The double rip-off

There are alternatives to car dealers when replacing stolen logos

mazda311 (photo credit: judu siegel)
(photo credit: judu siegel)
Most owners of new (or new/used) cars brace themselves for the moment when they notice the first scratch on the pristine paint, perpetrated by careless drivers who park too close when they open their doors. But they probably don’t anticipate the theft of the vehicle’s shiny logo, which has increasingly become all too common.
It happened to my new/used Mazda 3 while I was parking my car in the lot next to my workplace. Suddenly, I noticed that the word “Mazda” – only a few centimeters long – was gone from the rear end, leaving three holes and a scratch (evidence that somebody had pried it off with a screwdriver).
Saddened by my “new” car suddenly turning “old,” I walked over to Mazda’s Adiv garage, where I was told that a new logo – just plastic dipped in metallic paint – would cost NIS 331, including VAT. I couldn’t believe my ears. There were no secondhand ones to be found, I was told, and “Forget about finding it cheaper anywhere. Mazda garages are the only ones that supply them,” they insisted.
At the auto accessories shops I went to next, I was told: “If you don’t want to pay NIS 331, get used to seeing the holes. You can’t buy anything cheaper.”
But fortunately, I thought of calling the Eldan company where I had bought the 2008 car a few months ago. The man on the line said, “Yes, there is a place in Jerusalem that sells the symbols.”
I made my way to Rehov Horshei Habarzel in Talpiot and entered the Ya’acov Vanunu reupholstery store.
“Yes, we sell most of the brands,” said shop founder Jacob and his son Avraham.
“And the price?” I asked nervously.
“NIS 90,” they said, and ordered exactly what I needed. It arrived the next day from the Vanunus’ agent, who represents a Chinese factory.
Some of the logos, such as Hyundai, cost only NIS 40, they said. As the car companies have an official monopoly on their symbols, they charge what they please, and the prices are outrageous.
The Vanunus said there used to be an Israeli factory that made them, but it closed down, so the symbols are now imported.
The majority of the thieves are boys aged up to 12 years, they said. “The boys steal them for their collections. Occasionally there is an adult whose car logo has been stolen and, unwilling to pay the high price, steals somebody else’s.”
Vanunu Sr. said he looks at cars parked on a street and notices whether the logos are missing. The worst in Jerusalem, he said, is Rehov Stern in Kiryat Hayovel.
“Keep an eye on your car if you park there,” he advised.
“Anything is stolen from a car, from radio antennas to the sun-protective cloth covers."
If your car has been stripped of its shiny logo and you don’t want to be victimized by the company garages, go to Vanunu at 1 Horshei Habarzel in Talpiot, call 678-3451 or e-mail