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With the circuit breaker period extended for another month, we look at the implications on car owners and the industry at large.

22 Apr 2020

The Government announced on Monday that the circuit breaker period will be extended for another month, until 1 June. This means the continued closure of many non-essential businesses, as well as continued disruption across multiple spheres of life.

What does this mean for us as drivers and car owners? Here, we highlight five things you should take note of...

1. Car parks in parks, gardens and nature reserves will be closed

Driving to your ideal exercising spot at a park or nature reserve will no longer be a sensible option
As part of new circuit breaker measures to further reduce community transmission of the COVID-19 virus, it has been announced that car parks in parks, gardens and nature reserves will be closed.

Therefore, if you are thinking of heading there for a run, be sure to either consider alternative parking locations, or using another form of transport. At the same time, the Government has also encouraged that people to exercise in their neighbourhood, and avoid travelling further out unnecessarily. 

2. Vehicle recovery and repair service remain open

Essential car repair and recovery services will continue to be available
There has been no change on this, so car workshops that provide essential recovery and repair services remain open.

If you run into issues such as a breakdown or tyre puncture, you can still have your car repaired such that you can carry on using the car.

Non-critical car maintenance, such as regular servicing, car cleaning and detailing, or minor repair works, will have to wait until after this circuit breaker period is over. 

3. Car showrooms to remain closed

Car showrooms will remain closed until June
Car showrooms will remain closed, so those looking to purchase a new car will have to do so virtually. Otherwise, you're going to have to wait until this circuit breaker period is over. In either case, you will only be able to physically secure your new car after 1 June.

However, for potential new car buyers who need to trade in their existing vehicle, things might be trickier.

Most second hand dealers will have existing stock sitting on hand and unable to move, and that will limit their ability to take in any more second hand cars. These used cars are also basically losing value each day that they remain stationary at the dealers. Car exporters are also facing difficulties. As a result, trade-in values for used cars are likely to be very low.

4. COE bidding will likely remain suspended

It is expected that the May COE bidding exercises will be suspended
While there hasn't yet been an official announcement from the LTA, the May COE bidding exercise will likely be suspended, judging by what happened during the initial circuit breaker announcement.

What, then, becomes of the two months worth of untapped COEs? As we have previously highlighted, this will eventually have a downstream impact on future bidding exercises, and future COE prices. 

5. Car disposal deadline should be extended as well

Online services are still available at the OneMotoring portal
As with the COE bidding suspension, we expect LTA to also extend the provision for owners whose cars are required to be deregistered and disposed of during this CB period. The deadline for cars due for inspection should logically be extended as well.

For car owners who don't foresee using their car much, you can consider laying up your car during this CB period. However, there's a fair amount of administrative work that needs doing. Also, a laid-up car will lose its eligibility for PARF rebates. So, it's up to you to decide if it's worth the hassle, but we personally don't think most drivers will find it necessary.

During this additional one-month circuit breaker period, we will all continue to face inconveniences in our lives. But, let's all be sensible and responsible - the quicker we can get this situation under the control, the sooner we can return to some semblance of normality!

So, remember to stay safe, and stay home as much as possible.

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