Brake problem leads to Citroen Picasso recall

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Brake problem leads to Citroen Picasso recall

24th May 2011

Citroen have announced they are to recall more than 20,000 C3 Picasso mini-MPV cars in the UK after a BBC Watchdog investigation discovered the brakes could be activated from the passenger side.

Sam Harmel, a defective product expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the brake could be engaged by a passenger pressing down on a cable located under the passenger footwell.

"This is obviously a very serious fault that Citroen must investigate as a matter of urgency," said Sam, a partner with the firm. "The potentially fatal consequences of unexpectedly braking at high speed due to a vehicle design fault are a scenario no car manufacturer would want to envisage."

The problem, explained Watchdog, can occur because of the way the car is manufactured in France and then converted for UK export from left-hand drive to right-hand drive.

A Kent-based commercial cleaning company, 'Town & Country Cleaners,' which has three of the affected Citroen models in its fleet, alerted the consumer programme after one of their drivers "came screeching to a halt" whilst travelling at 70mph on a motorway. Two more Picasso C3's on sale at dealerships in south-east England were subsequently examined and found to have the same flaw.

A motor engineer expert who examined the cars, told the programme that the cable operating the braking mechanism located underneath the passenger floor was surprisingly easy to press - as it was only covered with "a thin piece of felt."

"The ease in which anyone sat on the passenger side can operate the braking system simply by pressing down with their foot is extremely disturbing," said Sam. "The potential for a serious accident is alarmingly high as neither the driver nor their passenger would have any idea what was happening once the brake was unexpectedly activated and crucially - neither would anyone driving behind the braking vehicle.

"Citroen has absolutely made the right decision to announce a UK recall of the C3 Picasso which has been on sale in the UK for the last two years," continued Sam. "They must now take steps to modify all affected vehicles with some kind of protective cable cover to ensure that control over the car cannot be compromised."

In a statement to Watchdog, Citroen said that although there had not been any reports of the problem prior to the BBC programme, they were recalling the model due to the "remote possibility" problems could occur and that modification would be free at Citroen dealers.

C3 Picasso owners wanting further advice or information are asked to call the Citroen Contact Centre on 01753 475862, or to email cuk_contactcentre@citroen.com.  

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of defective products. If you or a family member has suffered an injury that was not your fault, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Read more: BBC