Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums ended mixed in yesterday's tender as an enlarged quota cushioned a surge in buying interest.
The premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp slid 0.7 per cent to close at $57,089 and that for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp dipped 0.1 per cent to finish at $62,101.
The price of the Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up being used mostly for bigger cars, was hardly changed at $61,010 - just $9 more than its previous close three weeks ago.
Motor industry players said premiums would have fallen more this round if not for the longer-than- usual break between tenders.
The previous bidding exercise was three weeks ago, instead of the usual two. This has allowed car dealers more time to collect orders.
Usually, a bigger order bank would translate into higher premiums. But a bigger supply of certificates in the current quota period helped to mitigate this effect.
"Prices would have dropped if not for the three-week gap," said Mr Steve Poh, group managing director of diversified motor dealer Motorway. He added that buying interest is strong, as "you can get a new car for under $100,000 now".
Others said people going away during the week-long school holiday, and political rallies in the run-up to the General Election tomorrow may have diluted showroom traffic.
Even so, Mr Poh said "there is already a lot of backlog (of orders), with some based on a $50,000 COE".
Hence, he said, while premiums are on the downtrend, they are unlikely to go below $50,000 this year.
"Companies are also chasing numbers as they have to meet manufacturers' sales targets by year-end," he added.
Meanwhile, the commercial vehicle COE price crept up by 0.6 per cent to end at $46,801. The motorcycle COE price rose by 6.5 per cent to hit a five-month high of $6,512.