Sky-high COE prices push consumers toward used cars


High Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices are likely to deter Singaporeans from buying new cars. (Photo: AFP)

Singaporeans said surging Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices are likely to deter them from buying new cars and instead turn to the second-hand car market for vehicles to purchase

The recent tender conducted on Wednesday saw COE prices increase between S$2,000 and S$4,000 across all categories except motorcycles.

"Is the government trying to stop us from driving cars? The COE difference is too much. It's equal to a secondhand car," said account executive Tan Poh Ling. "Rich people will still buy cars because it's a luxury to them, so the money doesn't really matter. But middle class people like us will be affected."

The 40-year-old added that as the COE price increase might lead to higher demand for secondhand cars, prices in that market might rise.

Other motorists feel resigned to the situation. Retail shop director Lim Saw Eng feels that Singaporeans would continue to buy new cars despite high COE prices.

Said the 49-year-old, "Singaporeans get seasoned very fast, so they'll grumble but get used to high COEs and continue to buy new cars. COE prices usually increase by a lot, but when there's a small decrease of a few hundred dollars people will start buying again. People only complain."

She added that on the other hand, the "market for secondhand cars is good" as people who are unable to afford new cars would opt for used ones.

This is the second COE bidding exercise held this month. An earlier exercise had been conducted on 8th February.

With the latest COE price hike, prospective buyers for cars up to 1,600cc and taxis have to pay S$57,009, an increase of S$4,200 from the earlier bidding exercise in February. Similarly, the COE for cars above 1,600cc rose by S$4,299 to the current price of S$78,189.

In addition, the COE for goods vehicles and buses increased by S$2,203 to S$52,004. Motorcycle buyers bear the least brunt of the price spike, as they have to pay $210 more for the COE, which is now set at S$2,012.