Sep 06, 2013

    Fast-car ownership revs up in last decade

    THE ownership of fast cars here has shot up over the past 10 years, with numbers surging higher than ever before in Singapore's history.

    But, while supercar numbers have risen in tandem with the country's total car population, recent industry-cooling measures appear to be putting the brakes on their sales.

    Last year, Singapore's car population hit 620,011, a 53 per cent increase from a decade ago.

    Meanwhile, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) had on its records 4,815 Porsches, Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins last year. This is up from 4,151 in 2011 and just 777 in 2002.

    There were also new supercar brands to the Singapore market, such as McLaren, which made its entrance here in late 2011 with 33 cars registered in its first year.

    A McLaren 12C Spider sells for about $1.2 million and a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 for about $1.6 million, without certificates of entitlement.

    Car dealers My Paper spoke to pointed to a new trend among their clientele: young and wealthy female drivers.

    EuroSports Auto, which imports supercars like Lamborghini and Pagani, said: "As Singaporeans become affluent, more will want to invest in global premium brands that indicate their success, and support their desire to distinguish themselves."

    But cooling measures introduced in March have slowed down supercar sales, said car dealers.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore had then capped loans for new and used cars with an Open Market Value (OMV) of up to $20,000 at 60 per cent of their purchase price.

    Those with higher OMVs could qualify for loans of no more than 50 per cent of the purchase price. The maximum tenure for a car loan was also limited to five years, from 10 years previously.

    This was followed by raises in car-loan interest rates to 2.68 per cent per annum from 1.88 per cent by banks.

    For example, in June and July, just two Lamborghinis were registered with the LTA, a decline from the five in May and four in April.

    EuroSports Auto told My Paper that it is likely that customers will now "think twice" before making a commitment to buy a supercar.

    Similar declines were also seen in the sale of Ferraris and Porsches.

    Not a single Ferrari was registered in July, a fall from the 25 registered in May and three in June, while the number of Porsches registered fell from 33 in June to 26 in July.

    Ferrari's distributor, Ital Auto, said: "The measures have already had a dampening effect on car sales in general, but we will probably need a few more months to see how persistent this effect will be."