Mercedes-Benz is king of the road here after dethroning rival BMW as Singapore's top seller.
According to figures released by the Land Transport Authority yesterday, Mercedes put 3,871 new cars on the road last year to pip the 3,730 from BMW, which had occupied top spot since 2011. Toyota was third with 3,459. The placings confirmed last month's forecast made by The Straits Times.
Before 2011, Mercedes had mostly been ahead of BMW. The exceptions included 2005, 2006 and 2010. And before these two German brands became contenders for the bestseller's title, Japan's Toyota ruled for nine straight years from 2002 - the longest reign for any brand here.
Observers said the change in certificate of entitlement (COE) categorisation this year may pave the way for Toyota to pull ahead again. From next month, cars qualifying for Category A COE - the biggest category - must not produce more than 130bhp in engine power. This is on top of an existing 1,600cc limit on engine size.
Because of this, BMW and Mercedes will exit the segment, and possibly cede top spot to Toyota, which focuses on mass-market models. But the lead, if it materialises, may not be permanent. Industry players believe the two German giants will return with models to meet the new COE criterion.