(Photo Credit: Straits Times)
Update: 7 December 2018, 12pm
In December 2018's 1st COE bidding, Cat A premiums fell to $23,658, the lowest since March 2010. The fall in COE prices comes even with LTA’s implementation of a zero-growth scheme on cars, a big step towards a car-lite society in Singapore.
Many professionals in the industry accredit this to a weak market outlook in the approaching year with an uncertain economic outlook. Demand for cars has been falling, causing what some industry professionals called a “buyer's market” in the new car market, when supply outstrips demand.
However, an increased COE quota for the period of November 2018 to January 2019 may have played a part in this drastic fall. LTA announced that the COE quota for the period of November 2018 to January 2019 will be 30,143, up from 27,683 in August to October 2018.
Thus, with falling COE prices, the list price of cars fall too. The prices you see below are correct as of 7 December 2018.
Category A COE prices fall below $24,000, landing at $23,658, the lowest since March 2010. Why and how did that happen? Is this a good sign for car buyers?
The fall in Cat A COE prices is mainly due to the increased quota from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for the months of August to October. The total COE quota increased from 8,202 in July to 9,225 bids in the current period.
The increase in COE quotas stem from the higher-than-usual number of deregistered Cat A cars in this period of 2018. Cat A car quotas went up from 2,867 to 3,328. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Cat B and E (Open Cat) cars, with their quotas slashed from 2,559 to 2,529 and 1,113 to 1,055 respectively.
The numbers may seem confusing, with the overall COE quota going up and Category B and E quotas going down. That’s because the rest of the growth goes to Cat D, which is for motorcycles, which also saw a high number of deregistrations in this period.
Regardless of what experts might say about the drop being temporary and that we should still remain cautious about buying a car, the undeniable fact is now might be one of the best times in years to buy a new Cat A car.
COE prices have been in a downward trend since the start of the year. Apart from Cat A dipping to $25,000 at the start of July this year, premiums for Cat A have never been lower since 2010. This is despite LTA’s implementation of a zero-growth scheme on cars, a big step towards a car-lite society in Singapore.
The drop in Cat A COE prices are good news for many Japanese and Korean car brands that mostly sell affordable, small cars. Owning a car is a luxury in Singapore, and with Cat A prices under $30,000, now is a good opportunity to purchase a new small car for under $80,000 (including COE).
After looking through the new car market, we have come up with five Cat A cars worth getting for under $80,000. The prices stated below are correct as of 7 December 2018.
1. Honda Jazz 1.3 (A) S$66,999
(Photo Credit: Torque)
Recently undergoing a facelift earlier this year, the Honda Jazz has been a familiar sight on our roads since its arrival five years ago. The new car has a new front grille and LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights.
The Jazz is popular in Singapore for good reasons. It’s comfortable, affordable, practical and spacious for a hatchback this size. The 1.3 litre engine produces 98 brake horsepower (bhp). With the car’s small size and engine, it also promises good fuel economy and an easy time behind the wheel.
2. Mitsubishi Attrage 1.2 CVT Elegance (A) S$55,999
(Photo Credit: Mitsubishi Singapore)
Truly a budget car for the masses, the Attrage provides its would-be owners the most bang for your buck. The car has a 1.2 litre engine provides 79 bhp, enough power for this small and light car to get you around town. Mitsubishi boasts that the car has a fuel consumption rate of 20.4km/litre, which should help you save at the pumps.
Inside, despite its size, the car feels spacious enough to fit three adults at the back. Also, with its boot space of 450 litres, it should have no problems fitting a few overnight bags for a weekend trip up north!
3. Kia Cerato 1.6 L (A) S$73,999
(Listed price has not been updated by Kia to reflect current COE prices)
(Photo Credit: Kia Singapore)
The new Kia Cerato is one handsome car to behold. Arriving hot on the heels of the fast and stylish Kia Stinger, which was released early in the year, the Cerato boasts similar looks to the well-praised Stinger but without the hefty price tag and bomb of an engine. The Cerato has a 1.6 litre engine producing 126 bhp, which is very similar to the Hyundai Elantra.
Apart from its looks, it is also a very practical small car. The back is spacious, and the boot has a capacity of 502 litres. This car will be able to carry both people and bulky goods with ease.
4. Mazda 2 Hatchback 1.5 Standard (A) S$71,300
(Photo Credit: Mazda Singapore)
Despite being around since 2015, the Mazda 2 Hatchback still looks relatively fresh. Mazda has some of the most stylish and reliable cars in the market today, and the cheapest car in this line-up does deliver on that.
It has a 1.5 litre engine delivering 114 bhp, and the car’s small size makes it easy to drive and park. Unfortunately, that does mean compromising on the boot size and rear occupant space. However, its low fuel consumption and price will ensure that it remains popular in the market.
5. Suzuki Swift 1.0 Standard (A) S$67,900
(Photo Credit: Suzuki Singapore)
The Suzuki Swift is back for its third version, and it remains the preppy little hatchback it was when it first arrived in Singapore in 2004. The new Swift has a sharper-looking front end and a bigger boot as compared to the previous iteration.
The Swift has a reputation for being a fun, cheap car to drive around, and it continues to achieve that while being more practicable with more space in the back than the previous version. Its engine is a turbocharged one litre putting out 109 bhp.
Fans of the Suzuki Swift might be more excited about the faster Sport variation, which you can get with a manual transmission. However, the Sport is currently only available from parallel importers with a price tag of more than $100,000.
Even though Cat A COE premiums are low now, prices still can fluctuate according to demand at the next bidding. So, buyers should still practice due diligence and not buy cars on impulse due to low COE premiums.
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