eBay teams up with Mission Motorsport to rebuild a CAT N write-off using only eBay parts and accessories

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eBay has teamed up with The Forces motorsport charity, Mission Motorsport, to put a category N (CAT N) classified 2016 Subaru BRZ back on the road. The crash-damaged car is being rebuilt exclusively using items purchased with eBay’s Assured FitCertified Recycled Parts and My Garage services, to showcase the breadth and affordability of the online marketplace. 

Mission Motorsport provides those affected by military operations with career opportunities in the automotive industry through participation in sport and all the work required to make the BRZ roadworthy is being carried out by former services personnel. 

Once complete, Mission Motorsport will go on to convert the Subaru BRZ into a MSUK spec race car, ready for it to compete in this year’s Race of Remembrance at Anglesey, in November. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the commemorative fund-raiser and nearly the entire team running the car at this year’s event – from drivers to pit crew – will be wheelchair users or have life changing lower limb injuries.

Mark White, Operations Manager at Mission Motorsport, said: “We knew from its eBay listing that our Subaru had sustained front and rear damage, but it wasn’t until we got our hands on the BRZ that we could completely understand the scale of our challenge facing our former services personnel. We’ve sourced replacement light clusters, body panels, suspension components and even a seat using eBay Assured Fit, perfectly showcasing the breadth and scale of choice available to motorists through the online marketplace.

A vehicle classed as CAT N has been involved in an accident but not suffered any damage to its structural elements and of the four categories (A, B, S and N), CAT N is considered to be the least critical rating.

According to data exclusively obtained by eBay using a Freedom of Information request, 186,423 cars and LCVs were designated CAT N in 2023, slightly down on 2022 (186,999) and still some way short of the 195,938 vehicles registered as CAT N in 2019 – the last full year before the pandemic. Volumes dropped to 156,071 and 142,524 in 2021 and 2020 respectively lower levels of traffic, resulting in consequently fewer road traffic collisions.

Despite these figures, research conducted by eBay reveals more than 80% of UK motorists do not understand the significance of CAT N classification. Once informed, a quarter (26%) of motorists would consider buying one but drivers would need to be convinced by significant savings – with 28% saying they would only buy a CAT N vehicle if the market value was reduced by more than 30%.

Laura Richards, Category Lead at eBay car parts and accessories, said: “Consumers are seemingly unaware of insurance write-off categories and what they really mean. With some fixes to get them back on the road being relatively straight forward, the parts motorists might need are easy to find through eBay using the My Garage function. Meanwhile our Certified Recycled programme provides quality assured reclaimed parts at even more affordable prices.”

A CAT N classification is applied when insurers calculate the cost of repair to be greater than the total value of the vehicle, despite the fact that it would still be considered safe and roadworthy once any fixes are completed. Vehicles categorised as CAT N are typically sold at a reduced cost, even after they have been repaired, and almost half of the 2,000 motorists taking part in the research (42%) said they would feel safe buying a CAT N car or van.

Motorists who choose to buy a CAT N vehicle and have it repaired themselves can find the right replacement body panels, wheels, interior trim, engines – and everything in between – using eBay Assured Fit, which uses registration data to find the right items for a specific vehicle. In addition, eBay’s Certified Recycled programme gives shoppers the chance to purchase official OEM quality assured parts sourced from end-of-life vehicles, saving on cost and extending the life cycle of these products. 

The eBay research also revealed the 10 most common vehicles to have been categorised as CAT N write-offs in 2023. The Ford Focus topped the list with 7,217 examples certified, followed, in second place, by the Ford Fiesta (6,422). In third place was the Vauxhall Astra, with 6,363, and fourth place went to the Volkswagen Golf with 6,123. Rounding out the top five of the most cars classified as CAT N was the BMW 3 Series (5,283). 

It wasn’t just mainstream models that featured in the data, with iconic British classics like the Lotus Esprit (one), Ford Anglia (three), Jaguar XJS (one), Morris Minor (two), and Triumph Spitfire (one) also represented on the list of CAT N vehicles last year. Other notable models included a Ferrari California, three Aston Martin Vantages and two Porsche 911 Targas.

The breadth and scale of parts available on eBay doesn’t stop at Certified Recycled. Motorists can buy direct from OEMs using eBay, via the Ford, Toyota, Lexus, BMW, MINI, Jaguar Classic and Land Rover Classic stores. These official stores help motorists buy with confidence when purchasing parts and accessories for both modern and classic cars. 

Following its research into the most common cars to be registered as CAT N, eBay extracted from its database a sample of parts available through the Certified Recycled Programme (CRP) and compared the prices against brand new parts (see table below). The data revealed that for a Ford Focus, motorists can make a saving of £242.84, for a rear bumper by purchasing a Certified Recycled Part. Likewise, a Certified Recycled boot lid for a Vauxhall Astra provides a saving of up to £609.43 compared to a brand new tailgate. 

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