Blog Posts by Cheryl Tay

  • Cars in Singapore to become a greater luxury

    While everyone was harping on the high Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices, another spanner was thrown into the works with the recent announcements regarding cars.

    First, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has restricted financing for motor vehicles. Buying a car now requires a down payment of 40 to 50 per cent of the car purchase price in cash, including relevant taxes and the COE. In addition, the tenure of the loan has been changed to five years instead of 10. These revisions apply to both new and used cars, but not to motorcycles and commercial vehicles.

    During the budget speech, it was also announced that there will now be a tiered tax rate for passenger cars. Instead of all cars paying the same main vehicle tax (or known as additional registration fee or ARF) at a flat rate of 100 per cent of the car’s open market value (OMV), more A tire For example, a Mercedes-Benz E250 which has an OMV of above $50,000 will need to pay 180 per cent of incremental OMV.

    These cooling

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  • App opens up new private car service in Singapore

    Uber offers an alternative to taking the taxi. (Photo provided byUber)

    A new kind of private driver service was officially launched in Singapore Thursday, offering commuters an alternative form of transport.

    Called an on-demand limousine service, Uber is basically an application which will provide luxury transportation for you at your convenience.

    All you need to do is download the Uber app, register, key in your location and the nearest driver will be dispatched to you with an estimated arrival time. It functions similar to a taxi booking service, but the difference is that the cars used are of premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz, hence putting it a class above the regular taxis.

    At the end of your ride, the fare is charged to your credit card on file, and you receive a detailed receipt in-app and via email.

    Unlike a car sharing or car rental company, Uber does not own a fleet of cars. They work with limousine companies and the cars come complete with professional drivers dressed in suits and ties.

    At the moment, you won't be able to choose the type of

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  • Going beyond the showroom for a test drive

    Within a span of one month, I attended three driving experiences – by BMW M, Bentley and Audi. These events allow customers to try their hand at the cars outside of the usual showroom test drive.

    With makeshift tracks and professional driving instructors as guides, they provide the opportunity for participants to try the cars in various situations, other than just drive them around the showroom.

    The Changi Exhibition Centre, home of the airshow grounds, is a popular place for such driving events due to the vast space it has. Both the BMW M Power Drive Experience and the Bentley Continental GT Speed Experience were held there one week after another at the end of November. Participants get to learn and practise driving techniques such as high speed braking zones, high speed corners, emergency lane changes and slalom.

    Lito German, marketing director of BMW Asia who organised the BMW M Power Drive Experience said, “One of the best ways to understand and enjoy a BMW vehicle is quite simply

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  • An insight into the Australian motorsport culture

    Crowd at the World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney. (Photo from

    The atmosphere at WTAC keeps getting better, thanks to the The atmosphere at WTAC improves every year, thanks to international competitors and the freedom to roam into any garage to get upclose and personal with the mechanics and race cars. (Photo courtesy of

    Earlier this month I had the opportunity to head down under for the World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney. This is a popular motorsport event where competitors race against the clock for the fastest lap time. There were no Singaporean drivers, but there was one car built by a Singaporean.

    Henry Lim, owner of tuning company Cosmic Performance, has been working on cars since he first got to Australia 12 years ago. He started his own automotive business in 2009, providing tuning services, engine building, importing and distributing of parts, as well as developing his own line of in-house products. Prior to that, he held a full-time job as a project manager in manufacturing, while providing tuning and consulting services to workshops outside of office hours.

    The Subaru WRX he built for Peter Fuller to run at WTAC this year unfortunately fell prey to some parts issues and failed to make it out of the pit. He then spent the rest of the event managing the Cosmic Performance booth which was

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  • The new B-class. (Photo from

    What are some of the main causes of driving errors?

    Peter Hackett, Australian racing driver and chief instructor of the Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience, touched on them in a presentation recently.

    Developed in Germany to teach participants how to recognise and avoid dangers while experiencing the luxury car brand brand, the Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience is a series of full-day driving programmes, one of which I attended.

    The event was held in Singapore from 17 to 26 August at Changi Exhibition Centre, hosting about 330 participants in total.

    In Peter's presentation, he said the biggest cause of driving errors is inappropriate speed, followed by failure to observe right of way, maintaining of insufficient distance, errors when turning off, incorrect use of road and influence of alcohol.

    Inappropriate speed, Peter explained, is the inability of the driver to recognise the speed for the environment. For example, there are speed limits on public roads, but within the temporary track

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  • ‘Why COE system is outdated and needs to be relooked’

    Fluctuating COE prices every fortnight is bad for the industry, says our writer. (Yahoo! photo)Fluctuating COE prices every fortnight is bad for the industry, says our writer. (Yahoo! photo)

    Does the Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) system still achieve its objectives or does it need to be reviewed in today's context?

    From August 2012, the number of vehicles allocated for COE quota will increase by no more than 1 per cent per annum and no more than 0.5 per cent per annum from February 2013 through to January 2015.

    Initially, the cut was to be from 1.5 per cent straight down to 0.5 per cent from next month.

    Overall COE supply will be cut and public anticipation includes a rise in the already high COE prices.

    We each have our own opinions but for me, I feel that the COE system serves its purpose in many ways. In others, it's outdated and some components can be reviewed.

    Here what's wrong with the COE system:

    1) Favours the wealthy

    COEs are allocated based on a person's ability to pay rather than his/her needs.

    The auction-style system favours the wealthy who can afford to bid with higher prices for COEs, even affording multiple COEs, while lower income families which may

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  • S’pore students encouraged to build cars of tomorrow

    Singaporean students are encouraged to build energy-efficient cars. (Photo courtesy of Shell)

    With rising gasoline prices and carbon emissions, the future of the automotive industry is geared towards sustainability as cars are being developed with alternative energy sources and materials. Aimed at increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions, we witness hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles being introduced into our lives.

    One future mobility initiative for schools is the Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM), a worldwide challenge where student engineers and scientists aged 16 to 25 design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles. With three events each year — one in America, one in Europe and one in Asia — the winning vehicle is the one which goes the farthest with the least amount of energy, on one litre of fuel to be exact.

    From designing to financing the vehicles, participating teams have to manage the entire project with skills in science, technology, mathematics, and business. Created by global petroleum giant Shell, the objective is to encourage

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  • REVIEW: Volkswagen CC


    Having undergone an image update, the Volkswagen CC is significantly re-designed. (Photo: Adrian Wong)

    When I told my friends that I was reviewing the Volkswagen CC, some of them had the impression that it was a coupe-cabriolet. I don't blame them, as the "CC" suffix in cars such as the Renault Megane CC and the Peugeot 308CC mean Coupe-Cabriolet. In the case of the Volkswagen CC though, it means Comfort Coupe.

    As literal as it gets, that's exactly what the Volkswagen CC is — a comfortable luxury 'four-door coupe'. My friends were quick to halt me mid-sentence when I was explaining more about the car — "How can a coupe be four-door?!"

    Allow me to clarify.

    The Volkswagen CC is a premium mid-sized sedan, hence four doors and five seats, but is styled like a coupe; therefore having a tight sloping roof line and marginally smaller space (though still having ample legroom for rear passengers) in the back half of the car. Into its second generation, it was previously known as the Passat CC but is now simply referred to as the CC. Derived from the Volkswagen Passat sedan, it is

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  • Melyssa Grace performed hula, tap, jazz and ballet in Hawaii and even competed in beauty pageants. (Photo courtesy of Melyssa Grace)

    Attributing her exotic looks to her Filipino and German descent, the popular Melyssa Grace from the U.S. is not just a pretty face but also a mean drifter behind the wheel. With experience in car shows such as being crowned Miss Formula Drift 2010 and Miss Hot Import Nights San Mateo 2007, she will be making her maiden trip to Singapore for Super Import Nights 2012.

    Q: Tell us more about yourself.
    I'm 28 years old this year and I'm a model, as well as a drifter. Born in Oakland, California, I grew up in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

    Q: When did you start modeling?
    I have always dreamt of modeling since I was a little girl, often posing for my mother's camera and walking like a model. Growing up in Hawaii, I had opportunities to dance (hula, tap, jazz and ballet) and compete in beauty pageants. I started modeling since the age of 14, so that makes it about 14 years of experience!

    Q: What are some of the challenges in your job as a model?
    Dealing with the jetlag when I travel for overseas

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  • Review: Fourth-Generation Honda CR-V

    The fourth-Generation Honda CR-V (Photo: Adrian Wong)

    The latest CR-V — the fourth generation to be introduced since the first emerged in the late '90s — comes with an improved look and better fuel efficiency, among others in the upgraded list of convenient and useful features.

    I've always had a curiosity to find out what the acronyms in a car model name mean, and in the case of the CR-V, it means Comfortable Runabout Vehicle (快適に自由に走り回る移動体) according to Honda Japan. I cannot think of a more fitting description for this crossover SUV. With the wider array of features in the CR-V, the meaning behind its name just became more apt.

    Sporting an aesthetic redesign inside and out, the new CR-V takes on a more aggressive form from before, with a touch of futurism in its fluid lines. The CR-V's internals come with a choice of two engine variants — the 2-litre base model and the 2.4-litre which we test drove here. Matched with a five-speed automatic transmission, the higher-spec CR-V has paddle shifts that you can work the engine with.

    Driving the

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