Certificate of entitlement (COE) prices ended higher across the board in the latest tender yesterday as the just concluded Cars@Expo show whipped up buying interest.
COE premiums for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp rose 7.1 per cent to finish at a five-month high of $34,001.
COE prices for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp posted the sharpest increase, rising 11.8 per cent to reach $41,361, also a five-month high.
Premiums for the Open COEs, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but end up mostly for bigger cars, were 2.5 per cent higher at $41,001.
Commercial vehicle COE prices rose 3.7 per cent to end at $26,509. The motorcycle premium closed 5.5 per cent higher at $3,800.
Some 35 exhibitors took up 78 booths at the Cars@Expo sales event over the weekend.
According to early estimates, 100,000 people visited the event, and over 900 cars - both new and used - worth around $120 million were sold.
Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said a combination of factors drove premiums higher yesterday.
"It's Cars@Expo, it's the three-week bidding cycle (longer than the usual two weeks), and fear that there will be another cut to the quota for the next three-month period," he said.
Mr Neo added that the sharp rise in COE prices for bigger cars was also a correction to close the gap between that category and the Open category.
The two are usually similarly priced, but were $3,000 apart in the previous exercise.
Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, observed that the number of bids had not changed significantly from the previous exercise despite the Cars@Expo event.
According to the Land Transport Authority, the number of car COE bids received climbed 9 per cent to 3,819.
Mr Wong said fundamentally, both the car and motorcycle markets were still "weak".
But there was some "panic" bidding because of expectations of higher premiums arising from the Cars@Expo event and the longer three-week gap between tenders.
As for motorcycle COEs, Mr Wong said yesterday's rise was a correction from the sharp drop three weeks ago, which saw the premium fall from $4,089 to $3,601. Christopher Tan