Buying a car in Singapore is a significant expense compared to other countries. Due to our small land area and high population density, various regulations are implemented to limit the number of vehicles on the road, minimise traffic congestion, and promote public transportation. This guide will walk you through the factors to consider when buying a car in Singapore-from understanding the market to driving your new car home.

INTERESTED IN BUYING OR RENTING A CAR IN SINGAPORE?

1. Researching Your Options

There is a wide variety of vehicles available in Singapore to cater to all your different preferences and requirements. These include sedans and hatchbacks; SUVs, coupes and convertibles; and hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs). When choosing which one to purchase, the key considerations should be your budget, usage needs, family size, and fuel efficiency

To begin with, the cost of the vehicle should match your financial capacity. Another key consideration is the primary objective of the car—whether it is for family use, lifestyle, or daily commuting. You might already have a goal in mind, such as transporting your family, which would necessitate a larger car with more space. Alternatively, you might seek a car that offers excitement or a sense of control to match your lifestyle. For those commuting long distances, a fuel-efficient car would be essential.

In Singapore, you may purchase your car from either an Authorised Dealer (AD) or Parallel Importer (PI). Authorised dealers have exclusive distribution rights for specific car brands directly from the manufacturer, ensuring official support, warranty coverage, and access to genuine parts and services.

In contrast, parallel importers source vehicles mainly from Japan, and import them independently to Singapore. Other parallel importers often offer the same car models but at Jack Cars, we offer different vehicles and car models that authorised dealers don’t have—at potentially lower prices, too!

LOOKING FOR PARALLEL IMPORTED JAPANESE CARS IN SINGAPORE?

2. Financial Planning & Budgeting

Estimating the total cost of owning a car in Singapore involves several key factors that should be factored into your financial planning and budgeting considerations. 

  • Certificate of Entitlement (COE) is mandatory for anyone who wants to own a vehicle here. The cost of a COE fluctuates based on demand and supply, and can significantly impact the overall cost of buying a car.
  • Purchase Price is the base cost of the car, which varies depending on the make, model, and whether it is new or used. Used cars can be more expensive if the COE is high at the time when it was first purchased.  
  • Insurance Costs vary based on the type of car, the driver’s profile, and the level of coverage. 
  • Maintenance & Repair Expenses. Regular servicing is essential to keep the car in good condition, and this includes routine checks and parts replacement. Unexpected repairs can add to the costs, particularly for older or poorly maintained vehicles.
  • Fuel & Parking Costs are ongoing expenses. Fuel prices can vary, and the overall cost will depend on your car’s fuel efficiency and how much you drive. Additionally, parking fees in Singapore can be substantial, contributing to the recurring costs of car ownership.

These factors combined give a comprehensive view of the financial commitment required for car ownership in Singapore, helping potential buyers make informed decisions.

3. The Certificate of Entitlement (COE)

To own a car in Singapore, you need to bid for a COE, which allows you to own and drive the car for 10 years. COE prices fluctuate based on demand and can significantly affect the total cost of the car. The government issues COEs through a bi-monthly bidding process. After 10 years, if you would like to continue driving your car, you will need to renew your COE by paying the applicable prevailing quota premiums (PQP), which changes each month.

At Jack Cars, our sales specialists will help you with the COE bidding, so you can enjoy an exquisite car-shopping experience and hassle-free car-ownership. 

4. Financing Options

When buying a vehicle in Singapore, there are two primary financing options to consider: bank loans and in-house financing. For more detailed information on vehicle financing options in Singapore, you can refer to sources like DBS Bank and OCBC Bank.

Bank Loans (traditional car loans from banks). Banks typically finance up to 70% of the car’s purchase price for vehicles with an open market value (OMV) of $20,000 or less, and up to 60% for cars with an OMV above $20,000. Interest rates can vary based on the bank and the borrower’s credit profile. The tenure for bank loans usually ranges from one to seven years. The approval process for bank loans can be more stringent, requiring detailed documentation of the borrower’s income, credit history, and other financial details. (Sources: DBS and OCBC)

In-House Financing is offered directly by car dealerships; it’s often more flexible and typically more convenient. Additionally, dealerships may offer more flexible financing terms and may be willing to negotiate the loan amount, interest rates, and repayment schedules to better suit the buyer’s needs. The interest rates for in-house financing are generally higher than those offered by banks. The loan tenure can also range from one to seven years, depending on the agreement with the dealership.

Here at Jack Cars, we provide a wide range of financial packages to ensure that you will be able to purchase your car within your budget. We offer the following financial services: New Car Financing, Pre-Own Car Financing, Hire Purchase Loan, COE Financing, Private Hire Car Loan, and In-House Car Loan.

5. ⁠Choosing Your Car

Be sure to explore your options before making a final decision. After all, owning a car is no small feat in Singapore. 

Do Your Homework. Check out trusted online car portals such as sgCarMart to access comprehensive car listings and reviews. Websites like this provide detailed information on various car models, helping you compare prices, features, and user feedback. Additionally, visiting showrooms and car exhibitions allows you to physically inspect the vehicles, explore different models, and potentially discover exclusive deals.

Ask For  A Test Drive. Test driving is crucial to experience firsthand the car’s performance, comfort, and features. A test drive helps you assess how the car handles on the road, its ease of use, and whether it meets your personal preferences and requirements. If it’s a used car, be more meticulous and thoroughly inspect the exterior and interior features. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or be sorry later. Note that it is not common for PIs and ADs to offer test drives for brand new cars.  

6. Collecting Your Car

When you come to collect your vehicle, make sure to double-check the merchandise, so to speak, as there may be some things you forget along the way. 

Final Checks & Inspection. Conduct a thorough inspection to ensure the car is in the agreed condition. Check for any visible damage, verify that all promised features are present, and ensure that the car is clean and well-maintained. It’s important to confirm that everything matches the initial agreement and that there are no unexpected issues.

Handover. During the handover, collect all necessary documents and keys. This includes the registration papers, warranty information, and any other relevant paperwork. Additionally, make sure the car’s features are demonstrated to you, ensuring you understand how to operate all functions and systems. 

7. Conclusion

Buying a car in Singapore requires careful planning and understanding of the various costs and procedures involved. By following this guide, you can navigate the process smoothly and make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget. Enjoy your new ride on the roads of Singapore! 

SOURCES:

  1. Kee Yong Auto. (n.d.). BUYING A CAR IN SINGAPORE: 6 MUST KNOW FACTS. Retrieved from https://www.keeyongauto.com.sg/blog/buying-a-car-in-singapore/
  2. Dollars and Sense. (2024). Complete Guide To Buying A Car In Singapore. Retrieved from https://dollarsandsense.sg/complete-guide-buying-car-singapore/
  3. Car Times. (2024). The Ultimate Guide to Buying a New Car. Retrieved from https://cartimes.com.sg/blog-post/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-buying-a-new-car_a8fdcd8b-88d2-4b27-ad53-5845596eb2a7
  4. Singapore Legal Advice. (2023). Buying a Car in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide. Retrieved from https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/buying-a-car-in-singapore-a-comprehensive-guide/
  5. Dollars and Sense. (2024). Guide To Understanding How COE Bidding System Works In Singapore. Retrieved from https://dollarsandsense.sg/guide-understanding-coe-bidding-system-works-singapore/
  6. Yahoo Finance (2024). How to bid for Your Own Certificate of Entitlement (COE). Retrieved from https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/bid-own-certificate-entitlement-coe-020043647.html 
  7. CarLah. (2023). Demystifying COE: Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Car in Singapore. Retrieved from https://www.drivelah.sg/blog/demystifying-coe-everything-you-need-to-know-about-owning-a-car-in-singapore-clgw79tcq827003tpbuo1mz8gb/

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