOSA the number of checks they have completed.

To make sure they had not missed anything in their random approach to engineering, senior delegates from VOSA have watched a video produced by Renault - which proves that this occurence is down to maintenance. They watched it several times to make sure. Read about the VOSA investigation VOSA Investigation.pdf.

Read the latest position from VOSA on Renault Clios, sent in a Briefing Note to the Department for Transport. Note how the VOSA Briefing Note states that VOSA have been informed that Clio owners should have received their Reassurance Letter by now.

If you have not received your Reassurance Letter, why not send a letter to VOSA, Renault and Jim Fitzpatrick - Minister for Road Safety telling them this - at the moment they believe all Clio owners have been warned. They can be contacted at:

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
and CC [email protected]

A petition was set-up at the PM's office. Read the latest government viewpoint on this at: faultycliobonnet - epetition response

5. Sign the VOSA Independent Review Petition
This is exactly what it says on the tin: do it here: Petition to: Commission an independent committee of MPs to look into VOSA’s activities.

6. If you are not happy with the Government response... ...highlight this to them and the opposition spokespersons on transport:

Minister for Road Safety
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 5085/6215
Fax: 020 7219 2776
[email protected]

Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport:
Theresa Villiers MP
163 High Street
T: 020 8449 7345
F: 020 8449 7346
[email protected]

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson
Suite 302
Parkway House
East Sheen
SW14 8LS
Tel: (020) 8876 8914
Email: [email protected]

Renault Senior Tech
259 Posts
I work at renault and have seen many of these incidents. In the handbook theres a section about maintaining the bonnet catch and lock, all the ones ive seen go have been down to lack of maintenance. How do people feel about that comment? If its happened to you was your lock/catch maintained??? just curious to hear from ppl.

Premium Member
236 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Well curious why you want to indicate something which Renault wanted to distant themselves away from since my incident. Renault did not want to publish the findings of the report into my car - because it did not indicate a specific course - except was being impeded by corrisson (lack of maintenance).

However, please do not reference the user guidebook - as this was an "addenda" added during 2007 - not much use when incidents happened through 2005-2006?

Rather than explain in more depth, I suggest you jump over to to review what everyone thinks of Renault and I guess the topic of "maintenance".

Don't be fooled by this point, as Renault themselves are unable to satisfactory indicate the root-cause of all of the incidents - they chose the easy one for a manufacturer - blame the driver!

Premium Member
236 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Very unlikely - as Renault have not budged on any claims made against it...they have and will continue to accuse the DRIVER of causing the issue!

Write to Renault/VOSA and explain that you hold Renault liable for a failure to notifiy you of the issue (they should have sent TWO letters to the 500k Clio owner-base (according to the DVLA owner's database), and that the issue was their responsibility.

Can you confirm whether you received any such notification in 2007 or early 2008?

3 Posts
Re: Clio Bonnet Catch Failures – Key Steps

Was driving along the road today and the bonnet of my car came up and smashed my windscreen,luckily neither myself or my passenger were hurt,my car is a 55 plate.I previously owned a T Reg and i had a letter to take it to the dealer to have the catch on the bonnet replaced .Obviously still dodgy catches on the vehicles:devil:

Renault UK
206 Posts
Re: Clio Bonnet Catch Failures – Key Steps

Was driving along the road today and the bonnet of my car came up and smashed my windscreen,luckily neither myself or my passenger were hurt,my car is a 55 plate.I previously owned a T Reg and i had a letter to take it to the dealer to have the catch on the bonnet replaced .Obviously still dodgy catches on the vehicles:devil:
Hi Tikkagirl
If you've not already done so, please contact our Customer Service team on 08000 72 33 72 during normal working hours.
Many thanks
Renault UK

3 Posts
Re: Clio Bonnet Catch Failures – Key Steps

I have phoned Renault,the guy phoned me back yesterday but i was at work so still waiting to hear back from him.

3 Posts
Re: Clio Bonnet Catch Failures – Key Steps

Heard from Renault today and they say its a maintenance problem and that 2 letters were sent out to the previous owner of my car (which helped me a lot).I asked why my handbook didnt have this in it about the maintenance of the bonnet catch 3 times and 3 times he ignored me.I told him the repair centre it is at to be repaired called me yesterday to say i would have to sign a disclaimer form when i got my car back as it could happen again as the problem had not been fixed and the repair centre would not be held responsible for it and he asked me to give him the name and phone number and he would arrange for someone from renault to go there and fix the problem free of charge woop de woo that was good of renault as im £200 out of pocket for excess on my insurance and my insurance premiums will go up.Also got a call today from the Vehicle Safety Agency who told me the same as Renault told me,i said to him so no one is going to take responsibility for this and it will go on until someone has a serious injury or fatal and he said that would be very unlikely,i only hope he is right:devil:
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