Re: Alfa Romeo 156 - Bonnet Catch
I have to say I am much more in agreement with Neverbuy than most of the people on here. "...no design fault..." MY BACKSIDE!
The VOSA safety recalls scheme was started way back when Esther Rantzen started her campaign against Reliant for their steering column bracket fatigue failure problem. Essentially, the kingpin seized up and put extra load on the bracket that held the steering box which then fatigued and snapped off the chassis (irritating if you haven't even got enough front wheels to start with!) There were a few crashes and (I seem to recall) one fatal. Alfa are playing exactly the same game that Reliant tried to play back then by saying it's not a problem if the thing is regularly lubricated. That's exactly what Reliant said. They were, of coure, correct - it wasn't a problem if the kingpin WAS correctly lubricated but the (successful) counter argument was that such regular lubrication was unnecessary on most cars and the public therefore had a "reasonable expectation" not to have to do it so often. Now Reliant were saying (If I recall correctly) that lubrication had to be carried out every 1000 miles - which is taking the mickey a bit but ONLY a bit. Remember this was in the late 1970s when there were plenty of cars on our roads that still required greasing on their suspension / steering components.
I strongly feel that it is PERFECTLY possible to design a bonnet catch that is maintenance free (pretty much "for life" or at least 100,000 miles) - most other manufacturers can do it! Similarly, most other manufacturers can make engines that don't burn so much oil. In fact, come to think of it, I probably owe Alfa something for the oil consumption because it forces me to open and close the bonnet so often that I can easily keep an eye on the catch! - perhaps they'll be claiming that the high oil consumption is a "safety feature" designed to never allow the bonnet catch to seize up?!
I'm very fond of Alfas. I have a 164 with nearly a quarter of a million miles on it and my wife has a 156. It's a great car in many ways but I am easily able to take off my rose-tinted spectacles on this issue!
Incidentally, we have never had any communication from Alfa for my wife's 1999 156 on this (or any other) issue.
Neverbuy, I suggest you pursue this with whatever consumer groups you can find (e.g. "Watchdog") if you haven't already. Just like Ford with the Pinto fuel tank fiasco, a good public thrashing is the only language most major manufacturers understand! Also go to your Citizens' Advice Bureau and talk to them about it. You have, already got contacts for VOSA.