SINGAPORE : COE prices for cars hit their highest since 2000, after sharp increases in the latest bidding exercise which ended on Wednesday.
COE premiums for big cars of more than 1,600cc rose a hefty S$14,612 to S$62,502.
The COE price for the Open Category, where the certificates are usually used to buy cars, was up S$15,010 to S$64,900.
For cars of 1,600cc and below, COE rose S$8,604 to S$47,604.
Car dealers said they expected COE premiums to increase as some customers want new cars for the Lunar New Year.
“We expect the uptrend to be around S$3,000 to S$5,000, but this time round, it went by about S$15,000. Still, it does not affect us that much because our client base is on the luxury cars market. To them, the S$10,000 to S$15,000 is not that much,” said Geraldine Lim, sales manager of Hybrid Motors.
Still, it's not clear if that will be the case in future as further cuts in COE quotas are expected in February next year.
Industry players said they expect COE prices to move up even more next year – possibly hitting the S$100,000 mark.
They said they are already seeing fewer first-time buyers who most probably would now have to settle for a second-hand car instead.
Ms Lim added that the price of cars would go up with COE being on the uptrend
Dealers said those want to get a new ride have to decide now.
“I think they would probably need to buy it within this month, because Lunar New Year is quite early – which is in early February – we don't have a lot of time for COE bidding. So those who hope to get their cars by Lunar New Year would probably have to make a commitment now,” said Chin Kee Min, senior manager of Kia Motors.
The higher COE premiums would also hit those who have not had their car prices guaranteed by dealers harder.
“I just bought my car a few weeks ago, the price was guaranteed so … for me the purchase price was fixed. But those who did not buy a guaranteed COE package, they may have to top up for the COE,” said one car buyer.
Some dealers are making the effort to attract those who are less price-sensitive.
The COE premiums for goods vehicles and buses increased S$799 to S$32,001, while those for motorcycles was up S$200 to S$1,701.
– CNA /ls
Channel News Asia