Prices of all COEs rise; premiums for big cars climb 5% to hit $106k

Certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums rose across all categories at the latest tender exercise that closed yesterday.

This was the first tender exercise since COE premiums broke the $100,000 mark in two categories on June 8.

The COE price for cars with engines bigger than 1,600cc or 130bhp and fully electric vehicles (EVs) with more than 110 kilowatts went up by 5.3 per cent from $100,684 to $106,001.

In the Open category, whose COEs tend to be used to register larger cars, the premium rose to $104,400 - 3.7 per cent above the $100,697 registered previously.

The COE price for smaller cars and less powerful EVs went up by 1.6 per cent from $73,801 to $74,989.

The commercial vehicle premium edged up by $9 to end at $53,011.

The price of COEs for motorcycles went up by 3 per cent, from $10,000 to $10,302.

Some car dealers said the number of unsuccessful bids registered in the two most recent tender exercises reflects how severely the supply of COEs is falling behind the demand for cars.

In the category for larger cars, there were 822 bids vying for 531 COEs in the latest tender, which meant 291 bidders failed to secure COEs. There was a similar number of failed bids in the June 8 exercise. And in the four exercises before that, the number of excess bids was between 128 and 186.

Bids for such COEs are entered only when there is a buyer waiting to register a car.

COE tender exercises run for three days. Normally, bids are entered only on the final day, often minutes before the closing.

In the latest tender exercise that closed yesterday, an observer noted that there were already 89 bids registered by 6pm on Tuesday in the large car category.

While these bids can be from individual car buyers, that is not a common practice. Instead, the observer suggested that they might have been from the American EV brand Tesla, which is able to place the maximum bid amount in advance instead of revising bids as the exercise progresses like other brands.

The supply of Teslas to Singapore seems to have taken a hit due to production shortages in recent months.

From April to May, only 10 Teslas were registered. This was significantly below the average of 60 units a month seen in the first quarter of this year.

If Tesla was the one putting in the bulk of advance bids, then the brand had likely received a sufficient shipment of cars and was getting ready for registration.

Other car dealers have also been holding more roadshows to pick up more orders.

Additionally, there are signs that the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) announcement to move lesser-powered mass market EVs into the small car COE category last month could also be partially responsible for the higher COE premium for smaller cars.

Last month, Chinese brand MG registered 100 units of its ZS EV SUV, which is one of the EVs to benefit from the change. The brand had registered just 32 units in total in the first four months of the year.

Mr Eddie Loo, president of the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association, said it is clear demand for COEs is outstripping supply.

He added: "At this rate, we may really have to accept the $100,000 COE premium as the new norm."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2022, with the headline Prices of all COEs rise; premiums for big cars climb 5% to hit $106k. Subscribe