Certificates of entitlement (COE) premiums for cars ended sharply lower at the final tender of the year yesterday, while premiums for motorbikes and commercial vehicles remained firm.
The COE price for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp closed 9.8 per cent lower at $38,200, the lowest in three months.
Meanwhile, the COE premium for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp finished 12.5 per cent lower at $47,002, the lowest in 12 months.
The price for open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but ends up mostly for bigger cars, ended 11.6 per cent lower at $48,011, the lowest in three months.
Commercial vehicle COE cost at $45,112 or 7.4 per cent higher, while motorcycle premium shot up by 14.5 per cent to close at an eight-month high of $7,501.
Motor traders said fresh orders have slowed to a trickle as consumers adopt a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the new Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES), which kicks in on Jan 1.
The VES imposes higher surcharges on emissions of carbon dioxide as well as four other pollutants. Many cars that qualify for tax rebates today will lose their rebates, and some may even attract surcharges under the scheme.
Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of motor group Prime, said: "I've said this all along, that COE will drop in line with surcharges expected in the VES. Just that it has happened sooner than I expected."
He said while a number of cars brought in by authorised agents face tax surcharges under the VES, there are equivalent parallel imported models which still qualify for rebates.
This means the authorised agents cannot afford to pass the higher cost on to consumers. Hence, they will have thinner margins with which to secure COEs.
Mr Neo expects premiums to remain soft until the market reaches its next equilibrium.
Singapore Motorcycle Trade Association honorary general secretary Norman Lee said a last-ditch rush to beat the Euro 4 emission standard for above-200cc bikes had pushed the bike COE price up. Christopher Tan