Big-car COE price falls below small-car premium

Customers at the Nissan showroom at Leng Kee Road.
Customers at the Nissan showroom at Leng Kee Road. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The certificate of entitlement (COE) price for small cars yesterday ended higher than the big-car premium in a tender characterised by relatively subdued bidding despite a sales surge.

In the latest exercise, the premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed at $51,301, 14 per cent higher than the price two weeks ago.

The COE price for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp fell by 8.8 per cent to close at $50,089 - its lowest since November 2010. It was also one of the rare times that the big-car COE price dipped below the premium for smaller cars.

The price for the Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for bigger cars, fell by 7.4 per cent to end at $51,000. Again, this COE's price- at its lowest in more than five years - is hardly ever lower than the small- car premium.

The commercial vehicle premium finished 10.6 per cent higher at $46,502, narrowing the gap between the COE price for a Mercedes-Benz S-class limousine and one for a Nissan NV200 panel van.

The motorcycle premium closed at $6,512, 5.5 per cent down from its previous price, which was an all-time high of $6,889.

Motor traders said the previous drop of almost $10,000 in the small-car premium had whipped up interest in the segment, while a weakening stock market had dampened the appetite for bigger cars.

The number of small-car COE bids rose by more than 40 per cent from the previous tender, but the price rebounded by only 14 per cent.

Singapore Motor Traders Association vice-president Eric Chan said: "After the last drop in Cat A (small-car COE), the market was really hot for Cat A cars."

But he added that car dealers had priced their cars in anticipation of a COE supply bonanza starting from next month, and that could have led to a more measured rebound.

As for the big-car COE price, Singapore Vehicle Traders Association president Michael Lim said a weakened stock market was partly to blame, as buyers of bigger models tend to be more invested in stocks.

And as big-car purchases are usually more discretionary than small-car purchases, Mr Lim added, there is "some holding back... as people also expect the COE quota to increase from next month".

CHRISTOPHER TAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Big-car COE price falls below small-car premium'. Print Edition | Subscribe