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    Jan 11, 2016

    Heavy showroom traffic after COE price dips

    CUSTOMERS flocked to car showrooms over the weekend following the latest drop in certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums.

    Dealers said prices of cars up to 1,600cc and 130bhp were around $5,000 less after the COE fell to its lowest level in nearly five years on Wednesday at $45,002. But they expect prices to rebound as soon as the next round of bidding.

    Business at some showrooms, such as those along Alexandra Road, was brisk when The Straits Times visited yesterday.

    David Chung, senior marketing manager for Mazda, saw a 30 per cent to 40 per cent rise in visitor numbers.

    "Prices for the popular Mazda 3 are a few thousand dollars cheaper than a month ago, mostly because of the lower COE prices," he said.

    The vehicle now costs upwards of $95,888.

    Eric Chan, Cycle & Carriage managing director of motor operations, said the drop in COE premiums for smaller cars, coupled with the Singapore Motor Show this week, is likely to fuel demand.

    The Kia agent is selling a Kia Forte K3 at just below $90,000, around $5,000 less than before.

    A Honda Jazz 1.3 Hatchback was selling at $91,999 yesterday, $5,000 less than a month ago.

    The premium for the open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type but ends up mostly for bigger cars, closed 4.2 per cent lower at $55,089.

    The commercial vehicle COE price was 8.6 per cent lower at $42,036 - its lowest in 11/2 years.

    But the motorcycle premium climbed 4.4 per cent to close at a new high of $6,889.

    Ron Lim, general manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motors, expects prices to rebound soon as demand for cars is still strong.

    A spokesman for Audi Singapore said an Audi A1 is going for less than $100,000 for the first time. He noted that the crowds could also be due to the upcoming Chinese New Year.

    Martin Choo, 42, was considering the Toyota Corolla Altis, which was retailing at $102,988 including COE.

    "Prices are back to 2011 levels, although it's not guaranteed that I can get it at this premium because, looking at the crowds, COE prices will rebound," said the engineer.

    Loh Yih, 51, who runs a machinery company, paid about $103,000 for a Mazda 3 yesterday. "I wanted to renew my old car for another five years but, after calculations, realised that the depreciation of the car would be about the same if I bought a new one," he said.

    Additional reporting by Seow Bei Yi