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Buying interest has revved up after the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices for cars hit their lowest in nearly a decade.

09 Jul 2018 | Local News : Singapore

Car showrooms along Leng Kee Road and Alexandra Road were abuzz with activity yesterday, with potential buyers turning up in force. Dealers told The Sunday Times that footfall was between 20 and 30 percent higher than a regular weekend, and they expect the crowds to flock back today.

Footfall was between 20 to 30 percent higher than a regular weekend
While most declined to reveal how many orders they received, Ron Lim, Tan Chong Motors' head of Sales and Marketing said sales are 'up more than three times'.

Buying interest has revved up after the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices for cars hit their lowest in nearly a decade. At the latest tender exercise which ended on Wednesday, the premium for cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp dropped by 26.7 percent to $25,000 - the lowest since March 2010. The COE price for cars above 1,600cc or 130bhp declined by 8.6 percent to $31,000.

Industry players attributed the fall largely to a tightened vehicular emission ruling that took effect on 1st July, which, resulted in several car models, like the Mazda3 sedan, being slapped with surcharges.

Still, the sustained fall in car COE prices over the last few bidding rounds has allowed dealers to keep prices low. Before 1st July, a 1.5-litre Mazda3 cost $89,000, but it is now going for $80,800 with COE.

Mr. Jason Lim, 30, a pharmaceutical specialist, said the drop in COE prices has 'accelerated' his decision to get a set of wheels. "The prices are very attractive. But at the same time, everyone is out shopping and retailers may be giving out better promotions if we shop around," said Mr. Lim.

Prices have accelerated the decision for some to get a set of wheels
Mr. Gary Quek, Sales Manager at Honda agent Kah Motor, said showroom traffic was up by 30 per cent yesterday. "Because of the lower COE premiums, Honda car prices have dropped by between $3,000 and $5,000", Mr. Quek said.

Tan Chong Motors' Mr. Lim said a Nissan model that has garnered strong bookings is the Sylphy, with prices starting from $79,800. "It is the first time in many years that prices are under $80,000 for a 1.6-litre Japanese sedan", said Mr. Lim.

"Many buyers have committed but equally many still need time to work out their budgets, as they didn't even think of buying a new car until now", he added.

A senior marketing manager of a car dealership, who declined to be named, was less sanguine. He said, "We don't expect people to rush in to buy the cars, as they are still evaluating the impact of the lower COE prices and the tighter emissions standards."

"Unlike other dealers, we are not breaking out the champagne just yet."
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