Car COE premiums rise ahead of motor show

Motor dealers expect the Singapore Motorshow to drum up buying interest. Several new models - including a number of electric cars - will be launched at the event.
Motor dealers expect the Singapore Motorshow to drum up buying interest. Several new models - including a number of electric cars - will be launched at the event.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices for new vehicles ended mostly higher at the latest tender yesterday - the eve of the 2019 Singapore Motorshow.

COE premiums for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp finished 1.6 per cent higher at $25,920. Those for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp closed up 3.9 per cent at $32,200.

Premiums for Open COEs, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but end up mostly for cars, ended at $32,909 or 3.5 per cent higher than three weeks ago.

Commercial vehicle COE prices hardly changed, ending just $1 higher at $27,002.

The premium for motorcycles bucked the trend by ending 4.7 per cent lower at $3,610. But it jumped by more than $1,500 in the last minute of bidding on bulk bids - a sign that speculation among big players is back.

Motor dealers expect the Singapore Motorshow, which starts today, to drum up buying interest. Several new models - including a number of electric cars - will be launched at the event.

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said: "Companies want to set the prices before the show. After the show, it'd be a new ball game."

Mr Wong said the three-week gap between the latest tender and the previous one had also contributed to more aggressive bidding. Usually, the gap is two weeks, but it became three because certain months are longer than four weeks.

Market players also point to the continuous interest in hybrid cars among taxi and private-hire companies as another reason the Category B premium (for bigger cars) is rising. The new hybrid models tend to have engines which are bigger than 1,600cc.

Adding to the pressure will be the all-electric cars, most of which will fall in the Category B segment.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2019, with the headline 'Car COE premiums rise ahead of motor show'. Print Edition | Subscribe