The problem was initially highlighted last week by the BBC Watchdog programme after issues came to light with Citroen C3 Picasso cars. The investigation led to Citroen recalling in excess of 20,000 cars. It now appears that the same problem occurs in other cars made by Citroen as well as some produced by both Peugeot and Renault.
The fault arises because of the way the cars are adapted for right-hand drive, leaving a brake mechanism on the passenger side.
Watchdog viewers have during the last week highlighted related problems affecting eight models – the Peugeot 206 and 307, the Citroen C3 Desire, C3 SX, C4 VTR and C4 SX HDI and the Renault Scenic and Espace. Mark was asked to assist BBC watchdog with their investigation.
After examining a Citroen car, Mark said: “These models which are built in France were designed as left-hand drives – so the master brake cylinder is on the left.
“To adapt them for the UK market Citroen added a cross bar between this cylinder and the driver’s brake pedal on the right but in doing so, they failed to adequately protect the passenger-side lever.”
Mark then examined three cars, one from each manufacturer, Citroen, Peugeot and Renault, and confirmed all had a similar flaw.
Mark commented further “I would estimate that between 250,000 and 500,000 vehicles could be affected. In my view these cars should also be recalled,” .
Further to the Citroen C3 recall last week , Citroen advised BBC Watchdog that ”a very small number” of non-C3 Picasso customers had been in contact.
In a statement to Watchdog, Citroen said: “We will make contact with the other customers who have contacted you, to inspect their vehicles – until we have spoken to them, it’s difficult to comment further on any of the points or issues they have raised.”
Last year, Peugeot, which is part of the same company as Citroen recalled some of its 308 models suffering with a similar problem.
In relation to the recent BBC Watchdog revelations Peugeot advised, ”In 2004,VOSA tested a 206 following a customer complaint. VOSA concluded that the condition, similar to what has been reported in this programme was to some extent artificial.
“VOSA therefore proposed that a recall was deemed unnecessary but made the recommendation that the company instigated a production change and this was applied at the beginning of 2005, since when we have had no further customer incidents. We have had no cases of this type on any other models, which are all different and therefore we would like to investigate further the three cars mentioned in this programme and we will contact the customers directly to organise this.”
Renault on the other hand are advising concerned vehicle owners to contact their local Renault dealer. Renault have also confirmed that they have found a similar problem in some Renault Megane models.
In a statement to BBC Watchdog Renault said: “We have identified that on some pre-2004 Megane models (registered in 2002 and 2003), under certain unusual and extreme conditions, it is possible to produce a braking effect by applying pressure at the very top of the passenger foot well.
“Any pre-2004 Megane owners who are concerned should contact an authorised Renault dealership who will be able to assess their vehicle to determine if any remedial work is required which will be undertaken free of charge.”
Renault added: “As a responsible manufacturer, Renault takes the safety of its customers, and road users in general, extremely seriously.
“Since being contacted by Watchdog, we have been working with the official UK vehicle safety agency, Vosa, to carry out tests on our entire current range of right-hand drive cars and light commercial vehicles to investigate the issues raised.”