Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Number of older cars grows sharply

SINGAPORE — Despite Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums softening, the profile of cars here has aged dramatically over the first nine months of the year, as the total car population shrank marginally.

Number of older cars grows sharply

Archive:Transport / vehicle / cars on Pan Island Expressway (PIE), August 2014. ..Photo: Ernest Chua.

SINGAPORE — Despite Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums softening, the profile of cars here has aged dramatically over the first nine months of the year, as the total car population shrank marginally.

Based on latest figures from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), as at Aug 31, there are a total of 619,139 cars on the road. Of these, 165,527 cars are between eight and 10 years old — making up 26.7 per cent of the total car population.

In contrast, cars in this age range made up just 18.7 per cent of the total car population of 621,480 as at Jan 31.

The car population here has been getting older over the past decade or so. For example, in 2007, four in five cars on the road were less than four years old. Currently, the proportion has fallen to less than one in five.

The trend has been attributed to the soaring COE premiums, which have gone up significantly compared with the early 2000s. As a result, most motorists have been holding on to their cars.

After hitting a peak in January last year, the premiums have been heading south because of a higher supply of COEs due to a growing number of cars being taken off the roads. But industry players said that motorists are waiting for the COEs to fall further before they replace their ageing cars.

While this pent-up demand for new cars could delay deregistrations, Singapore Vehicle Traders Association honorary secretary Raymond Tang said he expects COE premiums to drop over the next three years when many cars reach the end of their 10-year lifespan based on sales data.

Agreeing that the premiums will fall gradually in the coming years, Mr Ricky Tay, director of RTMT Motor, noted that for now, COE premiums have stabilised. And even though cars are getting older, several automobile workshop owners said they are getting less business because many motorists are putting off repairs.

“If there is only one year left (in the COE), major repairs are not worthwhile to (the owner),” said Mr Hanip Abdul, owner of Hanip Automobile. He added that customers tend to request for minor repairs in order to minimise cost, compared with the past, when they would ask for brand new parts.

Mr Yao Ming Pao, manager of Arrow Tyres, said fewer motorists are buying new tyres to replace worn out ones. While his firm used to sell about 80 to 100 new tyres a day, now it is down to 30 or 40.

However, BCC Automotive has seen a slight increase in demand for repair services. Its managing director Francis Lim, who is also President of The Singapore Motor Workshop Association, said: “Most (motorists) would prefer to keep their cars till the end of the COE lifespan instead of changing to a new car due to the high new car prices.”

Tow recovery companies contacted said they have seen a rise in tow services, involving both old and newer cars — the latter mostly due to battery and electronics problems.

Mr Tom Lim, owner of Island Recovery Services, said he saw a 75 per cent increase compared with last year.

Mr Ong Pang Sok, a mechanic from Shanghai Towing Service, added: “We’re much busier nowadays as there are more cars to tow and repair than last time. They keep spoiling because they are older now. Like elderly people, as they age they’ll have more sickness.”

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa