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What are the costs of owning a car in Singapore?

Annette Rowena

Owning a car is a luxury in the small island-city that is Singapore. It is beyond the affordability of many because of its steep costs. It is a status symbol and if any one of your friends drive a car, you automatically assume they make a lot of money.

Which is no fault of yours. Indeed, owning a car does require one to earn above a certain pay-grade in order to have a car AND make ends meet comfortably.

Apart from the actual cost of buying the car, which can range vastly depending on the make and model of your choice, you also have to think about the other costs behind owning the car. So here’s what you need to consider before paying that hefty down-payment.


Car Fees and Taxes

Once you have placed an order for the car you want and successfully obtained the loan, you still have quite a number of other things to pay for.

When you collect your vehicle, you will need to pay a registration fee of S$140. There is also an additional registration fee (ARF), which is a tax, calculated using a percentage of your car’s Open Market Value (OMV).

Then you will also have to pay an excise duty, which is a tax imposed by Singapore Customs, and is also calculated using a percentage from the OMV of the car.

If you opt to de-register your car via export or scrap it before it reaches the age of 10 years, you would be awarded the Preferential Additional Registration Fee (PARF).

Road taxes are renewed either at every 6 months or on a yearly basis, with certain conditions in place – periodic vehicle inspections and motor insurance for the new licensing term are part of its requirements.

Diesel cars have a special tax levied onto them which needs to be paid in addition to the car’s road tax. For more information on vehicle fees and taxes, visit the Land Transport Authority’s official website.


Consider the affordable car

Assuming you have just read all of that and still want to buy a car, first it is best to look at buying one that is within the ‘affordable’ range. The Suzuki Swift Hybrid retails at around S$90,000 while the Chery J3 Sedan 1.6 (M) costs less at S$79,000. As far as monthly instalments go, the Chery costs S$786.

Yearly road taxes would come at around S$716 for the Suzuki and S$742 for the Chery. Purchase of either one of these models will come at a COE quota premium of S 42,801.

If you are looking at cars in the mid-range price bracket, you are looking models like the brand-new Mazda 3 Sedan 1.5 Standard (A), retailing at S$93,800 or a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Elegance (A) at S$105,988.

In terms of repayments every month, the Mazda will set you back S$934 while the Toyota is not too far off at S$1055. Annual road taxes would come close to S$682 for the Mazda 3 and S$742 for the Toyota Corolla Altis.

The COE quota for both cars are at S$42,801.

And of course, there are the higher end cars (of which if you can afford, we’re not quite sure why you’re still reading this article!).

Jaguar’s F-Pace 3.0 V6 Supercharged Prestige (A) retails at S$284,999 while BMW’s 7 Series 730i Design Pure Excellence (A) comes at a price of S$410,800.

Instalments come up to S$2432 for the Jaguar and $3505 for the BMW. Both cars have their COE priced at S$49,802.

As far as road taxes go, it would cost around S$1210 for the BMW and S$2380 for the Jaguar.


Car Insurance and Car Loans

Source: Shutterstock

The rates for car loans range between 1.99%- 2.99% per annum. Some banks like DBS and Standard Chartered provide car loans from a minimum of S$10,000 down-payment. Hitachi Capital and Hong Leong Finance are among a handful of companies that have loading fees.

Moving on to car insurances.

The cost to insure a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6L would come to around S$1200 annually. This would be a standard auto insurance package – a comprehensive insurance plan would start from S$2000.


The Unseen Costs

Time to shift the focus to the small things that can turn into a big snowball in car costs. Here, we’re talking about fines, ERP charges, petrol costs, parking bills, car services and repairs, accessories and surely, car washes deserve a mention too.

These bills will vary based on a number of factors (location, time and even damages in car repairs) and can only be tabulated when you’re actually owning a car.

Other costs that can be gaged or are fixed consist of the In-Vehicle Unit (IU) installation at S$155.80 and your number plate, which would usually be between S$25-S$30 for a regular number plate. If you want a specific car plate, the costs start from around S$1000.


Fully Utilize Your Money for All Its Worth

If you’ve decided to go ahead with a car purchase, seek a car loan that’s competitive so that you save on the monthly repayments. It is also ideal to scour for the best car insurance policy, one that’s a pretty good deal at a pretty low premium.

Finally, pick the right credit card to give you rewards while you pump your petrol. Be sure to check on how your points or rebates or redemptions work across different petrol brands.


Disclaimer: All pricing mentioned are correct at the time of writing, and are subject to change. Please refer to the respective sites for the latest updates and promotions. 

(By Annette Rowena)

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