Fall in COE prices: Car showrooms busier, but some customers take wait-and-see approach

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SINGAPORE — At the Hyundai car showroom at Leng Kee Road on Sunday (Nov 12) afternoon, several families — some with kids in tow — were checking out each car on display and speaking to sales staff. 

Around 20 people were in the packed showroom when TODAY visited at 2pm, and there was a buzz of activity in the air.

“Showroom traffic doubled, (with people) enquiring for both Category A and B hybrids,” said Mr Ng Choon Wee, group commercial director for Komoco Motors, which distributes Hyundai here, adding that this doubling was from the previous bidding exercise on Oct 18.

This was the first weekend since the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices fell across the board in the latest bidding exercise earlier this week. 

COE premiums for bigger and more powerful cars in Category B, as well as those in Open category, fell by over 20 per cent, or between S$33,000 and S$40,000, after hitting record high prices for six consecutive bidding exercises.

Open category COEs can be used for any vehicle type except motorcycles but are typically used to register large cars. 

Category A premiums, for smaller cars, saw a decline of almost 10 per cent, dropping over S$10,000 to S$95,689.

Car sellers that TODAY visited or spoke to reported an increase in enquiries to varying degrees, though none revealed this directly led to better sales.

Some other dealers, particularly those dealing with secondhand cars, observed little to no significant change in interest.

At the four showrooms TODAY visited for half a day on Sunday, all nine customers who were approached said that they were still browsing.

While some said they were moved by the news about COE price drop to check out the market, they were not in a rush to make a purchase, with some saying that the dip in premiums were still not enough for them.


Besides Komoco Motors, some other dealers and distributors also reported a marked increase in interest among potential customers.

Polestar, an automotive company which only sells Category B electric cars, saw an uptick in appointments made with its sales consultants as well as walk-ins into its showroom along Leng Kee Road.

“(We) can’t give actual numbers but (we saw) about a 20 per cent increase from the previous week,” said Ms Adele Lee, assistant general manager for Polestar, Wearnes Automotive.

Meanwhile at CarTimes, which deals with both new and preowned cars, its chief operations officer Benjamin Loo told TODAY that the company saw a roughly 30 per cent increase in queries from the previous week, for both old and new cars.

“Customers usually come in with a certain set budget. From there, they make queries and look at all packages for both old and new cars, and then they see what they can afford,” said Mr Loo.

“Of course for those who can afford a brand new one, or they can stretch their budgets a little, they would opt for the new one.”

None of the car sellers, however, gave indication of how the drop in COE premiums has impacted actual sales, citing commercial sensitivities.

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