Fellow Motorist: Oliver Ong, managing director, Accord Solutions (Higer Singapore exclusive dealer)

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Mr Ong, 46, set up Accord Solutions in 2020 and started retailing Higer EV in Singapore from 2022. We chat with the self-made Singaporean businessman at his office in Enterprise Hub.

How long have you been a motorist in Singapore?

[Laughing] Legally or illegally? Legally, I started driving when I was 18, in the army, back in 1996. I got my civilian driving licence when I was 20. I passed the test on my first attempt because I already drove a lot during my national service. 

I had driven Land Rovers and three-tonners, including manual Mercedes trucks and auto Ivecos, on all types of terrain, from cities to the countryside. I even drove low-bed trailers! 

I also took part in three army exercises in Taiwan, where I drove from the top of the island to the bottom, in a left-hand-drive environment some more. 

What do you like about motoring in Singapore?

It’s very orderly. The traffic is quite predictable, if we compare it to our neighbouring countries. 

What do you dislike about motoring in Singapore?

Slow-coach drivers and lane hoggers. The herd mentality cuts both ways - it makes the traffic orderly, but also creates a lot of unnecessary jams.

Driving in Singapore is stressful and boils down to one thing - our mindset. We’ve been taught to be competitive ever since we were young. It’s hard to switch this mindset when we’re driving. But we’re just trying to get to our destination, so we should co-exist together on the road, lah.

What do you miss most about the good old days of driving?

Most cars in those days were manual! I also miss the carburettor smell, which is very nostalgic to me. 

Remember your first car? 

It was a Ford Focus sedan, to kickstart my sales career, that was in 2002 or 2003. I had it for about six months before I switched to an Alfa 156 Selespeed. 

What were your most memorable past cars?

1991 black Honda CR-X 1.6 Si, which I owned in 2005. I restored the car over one year, including redoing the whole interior. 

Instead of going the JDM route, my idea was to restore it to SDM - Singapore domestic model! I wanted to restore the CR-X to its former glory, true to its Singapore-spec origin. 

I bought a lot of parts from Kah Motor and Koon Sing. The lady boss at Koon Sing even loaned me their CR-X parts manual for stockists! 

I remember buying Mugen RNR rims for my CR-X. It’s a cult wheel meant for classic sports Hondas like the CR-X, EK4 and EG6. Super light and super nice. The black RNRs with red trim matched my black CR-X perfectly. 

I also had a 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV. I bought it from the original owner in 2017 - he had owned it since day one and he stayed in a GCB. I renewed the Alfa’s COE in 2018, still on black registration plates, but drove it less than 10 times before I sold it in 2020. The vintage GTV was mostly in the garage undergoing restoration, until it was in the best shape possible.  

Tell us about your current car.

It’s a BMW i4. I’ve owned it for about a year, but not really by choice - because I’m in the electric-vehicle business. I call the i4 sex without the sound. It’s powerful and quick, getting me to climax quickly but quietly [laughing]. It does the job well.  

What do you enjoy most about your work?

In my career, I’ve driven all kinds of vehicles. Some of which I drove for a few months, such as an Alpina B5. Cars are second nature to me. Maybe it’s a boy’s thing. It’s something close to my heart. At least I wake up doing something I like! 

I chose the name Accord for my motoring business because my forte is in automotive, and Honda Accord in those days was the gold standard for businessmen. I also looked up the dictionary - the word “accord” means in accordance, in agreement, with everything I’m doing, so the word is a perfect fit! 

I managed to make my first pot of gold in motor insurance with my first business venture, Accord Insurance, in 2008. Today, I still enjoy running my chain of motoring businesses under Accord Solutions. 

What do you find most challenging about your work?

Singapore is a very fast-paced society. Whether you’re working for someone or running a business, you’re part of the rat race. Which is why businesses are always trying to reinvent themselves. All of us face the same set of problems while trying to get ahead of each other. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1717066979074 Fellow+Motorist+Oliver+Ong+Md+Accord+Solutions+Pic2Oliver Ong's most beloved blast from the past was a black Honda CR-X.

Read More: Fellow Motorist: James Ng, managing director, BYD Singapore & Philippines

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