In an odd and somewhat comical reversal of the usual state of things, China has today announced the halt of import of four Renault models on the back of 'serious safety risks' and non-compliance with regulations.

The models affected include the Laguna, Scenic, Megane and Megane Coupe-Cabriolet - in short, some of Renault's most successful models. The decision was made by the laboriously-named General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), reports Automotive News.

"[W]e have repeatedly found batches of passenger vehicles made by the French Renault ... do not conform with our country's mandatory standards and relevant technical regulations, and there are serious safety risks," AQSIQ said in a statement.

As funny as the ban may sound to western ears - especially when taken in light of the comi-tragic failure of the Chinese-built Brilliance BS6, which earned just one star in Germany's ADAC testing in 2007 - China is now the world's largest car market, and having its models banned from sale will be a painful barb for Renault.

The Brilliance BS4 is proof that China's domestic industry isn't making huge strides, either - EuroNCAP testing this March shows the BS4 actually outstrips the flagrant lack of safety of the BS6, scoring no points at all in safety tests - though it would have marked 3 stars under the same standards applied to the BS6 two years prior. In contrast, the Renault Megane, Megane CC, Laguna and Scenic all achieved 5 stars in EuroNCAP testing.

Renault hasn't yet issued a full response, with a spokesman saying only that the company was 'surprised' by the decision, and that it has ample evidence of the quality of its models in the form of press reviews and testing.