All that Black Jazz !

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Compared to last year, the prices of Honda Jazz automatics have gone up, so much so that I have struggled to get a look in, let alone win a successful bid on one.

Despite that, I tracked a 2009 example but it wasn’t a true automatic as it had an automated clutch therefore was classed as a ‘semi-auto’. I diligently did some research to verify MOT certificate date and mileage confirmations to happily discover that it had been recently tested. A viewing was essential as I had recently got ‘stung’ on a Mitsubishi Colt that had transmission ‘issues’ so off I went to Skelmersdale to find that Jazz in a far corner of the salvage yard. In my experience so far, most Japanese cars start on their first turn of the key and the Jazz did with my confidence bolstered by finding a stamped service book in the glovebox – a result.

The bonnet was dented and scraped with the front bumper having splits and damage lower down but relatively minor to what I had dealt with before. I had bought a similar unscathed model for a colleague in 2015 for £5000 although did not realise then the difference between semi-and full automatics.

Surprisingly, the following day the bid was set at £1250 so I duly clicked, adding £10 as the seconds counted down and would you believe, there was no bid battle. Maybe semi-automatics are not as popular although confusingly, they can be described as ‘sequential manuals’ from DVLA data.

On collection, I enquired about parts and was able to buy a matching bonnet for £90, slightly reduced as a regular customer. The Jazz performed faultlessly on the way home with only one non-functioning electric window to blame. Another salvage breaker charged £96 for a matching front bumper that I’m going to collect shortly. £16.87 has also been spent on a mirror cover as one is missing on the Honda. So far so good…

…although having received the V5 registration document in my name, beneath the section on ‘special notes’, it stated “THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN SALVAGED BECAUSE OF STRUCTURAL DAMAGE BUT IT HAS BEEN DECLARED SUITABLE FOR REPAIR FOLLOWING A TECHNICAL EVALUATION.” Alarms bells rang as the Honda was advertised as a category N car (Non-structural) and not S which means Structural !

This mis-classification has been confirmed to be an administrative error and is going to be rectified in due course although the salvage company I bought it from stated that full history checks using either HPI or other companies should be done as stated in their terms and conditions, to safeguard against anomalies occurring as the following quotation states:

Last year, a category D car that I bought showed in history checks as having not been written-off !

The plot thickens as the insurance company stated via the salvage yard that the Honda is a category S car and admitted that the insurers inputted it wrongly as a category N. I confirmed this when I removed the front bumper to find that the bumper bar had been pushed back leaving an impression on the air conditioning unit which still worked. On that basis, the car is worth less so the salvage yard gave me two options:

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Firstly for them to buy back the car including what was spent that had to be supported by printed invoices which I wasn’t keen on as the car had been finished. Secondly was to get some compensation back from the insurer via the salvage yard. Option two was pursued with an inflated £1000 expected claim that I knew would be contested which was met with a response from the insurer stating that the market value difference between a repaired category S and N car was £200 which I politely disagreed with. I replied with a £500 figure then was met with a meet in the middle £350 which I took and was duly deposited in my account.

Start high with insurers and go from there and don’t be surprised when the process takes time as this one took five weeks.

Happily, the Jazz has now sold despite the category S marker which shows that there is a market for small ‘automatic’ cars including the lesser semi-auto derivative so I need to find another one – if I can !

Words are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou

Photos with ‘HILLS’ are copyright of Hills Salvage

June/July 2019