Car COE premiums fall as new emission ruling hits demand

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices for cars ended at their lowest in as long as eight years yesterday, just weeks from a new emission ruling that could further lower premiums.

COE premiums for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp fell by 4.1 per cent to close at a nine-month low of $36,426. COE prices for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp finished 5.2 per cent lower at an eight-year low of $36,000.

Premiums for Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles, closed 4.4 per cent lower to hit $37,000 - its lowest since March 2010.

Commercial vehicle COE prices remained almost unchanged at $29,902, from $29,901 previously. This premium is also at its lowest in a year.

Motorcycle premiums stood at $1 right up to the last five minutes of bidding. It then shot up to end at $7,001, its lowest in six months.

Dealers expect premiums to plummet in the coming months when fine particulate matter is included in an emission scheme from July 1. They said a number of parallel imports will no longer be viable, and competition for COEs will ease as a result.

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said the majority of cars affected would be bigger models - those above 1,600cc. Hence COE prices for these cars took the biggest tumble yesterday.

Mr Wong noted overall demand was also weaker because of the June school holidays.

"Private-hire players have also been absent," he said, referring to the likes of Grab and Uber. "With this absence, premiums are now more reflective of real demand from car buyers."

Uber had been bidding aggressively for COEs to register thousands of cars through its wholly owned Lion City Rentals since 2015.

Since Uber quit the Singapore market in late March, many of these cars have been flooding the used-car market.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Car COE premiums fall as new emission ruling hits demand'. Print Edition | Subscribe