COE for commercial vehicles hits new high again; premiums also up for cars and motorbikes

At $91,101, the premium for commercial vehicle COE – applicable to vans, trucks and lorries – was 3.77 per cent higher than the $87,790 posted a fortnight ago. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The certificate of entitlement (COE) price for commercial vehicles hit an all-time high in the tender exercise that closed on Wednesday.

At $91,101, the premium for commercial vehicle COE – applicable to vans, trucks and lorries – was 3.77 per cent higher than the $87,790 posted a fortnight ago.

This is the third time the price for such COEs has set records so far in 2023. They are now more expensive than the COEs used for smaller cars.

The COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp, as well as electric vehicles (EVs) with up to 110 kilowatts of power, finished at $88,000, up 1.67 per cent from $86,556.

For larger cars and more powerful EVs, the COE premium ended at $115,501, a 0.43 per cent increase over the previous $115,001.

The motorcycle COE premium also went up on Wednesday. At $12,390, it is 1.65 per cent higher than the previous round’s $12,189.

The Open category was the only type of COE to have seen a dip. The premium is now $116,000, down 1.7 per cent from $118,001.

The fall in price of the Open COE was expected by some in the industry.

At the previous round in February, the premium for such COEs rose to $118,001.

The market talk then was that dealers were restocking Open COEs as those secured earlier were being resold for more than $100,000 to buyers of ultra-luxury cars so they can avoid the higher taxes that apply to cars registered with COEs secured from the second tender exercise in February onwards.

One motor dealer said some traders are still offering the “old” Open COEs, but the asking price has dropped to “around $60,000”.

Fewer bids were received in total on Wednesday. Some industry watchers saw this as a reflection of a weak market across the board. They said showrooms have been quieter since all COE premiums rose in the second half of February.

In the category for cars with smaller and less powerful engines, for example, there were 665 bids compared with 702 bids at the previous tender exercise in February, a drop of 5.27 per cent.

The number of bids in the category for larger cars and EVs fell by 18.1 per cent compared with the last round.

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, suggested the latest bids were more likely from those who were unsuccessful at the previous round, rather than new bids for sales over the last two weeks.

Based on Land Transport Authority data, there were 565 unsuccessful bids for these two categories at the second tender in February. The dealers behind those bids would need to secure COEs to deliver the cars they had sold earlier.

Motor dealers hope the backlog of orders can be cleared by the next tender exercise in March, so premiums can reflect the real market situation.

For commercial vehicles, dealers are still scrambling for COEs before the current iteration of the Commercial Vehicle Emissions Scheme (CVES) is replaced by a revised one from April 1. Only one tender exercise is left before the deadline.

Sources said stocks of electric vans from various brands have been arriving in Singapore since late January. If they are not registered before the end of March, the buyer of a small electric van like the BYD T3 or DFSK EC35 will get $15,000 less rebate under the revised CVES.

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