COE price falls rev up car buying interest

More than 20 new car models were unveiled on press day yesterday at this year's Singapore Motorshow at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.
More than 20 new car models were unveiled on press day yesterday at this year's Singapore Motorshow at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Demand likely to rise, given diving premiums in last two tenders, plus more COEs to come

The 2016 Singapore Motorshow flagged off yesterday, amid diving COE prices, new model launches and the prospect of more COEs in the coming months.

The event, which is being held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre until Sunday, boasts 180 cars - up from 150 last year.

More than 20 new models were unveiled on press day yesterday, including the Mazda 2 sedan, Nissan Pulsar and Audi R8 V10 Coupe.

Organised by the Singapore Motor Traders Association, the event is expected to fuel buying interest, which has already been whipped up by a significant slide in premiums for Certificates of Entitlement (COEs) over the last two tenders.

The association's vice-president, Mr Eric Chan, said: "Last year's show resulted in a noticeable increase in sales, so we decided to hold another this year. With around 35 per cent of the car population between eight and 10 years old, COE supply will grow significantly. But we expect demand will also grow."

Hence, the association's president, Mr Glenn Tan, expects the number of show visitors to exceed last year's 50,000.

One early show visitor was retiree Jeffrey Loh, 61, who was browsing for a new car. "I'm here to look-see. I drive a Honda CR-V which is nine years old. I bought it when the COE was around $20,000-plus. I think COE prices will fall; $30,000 would be a comfortable level."

Another visitor was Mr Yang Teng Lee, 52, who works in the oil industry. "My last motor show was a long time ago," said Mr Yang, who was at the event with his wife and two young daughters. "I took my family here to watch stunt driver Russ Swift. His performance was very good."

Meanwhile, as the show went under way, the Land Transport Authority released figures for last year's car registration.

The top 10 brands remained largely unchanged, but bestseller Toyota widened its lead with 12,171 cars sold - over 50 per cent more than runner-up Honda.

The German brands which used to hog the top spots fell by a couple of notches.

Mercedes-Benz, once the bestseller, was fourth. BMW was sixth, Volkswagen seventh, and Audi - which had its best year - eighth.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'COE price falls rev up car buying interest'. Print Edition | Subscribe