Toyota still No.1, Honda close behind
TOYOTA still rules the roost as Singapore's favourite car brand but Honda is catching up fast.
As new car sales surge on steadily expanding Certificate of Entitlement quotas, most passenger car brands continue to benefit from significantly higher sales volumes.
In the first three months of this year, a total of 19,912 new passenger cars were registered for a 92 per cent increase, or nearly double the number, from the corresponding period a year ago.
From January to March, Toyota led with a total of 4,165 registrations, according to the Land Transport Authority. This figure includes official and parallel imports.
But behind the world's biggest carmaker, Honda is a very close second with 4,012 - or a difference of just 153 units.
Honda had also ended last year as the runner-up but, back then, its volume was only three-quarters of Toyota's and the gap was 4,255 cars.
Honda's strength is solely due to the popularity of the Vezel sub-compact SUV, which is a Japan domestic model offered only by parallel importers (PIs). Authorised Honda distributor Kah Motor sells the export version called the HR-V.
With the year-to-date tally for the PIs' collective registrations of Vezel at a massive 2,344, the Honda crossover is actually Singapore's most popular model.
But among authorised distributors, the Toyota Corolla Altis remains at No. 1 with 1,380 units registered by authorised distributor Borneo Motors Singapore.
Also no surprise is that the Mazda3 is No. 2 with 754 units sold by agent Trans Eurokars.
In fact, there is no change to the Top 4 models among authorised distributors from the end of last year, with the Nissan Qashqai (724 units) and Nissan Sylphy (414) in third and fourth places respectively.
In No. 5, however, is a new model - the Toyota Wish with 375 units.
In a reflection of strong demand from replacement buyers, the compact Japanese MPV takes the position formerly occupied by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class executive sedan, which has slipped two spots since the end of last year to No. 7 with an estimated 340 units.
In No. 6 is another Mercedes-Benz, the compact C-Class sedan with an estimated 350 units.
As for the brand rankings, the Top 6 makes are unchanged from last year. Volkswagen, which ended last year in seventh position, moves down one spot in Q1 2016. In its place now is Hyundai, which is up two notches.
Subaru has also ascended, from No. 10 to No. 9, while Mitsubishi enters the Top 10 after finishing 12th last year.
But Audi has dropped out of the Top 10, to 11th from eighth previously.
THE BUSINESS TIMES