COE prices for small cars, commercial vehicles fall

Premiums for certificates of entitlement (COE) ended mixed in the latest tender yesterday in the midst of conflicting factors.

The COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp finished 1 per cent lower at $50,991 on the back of weaker demand from private-hire players such as Uber.

The premium for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp closed 6.4 per cent higher at $56,410 due to more aggressive bidding ahead of a quota shrinkage from next month.

The price of open COEs, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for bigger cars, was up 3.9 per cent for the same reason.

The commercial vehicle COE price slipped by 6.4 per cent to end at a five-month low of $45,589 ahead of a 3.1 per cent growth in supply next month. The supply of car COEs, on the other hand, will contract by 7 to 8 per cent.

The motorcycle premium ended $1 higher at $6,354 as growing demand from food-delivery companies offset a 3.2 per cent increase in the number of COEs next month.

Mr Steve Poh, managing director of diversified motor dealer Motorway, said the car market is "generally slower".

Sellers of bigger cars, however, have bigger profit margins with which to secure COEs, and many were "chasing sales targets as the year end approaches", he said.

As for the mass market, Mr Poh reckons private-hire operators have slowed down their fleet expansion plans because "they have problems finding drivers".

"I'm sure they've stopped bidding for the time being," he said.

Motor traders said an upcoming event - Singapore Press Holdings' TheCars@Expo - is likely to push up demand for COEs in the next tender. The annual retail event is slated for Oct 29 and 30 at Singapore Expo halls 4 and 5, and is expected to generate more sales.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2016, with the headline 'COE prices for small cars, commercial vehicles fall'. Print Edition | Subscribe