COE premiums fall for all vehicle types

Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended lower across the board at the last tender exercise of the year.

When bidding ended at 4pm yesterday, COE premiums for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed at $32,889 - 0.4 per cent lower than it did two weeks ago.

The COE price for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp fell by 5 per cent to finish at a five-month low of $36,000.

The premium for the open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but which ends up being used mostly for bigger cars, closed 2.3 per cent lower at $37,989.

Motor industry watchers attribute the lower premiums to buyers and sellers pulling back on registrations until the new year.

They say most sellers would have fulfilled sales targets for this year, and would be holding registrations for next year.

Most buyers would also prefer to wait for a couple of weeks more to register their new cars in a new year.

But Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of the diversified Prime group, said the market is still "very, very weak".

"The AML (Automobile Megamart in Ubi) is like a ghost town," he said.

But there are pockets of support, he said, such as Toyota agent Borneo Motors' pre-launch promotion of the new Corolla Altis - its long-time 1.6-litre bestseller.

Parallel importers have also started selling their version of the Altis.

Industry watchers attribute this to the relative small drop in the Category A premium (cars up to 1,600cc) vis-a-vis the drop in Category B price (cars above 1,600cc).

Meanwhile, the commercial vehicle COE price ended 2.1 per cent lower at $23,200.

This premium is still at its lowest in more than eight years, and the result of a continuous slide which began in October.

Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor's head of sales and marketing, Mr Ron Lim, said the period between now and Chinese New Year is usually a lull for the commercial vehicle market.

But with the prevailing weak economic sentiment, he said, premiums are "not likely to be going up any time soon".

The motorcycle COE premium closed 3.5 per cent lower at $3,658.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2019, with the headline 'COE premiums fall for all vehicle types'. Subscribe