Certificates of Entitlement finished mixed in the latest tender yesterday, although premiums remained at among their highest in recent years.
COEs for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp ended 0.7 per cent lower at $46,791. COEs for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp closed 0.04 per cent lower at $57,390.
Open COEs, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles, finished at $57,501, or 0.9 per cent higher than previously.
Commercial vehicle COEs closed 0.6 per cent lower at $57,701. Motorcycle premiums shot up by 8.9 per cent to hit a four-month high of $5,992.
Motor firms, especially those representing continental brands, have been fanning demand with a "buy now, not later" messaging, telling consumers that prices will rise when the new Vehicle Emissions Scheme (VES) kicks in in January.
Most cars will either lose their current tax rebates or even see tax surcharges with the new scheme, which rewards or penalises according to a car's emissions. But motor traders are divided on whether that will lead to higher car prices because some cars which are currently in the neutral band (qualifying for neither rebate nor surcharge) will remain in the neutral band come January.
Mr Ron Lim, general manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, said: "It's very uncertain at this juncture... the last thing we want is for everybody to rush to register cars by year-end, and then end up with no inventory for January."
He thinks dealers will cut back on models which will be affected adversely by the VES. And they will introduce or ramp up those which will not be affected.
Besides the VES though, Mr Lim said premiums might inch upwards over the long term. "We know for certain quota size will continue to shrink.
"If the economy picks up, that will give support to premiums."