COE for smaller cars crosses $70,000 in first exercise to include new criterion for EVs

This was the first tender exercise to include the new 110kw power categorisation for EVs, which was announced in March. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums rose in the car categories but fell for the other classes at the latest tender exercise which closed on Friday (May 6).

The COE premium went up by 3.2 per cent from $68,699 to $70,901 for smaller cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp, or fully electric vehicles (EVs) with a power output of up to 110 kilowatts (kw).

COE premiums for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp, as well as EVs with more than 110kw, rose by 2.3 per cent from $90,002 to $92,090.

This was the first tender exercise to include the new 110kw power categorisation for EVs, which was announced in March. It was also the first under the new three-month quota period from May to July, which has 14.3 per cent more COEs available overall than the previous period.

Commercial vehicle COE dipped by 2.1 per cent from $52,002 to $50,890.

The price of motorcycle COEs continued to trend downwards. It ended at $9,489, a 3.2 per cent drop from $9,801 at the previous tender.

Open category COE, which tends to be used on larger cars, fell 4.9 per cent from $95,801 to $91,112.

It is unusual for Open category COEs to be cheaper than those for large cars. The last time this happened was at the second tender exercise in February, when COE prices for both categories shot above $90,000.

COEs in the car categories are not transferable but Open category COEs are. 

Mr Raymond Tang, honorary secretary of the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association, said the results show there are more genuine orders for cars rather than bids submitted by traders who may be securing Open COEs to transfer them on when a buyer is found.

Open COEs must be used to register any vehicle (other than motorcycles) within three months before they are returned into the pool for bidding. 

Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Kah Motor, said that the fall in Open category COE premiums this time round may be partly due to there being many such COEs from earlier tender exercises that have yet to be utilised. 

The ones secured at the second tender in February at $93,102 will expire by the end of May. The batch that came after cost $99,010 each. They will be due by the middle of June. 

Given that these COEs are more expensive than the latest COE premiums, the holders may not be able to offload them without taking losses. 

“The traders are probably too busy trying to get rid of these COEs  to chase  the premiums during this time to accumulate more stock,” he said.

As for the rise in COE premiums for smaller cars despite the larger quota, there is a general consensus among motor dealers that it was driven by the entrance of the lower powered EVs into the category. Another factor may be dealers who missed out on the lower premiums in last month’s bidding overcompensating to secure the COEs.

At the same time, the concerted effort to encourage the adoption of EVs may be gaining traction among consumers looking at EVs in general. 

Ms Sabrina Sng, managing director at Wearnes Automotive in charge of Swedish EV brand Polestar, said that the showroom has been seeing “very healthy interest”, even though the overall car market has been weak. 

Overall, the expectation from motor traders is for COE premiums trending upwards in the coming months given that overall supply of COEs is still low.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.