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THE COE (Certificate of Entitlement) premium for big cars rose, while that for motorcycles climbed to yet another record high, in the latest bidding exercise. But the commercial-vehicle premium slumped a substantial 17 per cent ahead of next month's doubling in its quota size. Category A - for cars below 1,600cc or 130 hp - slipped S$148 to S$67,601 but Cat B - for cars above 1,600cc and 130 hp - rose S$1,389 to S$78,001.
Cat E - the open category which currently tracks Cat B - was also higher, up S$1,500 to S$79,500. Cat D - for motorcycles - climbed S$489 to S$6,801 to set another record high for the second consecutive bidding exercise. But Cat C - for goods vehicles and buses - shed S$11,000 to S$53,001.
The Cat A premium seems to have softened because this bread-and-butter segment attracts more price-sensitive customers. But the sales director of a luxury dealership said the increase in the Cat B COE premium is a reflection of the backlog for luxury models.
Big-car buyers are rushing for registration before the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) is refined on July 1, 2015.
From the second half of this year, CEVS will be tightened and many Cat B models will face an additional S$5,000 in surcharge. Many Cat A models will also lose at least S$5,000 in CEVS rebates.
"Distributors of luxury cars also have bigger bidding power, so they were able to push up the COE premium," said the sales director. "But all things considered, it was a moderate increase and not as high as we had feared, given the number of bookings the industry has. So next month's bigger COE quota is already helping to dampen any price increases."
The May-to-July 2015 quota will have 41 per cent more COEs than the February-to-April 2015 quota. In particular, Cat A will have 45 per cent more COEs, while Cat B and Cat E will enjoy increases of 29 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.
Cat D will see a relatively small rise of 15 per cent. But Cat C is set to get 100 per cent more COEs, which is why the premium plunged on Wednesday.
"Most dealers sat out the bidding exercise because the Cat C quota will double from the next tender onwards," said the general manager of a commercial vehicle dealership.
The number of bids on Wednesday was about the same as in recent exercises, but they were "less aggressive". He added: "You can say that the premium now is a good indication of what it will be in two weeks' time."