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Never Gonna Parliament - a COE/car market restructuring plan idea


7hm
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Turbocharged

Hey guys, been a long time since I've been active here, but you know what? I've been brewing a car taxation plan in the back of my mind for months, just never sat down to write it out.
We all know the legendary COE and many of us by now have already said it needs a do-over, even the polimakers are starting to say something about giving it a do-over.
But always without reconsidering what classifying cars should be.

Since I'm never gonna get into the "job" of public service, here's my comprehensive... uh... suggestion? You wanna tl;dr? Fine, I'll leave one at the end.

 

Total COE Restructure

Let's start with the headliner, which is always our iconic certificates (we know our car don't last forever, because of COE).

Since its inception, the COE has, for consumers, been fundamentally separated into categories A and B, which for now I will focus on.
As a reminder; Category A represents passenger vehicles up to 1,600cc or 130hp (97kW), and Category B is just... anything over that, making the assumption that B category vehicles are inherently larger or more luxurious vehicles.
Now, the main proclaimed goal of COE is managing the vehicle population, and ostensibly managing road congestion by limiting the volume of cars.

With that stated intent in mind, who agrees that a car's power output and displacement has any real bearing on its ability to create congestion?
Would ten buses cause more congestion than ten Golf Rs in the same stretch of road? Would ten Cat B Golf Rs cause more congestion than ten Cat A Golf (....what's it called now? 90TSI? Scrap that too)
Ten buses would definitely block more road than ten Golfs, EA888 or not, but of course the counterpoint is that ten buses holds many times more people than ten Golfs, or even the equivalent number of Golfs in terms of length.

 

Redefining the Categories... on Size.

So my suggestion is, actually, quite simple - let's redefine COE categories based on the physical size of vehicles. This is easily accessible information, I cannot think of any car that you cannot get dimension information for, and if you really can't, there's nothing stopping the homologation department from breaking out a tape measure.

I don't think I want to arbitrarily define numbers I think are suitable for separating Category A and B at the moment, but...
If we consider trends, I'd say a comfortable position for Category A is 4,700mm long and below, as most "compact" sedans today remain in the ~4,650mm long range, and plenty of small hatchbacks are well low that. (Isn't it ridiculous that a 2020 G20 3-series now is longer than the 1994 Mazda Capella/626?)

Anyway, keeping things simple would be using length, because that is usually what really determines how much space a car needs on a road. I consider 4.65m a median of sorts, 4.7~5m the range locals traditionally consider a large family car, and that anything over 5m, nobody is going to call that small. Cars under 4.4m are typically the 'small' ones today, you'd be hard pressed to still find something under 4m.
Again, keeping it simple, if we were to retain a binary classification, Category A could be below 4.7m and Category B anything longer than that.

Alternatively, we can expand it a little to include overall footprint, by taking length x width of the car, but given that lanes are lanes and people aren't supposed to be driving across two lanes, it occurred to me while writing this that that's really a little unnecessary, plus it makes it a tad harder to account for capacities.

Long story short though, is let's just redefine COE categories based on size/length of a car, not its engine power/displacement, which no longer has any real direct bearing on its state of luxury, economy, efficiency, or, most importantly, physical size.

COE Incentive for Family Vehicles

With Singapore's infamously small land area, there's a consistent push for car sharing, reducing the number of individual vehicles, increasing the person per vehicle, and so on, but there's also a consistent and very unhappy demographic of families that for practical purposes need a vehicle on demand for themselves to manage their children.
Yes, you can bring your kids on a bus, but with a stroller and all the like, managing a potentially rambunctious or easily upset child whilst carrying a baby or other nightmare scenarios, you can imagine all of that, and there are plenty of little articles about why families scrounge everything they can to afford a car even with the wide availability of ride hailing and our celebrated public transport. (Simply don't Go aside)

By their nature, a sportscar, two seaters especially, have less capacity for transporting and are traditionally the domain of luxury, and rarely sit in the lower price classes. But at the same time, a tiny convertible like a Daihatsu Copen may be really just a recreational vehicle for two, but it takes up virtually no road at all compared to a Toyota Fortuner.
With this in mind, I'd propose that any vehicle with less than five seats incur a COE multiplier - it should cost more to own a vehicle of this type, but it should still be in accordance with its size. As such, a 7-seater, which has the capacity to hold more people, and is often a choice made to accommodate a growing family, should be incentivized - it should have a COE reduction.

Of course, it's always going to be true that cars spend a lot of time with less than their entire capacity filled, but there's really not a whole lot we can do to mitigate that. But the fact is that placing a Polo GTI in the same taxation category as a Nissan X-Trail, or a bus-lane demanding Aventador, is antithetical to the system's intent.
Many of the times a family that really could do with a vehicle are the ones who are suffering the most from sky high COEs, whereas we know by now those who can afford their fifth Porsche don't really care too much about an extra $20k.

Short version:
COE classification based on size of the car
COE Penalty for impractical sports vehicles with less usable seats
COE benefit for practical family vehicles with more usable seats

 

But hold on, why again do we need to fuss so much?

The COE system has been unfairly cruel to the folks who can arguably need vehicles the most, and at real worst an annoyance to rental/fleet companies and affluent individuals with the means to own multiple cars.
There needs to be a real restructuring to allow more cars to be used by these young families who struggle in many ways because they see cars as a necessity even with all their 'alternatives', while taking more from those who are ordering their third Cayman.
Size is the thing that implicates congestion potential the most, and instead encouraging a population of many small cars, two Jazzes can hold five people (even if in relative discomfort) each compared to four in a standard S-class, while taking up only marginally more effective space on the road.

A Prius makes barely over 130hp and gets shoved into Cat B, but who's gonna say a Prius is appreciably more luxury than a Corolla Altis?
Power and displacement has long been detached from a car's class, but physically larger cars often really do be more inefficient and luxurious - compare, say, again, an Audi A1 to an Audi A6. You can have both with the 1.4TFSI engine, but the A4 is noticeably better built on the inside. Even accounting for the tune increase, the Cat B A4 1.4 is much less efficient because it weighs more.
Then you have the obviously ridiculous Mercedes Benz MFA180 spec, (A180, B180, CLA180, etc.), which previously came with the M270 "RED" engine, RED standing for reduced - that brought the 1.6L engine from MFA200 specs of around 155hp to the Category A 130hp to allow the premium brand to sell Category A vehicles here. The thing that's widely ignored is that the Cat A "RED" engine is not only less powerful, but less efficient, both in the claimed numbers and in real use.
A more recent example is the 2023 Honda Civic Turbo's local exclusive Cat A 129hp tune, a substantial reduction from the engine's normal 180hp variant, without being appreciably more efficient, and even before that KM is one of just 8 territories where the ancient 1.6L engine was recycled one more time for the 2017 Civic tenth gen.
Many hybrids produce over 130hp but are more efficient, but automatically get discouraged by Cat B.

I'll reiterate this point, but to summarise this section;
The current COE structure is outdated, nonsensical even at its inception and does not keep cars affordable for lower income families who need them to better manage their children in their busy lives, an increasingly vocal demographic that we weigh all our hopes on. Managing one kid and one stroller on Bus MRT Walk is tough enough, but our population won't grow when it's so hard to care for your children.
Plus, the absurd choice of metrics of power output and displacement to classify vehicles discourages innovation in powerplants that we seriously need for reducing the gasoline footprint, resulting in a larger population of cars with outdated engines.

 

The World's Most Expensive Cars... with the lowest specifications

We already know we have the most expensive cars in the world, but have you noticed we have the lowest specced cars in the world too?
Why? ARF. The ARF taxation is why you pay for your car's value, at minimum, twice over - a car's ARF, before "incentives", is 100% of a vehicle's OMV, and gets worse from there.
As such, higher spec vehicles incurring higher OMV incur higher ARF.
This of course makes sense from the standpoint of taxing luxury, but it also means that dealers, with their immense margins, are not willing to bring in vehicles that are well equipped.

Consider Citroën under C&C, which has for whatever reason decided that the storied French nameplate should be a lower cost brand. Their latest lineups have been exclusively brought in with pretty barebone specifications, lacking even electric seat options. "Premium" Automobiles has been perhaps the most depressing offender to me personally, with their hypocritical name - their cars routinely lack any manner of technology that befits Audi's slogan, just a few of the most obviously visible ones for "wow" factor - Virtual Cockpit for example was hyped early on.
Due to the expensive taxation via ARF, batch homologation and lack of flexibility in bringing in cars of individually customized equipment levels, the dealers are largely discouraged from importing vehicles with full equipment lists - as someone who personally wants a car with all the trimmings, this has been a long running frustration of mine.
Audi's presense active safety/assistance suite is available on...... I don't know, which? Only the A8? The Q8 doesn't even have the sunglasses compartment and lined interior visors, for crying out loud.

You can get all of those on... a Skoda Octavia. For far less.
Why do I care so much about these features? Because many of these are safety technologies that are being exorcised from premium cars, safety technologies I was one of the earliest to adopt. I've a 2015 model year vehicle featuring adaptive cruise, blind spot warnings and lane keeping assist, four years before these features have reached Singapore's mainstream.
And you still struggle to get these as standard on an Audi, a BMW, or a Mercedes. Even though they're widely available from mainstream brands now (Peugeot, Toyota SafetySense, Honda Sensing, Subaru Eyesight, Mazda has it too, so on), the premium marques don't offer adaptive cruise or their full safety suites, at best a cut down variant. PML BMWs have begun to have Driving Assistant across all cars, but this is limited to camera based front active city braking, blind spot warning and lane keeping, you are still denied RADAR based active cruise. And the PA imported Audi S3 in 2019 did not come with a reverse camera.

I want an upgrade, not a downgrade.
There needs to be more emphasis on safety technologies and not "wow" technologies, and dealers need to start offering smaller vehicles with premium equipment lists.



What's a solution?

Obviously this problem also lies with dealers and consumer mindsets, the desires always to cut corners on our already expensive cars, and I think it's fine that we should have to pay more for options like Virtual Cockpit, or Alcantara trim.

But I think we need to stop compromising on safety technology. This is to me, non-negotiable at this point. In other countries across the world, many marques have begun offering these features as standard. Hold on, you might say, why does it matter so much? I don't need this stuff, I drive fine.
So in the eight years I've been driving my beloved Mondeo, I've used Adaptive Cruise nearly every journey... But I've had the emergency brake intervention trigger only twice. I was sleepy. You will never be driving in 100% perfect condition every day of your life.
We already say we've got some of the worst drivers, the most kiasu, the most impolite, and my Mondeo isn't shy about warning me that I'm less than two seconds of following distance to the car in front (I have sensitivity on high for pedestrian detection), but what's to say we can't reduce the number of accidents with these features?
Side anecdote, I'm still baffled by how seven cars can have a chain collision in the middle of the highway, an empty highway during Circuit Breaker, in broad, clear daylight.
What kind of absurd scenario causes that?

Yes, it'll make the cars more expensive, as these aren't without a cost, but can you imagine how much less we'd lose in time and money if we had virtually zero accidents across our roads? Less congestion, less time wasted, less fuel burnt in traffic jams, no need to waste TP resources dispatching to manage the scene, less money spent on EMAS recovery. Less money lost on people idling in a jam.

So I propose that there be a discount incentive for safety technology equipment on cars.
Say, a $500 incentive for forward collision detection.
$500 off for Blind Spot warning.
$250 off for adaptive headlights.
$250 off for seatbelt airbags (my Mondeo didn't come with them, sadly)
Something like that.
I also think, really, we should consider making it possible to fine someone extra if they were involved in an accident while driving with that feature disabled (if equipped, obviously), or at least if I were an insurance officer I would probably increase the person's excess for that incident.

The legislation has long been discouraging advanced technologies and our cars have been routinely some of the worst equipped in the world, while the COE system somehow results in some of the most inefficient powerplants reaching us. 

You might have noticed I didn't specify a discount on ARF, which has long been the typical means of providing incentives, notably through the EV early adopters incentive and the CEVS rebate. That's because anyone who knows ARF knows that ARF is what determines your PARF rebate, more commonly known as scrap value. The PARF rebate depreciates linearly from 100% ARF to 50% over the ten years of the car's original COE, which means that every $1,000 discount on ARF is really a $500 loss to your PARF rebate.
Which is why cars, particularly EVs, that have high CEVS rebates, have spectacularly poor depreciation rates. (See, for example, SGCM's BMW iX3 vs X3 faceoff)

Incentives need to be serious, and to be really serious about being an incentive they need to not take from the consumer's back pocket.
I also suggest we start incentivizing real hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. In a meaningful way. Tons of dealers have started offering mild hybrids, which just include a small booster battery that helps start from a standstill. These do not confer any real efficiency benefit overall. Plug-in Hybrids are expensive now, but deserve to have more penetration. I asked many a dealer, why are you not offering PHEVs? The answer? Nobody wants them. My response; nobody I've asked knows they exist.
Dear dealers, you make the markets, not the consumers, in Singapore. Do us better.

 

I suddenly got really sleepy at this point, so I'll maybe elaborate in another post. All the essential info's above.
But what else do I think I want to throw in?

The diesel duty raise. That was dumb - commercial vehicles are the most frequent user of diesel, and increasing their cost to run has undoubtedly lead to delivery and freight costs rising and reaching the consumer.
Rental companies propping up COEs with their indifference to high COE prices? Supposedly doesn't happen, but I doubt that. Almost definitely has to be happening, and then those cheap grade low spec cars get dumped on the preowned market exacerbating the problems I described. Not to mention that expensive COEs lead to more use of rental vehicles, which the rental companies can price up to recover their costs...? Makes for a self-sustaining cycle.

 

Anyway, as promised, tl;dr;

COE current system of displacement/power is dumb (and was dumb in 1990), change classification system to be based on length.
Discount COE for more than 5 seats, penalty for less than 5 seats
Revise ARF/add incentives for safety technology to encourage safer cars
Revise incentives to encourage more efficient gasoline cars, not just EVs, because EVs are still not ready

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Turbocharged

I see you've put a lot of thought into this.

Funnily enough I was just thinking a bit about this today too, and I agree that engine/horsepower is a stupid way of classification. Size is a better barometer, and for that matter we can reclassify road tax too, maybe according to dimensions or even weight.

Unfortunately the stupids at LTA will maintain their point that car is car. Their ultimate goal is for private car ownership to disappear completely in Singapore, needs and wants be damned.

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On 1/26/2024 at 11:50 PM, 7hm said:

Hey guys, been a long time since I've been active here, but you know what? I've been brewing a car taxation plan in the back of my mind for months, just never sat down to write it out.
We all know the legendary COE and many of us by now have already said it needs a do-over, even the polimakers are starting to say something about giving it a do-over.
But always without reconsidering what classifying cars should be.

Since I'm never gonna get into the "job" of public service, here's my comprehensive... uh... suggestion? You wanna tl;dr? Fine, I'll leave one at the end.

 

Total COE Restructure

Let's start with the headliner, which is always our iconic certificates (we know our car don't last forever, because of COE).

Since its inception, the COE has, for consumers, been fundamentally separated into categories A and B, which for now I will focus on.
As a reminder; Category A represents passenger vehicles up to 1,600cc or 130hp (97kW), and Category B is just... anything over that, making the assumption that B category vehicles are inherently larger or more luxurious vehicles.
Now, the main proclaimed goal of COE is managing the vehicle population, and ostensibly managing road congestion by limiting the volume of cars.

With that stated intent in mind, who agrees that a car's power output and displacement has any real bearing on its ability to create congestion?
Would ten buses cause more congestion than ten Golf Rs in the same stretch of road? Would ten Cat B Golf Rs cause more congestion than ten Cat A Golf (....what's it called now? 90TSI? Scrap that too)
Ten buses would definitely block more road than ten Golfs, EA888 or not, but of course the counterpoint is that ten buses holds many times more people than ten Golfs, or even the equivalent number of Golfs in terms of length.

 

Redefining the Categories... on Size.

So my suggestion is, actually, quite simple - let's redefine COE categories based on the physical size of vehicles. This is easily accessible information, I cannot think of any car that you cannot get dimension information for, and if you really can't, there's nothing stopping the homologation department from breaking out a tape measure.

I don't think I want to arbitrarily define numbers I think are suitable for separating Category A and B at the moment, but...
If we consider trends, I'd say a comfortable position for Category A is 4,700mm long and below, as most "compact" sedans today remain in the ~4,650mm long range, and plenty of small hatchbacks are well low that. (Isn't it ridiculous that a 2020 G20 3-series now is longer than the 1994 Mazda Capella/626?)

Anyway, keeping things simple would be using length, because that is usually what really determines how much space a car needs on a road. I consider 4.65m a median of sorts, 4.7~5m the range locals traditionally consider a large family car, and that anything over 5m, nobody is going to call that small. Cars under 4.4m are typically the 'small' ones today, you'd be hard pressed to still find something under 4m.
Again, keeping it simple, if we were to retain a binary classification, Category A could be below 4.7m and Category B anything longer than that.

Alternatively, we can expand it a little to include overall footprint, by taking length x width of the car, but given that lanes are lanes and people aren't supposed to be driving across two lanes, it occurred to me while writing this that that's really a little unnecessary, plus it makes it a tad harder to account for capacities.

Long story short though, is let's just redefine COE categories based on size/length of a car, not its engine power/displacement, which no longer has any real direct bearing on its state of luxury, economy, efficiency, or, most importantly, physical size.

COE Incentive for Family Vehicles

With Singapore's infamously small land area, there's a consistent push for car sharing, reducing the number of individual vehicles, increasing the person per vehicle, and so on, but there's also a consistent and very unhappy demographic of families that for practical purposes need a vehicle on demand for themselves to manage their children.
Yes, you can bring your kids on a bus, but with a stroller and all the like, managing a potentially rambunctious or easily upset child whilst carrying a baby or other nightmare scenarios, you can imagine all of that, and there are plenty of little articles about why families scrounge everything they can to afford a car even with the wide availability of ride hailing and our celebrated public transport. (Simply don't Go aside)

By their nature, a sportscar, two seaters especially, have less capacity for transporting and are traditionally the domain of luxury, and rarely sit in the lower price classes. But at the same time, a tiny convertible like a Daihatsu Copen may be really just a recreational vehicle for two, but it takes up virtually no road at all compared to a Toyota Fortuner.
With this in mind, I'd propose that any vehicle with less than five seats incur a COE multiplier - it should cost more to own a vehicle of this type, but it should still be in accordance with its size. As such, a 7-seater, which has the capacity to hold more people, and is often a choice made to accommodate a growing family, should be incentivized - it should have a COE reduction.

Of course, it's always going to be true that cars spend a lot of time with less than their entire capacity filled, but there's really not a whole lot we can do to mitigate that. But the fact is that placing a Polo GTI in the same taxation category as a Nissan X-Trail, or a bus-lane demanding Aventador, is antithetical to the system's intent.
Many of the times a family that really could do with a vehicle are the ones who are suffering the most from sky high COEs, whereas we know by now those who can afford their fifth Porsche don't really care too much about an extra $20k.

Short version:
COE classification based on size of the car
COE Penalty for impractical sports vehicles with less usable seats
COE benefit for practical family vehicles with more usable seats

 

But hold on, why again do we need to fuss so much?

The COE system has been unfairly cruel to the folks who can arguably need vehicles the most, and at real worst an annoyance to rental/fleet companies and affluent individuals with the means to own multiple cars.
There needs to be a real restructuring to allow more cars to be used by these young families who struggle in many ways because they see cars as a necessity even with all their 'alternatives', while taking more from those who are ordering their third Cayman.
Size is the thing that implicates congestion potential the most, and instead encouraging a population of many small cars, two Jazzes can hold five people (even if in relative discomfort) each compared to four in a standard S-class, while taking up only marginally more effective space on the road.

A Prius makes barely over 130hp and gets shoved into Cat B, but who's gonna say a Prius is appreciably more luxury than a Corolla Altis?
Power and displacement has long been detached from a car's class, but physically larger cars often really do be more inefficient and luxurious - compare, say, again, an Audi A1 to an Audi A6. You can have both with the 1.4TFSI engine, but the A4 is noticeably better built on the inside. Even accounting for the tune increase, the Cat B A4 1.4 is much less efficient because it weighs more.
Then you have the obviously ridiculous Mercedes Benz MFA180 spec, (A180, B180, CLA180, etc.), which previously came with the M270 "RED" engine, RED standing for reduced - that brought the 1.6L engine from MFA200 specs of around 155hp to the Category A 130hp to allow the premium brand to sell Category A vehicles here. The thing that's widely ignored is that the Cat A "RED" engine is not only less powerful, but less efficient, both in the claimed numbers and in real use.
A more recent example is the 2023 Honda Civic Turbo's local exclusive Cat A 129hp tune, a substantial reduction from the engine's normal 180hp variant, without being appreciably more efficient, and even before that KM is one of just 8 territories where the ancient 1.6L engine was recycled one more time for the 2017 Civic tenth gen.
Many hybrids produce over 130hp but are more efficient, but automatically get discouraged by Cat B.

I'll reiterate this point, but to summarise this section;
The current COE structure is outdated, nonsensical even at its inception and does not keep cars affordable for lower income families who need them to better manage their children in their busy lives, an increasingly vocal demographic that we weigh all our hopes on. Managing one kid and one stroller on Bus MRT Walk is tough enough, but our population won't grow when it's so hard to care for your children.
Plus, the absurd choice of metrics of power output and displacement to classify vehicles discourages innovation in powerplants that we seriously need for reducing the gasoline footprint, resulting in a larger population of cars with outdated engines.

 

The World's Most Expensive Cars... with the lowest specifications

We already know we have the most expensive cars in the world, but have you noticed we have the lowest specced cars in the world too?
Why? ARF. The ARF taxation is why you pay for your car's value, at minimum, twice over - a car's ARF, before "incentives", is 100% of a vehicle's OMV, and gets worse from there.
As such, higher spec vehicles incurring higher OMV incur higher ARF.
This of course makes sense from the standpoint of taxing luxury, but it also means that dealers, with their immense margins, are not willing to bring in vehicles that are well equipped.

Consider Citroën under C&C, which has for whatever reason decided that the storied French nameplate should be a lower cost brand. Their latest lineups have been exclusively brought in with pretty barebone specifications, lacking even electric seat options. "Premium" Automobiles has been perhaps the most depressing offender to me personally, with their hypocritical name - their cars routinely lack any manner of technology that befits Audi's slogan, just a few of the most obviously visible ones for "wow" factor - Virtual Cockpit for example was hyped early on.
Due to the expensive taxation via ARF, batch homologation and lack of flexibility in bringing in cars of individually customized equipment levels, the dealers are largely discouraged from importing vehicles with full equipment lists - as someone who personally wants a car with all the trimmings, this has been a long running frustration of mine.
Audi's presense active safety/assistance suite is available on...... I don't know, which? Only the A8? The Q8 doesn't even have the sunglasses compartment and lined interior visors, for crying out loud.

You can get all of those on... a Skoda Octavia. For far less.
Why do I care so much about these features? Because many of these are safety technologies that are being exorcised from premium cars, safety technologies I was one of the earliest to adopt. I've a 2015 model year vehicle featuring adaptive cruise, blind spot warnings and lane keeping assist, four years before these features have reached Singapore's mainstream.
And you still struggle to get these as standard on an Audi, a BMW, or a Mercedes. Even though they're widely available from mainstream brands now (Peugeot, Toyota SafetySense, Honda Sensing, Subaru Eyesight, Mazda has it too, so on), the premium marques don't offer adaptive cruise or their full safety suites, at best a cut down variant. PML BMWs have begun to have Driving Assistant across all cars, but this is limited to camera based front active city braking, blind spot warning and lane keeping, you are still denied RADAR based active cruise. And the PA imported Audi S3 in 2019 did not come with a reverse camera.

I want an upgrade, not a downgrade.
There needs to be more emphasis on safety technologies and not "wow" technologies, and dealers need to start offering smaller vehicles with premium equipment lists.



What's a solution?

Obviously this problem also lies with dealers and consumer mindsets, the desires always to cut corners on our already expensive cars, and I think it's fine that we should have to pay more for options like Virtual Cockpit, or Alcantara trim.

But I think we need to stop compromising on safety technology. This is to me, non-negotiable at this point. In other countries across the world, many marques have begun offering these features as standard. Hold on, you might say, why does it matter so much? I don't need this stuff, I drive fine.
So in the eight years I've been driving my beloved Mondeo, I've used Adaptive Cruise nearly every journey... But I've had the emergency brake intervention trigger only twice. I was sleepy. You will never be driving in 100% perfect condition every day of your life.
We already say we've got some of the worst drivers, the most kiasu, the most impolite, and my Mondeo isn't shy about warning me that I'm less than two seconds of following distance to the car in front (I have sensitivity on high for pedestrian detection), but what's to say we can't reduce the number of accidents with these features?
Side anecdote, I'm still baffled by how seven cars can have a chain collision in the middle of the highway, an empty highway during Circuit Breaker, in broad, clear daylight.
What kind of absurd scenario causes that?

Yes, it'll make the cars more expensive, as these aren't without a cost, but can you imagine how much less we'd lose in time and money if we had virtually zero accidents across our roads? Less congestion, less time wasted, less fuel burnt in traffic jams, no need to waste TP resources dispatching to manage the scene, less money spent on EMAS recovery. Less money lost on people idling in a jam.

So I propose that there be a discount incentive for safety technology equipment on cars.
Say, a $500 incentive for forward collision detection.
$500 off for Blind Spot warning.
$250 off for adaptive headlights.
$250 off for seatbelt airbags (my Mondeo didn't come with them, sadly)
Something like that.
I also think, really, we should consider making it possible to fine someone extra if they were involved in an accident while driving with that feature disabled (if equipped, obviously), or at least if I were an insurance officer I would probably increase the person's excess for that incident.

The legislation has long been discouraging advanced technologies and our cars have been routinely some of the worst equipped in the world, while the COE system somehow results in some of the most inefficient powerplants reaching us. 

You might have noticed I didn't specify a discount on ARF, which has long been the typical means of providing incentives, notably through the EV early adopters incentive and the CEVS rebate. That's because anyone who knows ARF knows that ARF is what determines your PARF rebate, more commonly known as scrap value. The PARF rebate depreciates linearly from 100% ARF to 50% over the ten years of the car's original COE, which means that every $1,000 discount on ARF is really a $500 loss to your PARF rebate.
Which is why cars, particularly EVs, that have high CEVS rebates, have spectacularly poor depreciation rates. (See, for example, SGCM's BMW iX3 vs X3 faceoff)

Incentives need to be serious, and to be really serious about being an incentive they need to not take from the consumer's back pocket.
I also suggest we start incentivizing real hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. In a meaningful way. Tons of dealers have started offering mild hybrids, which just include a small booster battery that helps start from a standstill. These do not confer any real efficiency benefit overall. Plug-in Hybrids are expensive now, but deserve to have more penetration. I asked many a dealer, why are you not offering PHEVs? The answer? Nobody wants them. My response; nobody I've asked knows they exist.
Dear dealers, you make the markets, not the consumers, in Singapore. Do us better.

 

I suddenly got really sleepy at this point, so I'll maybe elaborate in another post. All the essential info's above.
But what else do I think I want to throw in?

The diesel duty raise. That was dumb - commercial vehicles are the most frequent user of diesel, and increasing their cost to run has undoubtedly lead to delivery and freight costs rising and reaching the consumer.
Rental companies propping up COEs with their indifference to high COE prices? Supposedly doesn't happen, but I doubt that. Almost definitely has to be happening, and then those cheap grade low spec cars get dumped on the preowned market exacerbating the problems I described. Not to mention that expensive COEs lead to more use of rental vehicles, which the rental companies can price up to recover their costs...? Makes for a self-sustaining cycle.

 

Anyway, as promised, tl;dr;

COE current system of displacement/power is dumb (and was dumb in 1990), change classification system to be based on length.
Discount COE for more than 5 seats, penalty for less than 5 seats
Revise ARF/add incentives for safety technology to encourage safer cars
Revise incentives to encourage more efficient gasoline cars, not just EVs, because EVs are still not ready

Also, diesel ban for cars in 2025 is dumb.

1. Like CNG, the government, or LTA is not to be trusted in any push for alternative energy.

The government has started to kill the golden goose wrt EVs with the extra road charge, which is not assuring.

Who knows what next in store?

2. With global trends, diesel will die off eventually. 

The LTA persecuting a minority of cars for the 'wrong' fuel might make feel good about themselves being progressive, but in actual fact it is just making a mountain out of a molehill.

If (a minority of) buyers like oil burners, they shall be allowed to continue buying them albeit  taxes and etc are to be levied for extra emissions.

Having more choices are better than less, and clearly LTA disagrees.

Edited by Brass
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"The current COE structure is outdated, nonsensical even at its inception and does not keep cars affordable for lower income families who need them to better manage their children in their busy lives, anincreasingly vocal demographic that weweigh all our hopes on. Managing one kid and one stroller on Bus MRT Walk is tough enough, but our population won't grow when it's so hard to care for your children.
Plus, the absurd choice of metrics of power output and displacement to classify vehicles discourages innovation in powerplants that we seriously need for reducing the gasoline footprint, resulting in a larger population of cars with outdated engines."

COE is not meant to help lower income family owns a car. Every family has 101 reasons to justify their needs for a car.

 

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(edited)

The reason for Cat A and Cat B is to prevent luxury/big cars from competing with bread and butter models.

Capacity was a fair gauge before the small turbo and electric drive technology became a common place.

 

My own 2 cents would be 

Cat A :

i) OMV less than arbitrary value of $20k at the locked in exchange rate during homologation

OMV should not fluctuate through the model lifespan, even if exchange varies, or options are added (refer to the Options suggestion), unless it's a model requiring homologation. 

ii) Get ride of Horsepower related categorisation as it is just rubbish, even Volkswagen was laughing at LTA.

If its cheap and powerful for the buck, why should the serfs not be able to buy them?

iii) Was rather glad we had a nascent car manufacturing industry by Hyundai after Dyson pulled out

Cat A can also be assigned to any cars built in Singapore, as show of Government support and incentive, till such time sales is so good singaporeans are complaining about being squeezed out of market by Singapore manufactured cars in Cat A, then it may be the time to abolish this incentive 

 

Cat B:

i) >20k OMV


Option:

For all cars, ARF tax based on OMV of base car model of the engine and chassis, without options, ie, options not subject to ARF Tax

 

Edited by Sturtles
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For Used imports, an estimate of the original base OMV should be used to estimate the COE Category.

Ie. a 35 year old Bentley should not be in the same CAT as a Chery QQ as their starting prices and exchange 35 years ago were not the same

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Twincharged

we talk until cows come home also no use 

 

coe created to generate more income for the government 

 

but camouflaged as curbing traffic woes 

 

my 2ml worth of ron92 

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Hypersonic
(edited)

Again LTA no international benchmarking and best practice.

Kei cars in Japan no manufacturer can take advantage like Cat A.

Remember when they introduced lower road tax for Off Peak cars and people driving 5 litre cars and switched to OPC and just bought daily passes.

Then they introduce reduce the price by 17k!

:D

Edited by Jamesc
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Twincharged
On 1/27/2024 at 9:47 AM, Jamesc said:

Again LTA no international benchmarking and best practice.

Kei cars in Japan no manufacturer can take advantage like Cat A.

Remember when they introduced lower road tax for Off Peak cars and people driving 5 litre cars and switched to OPC and just bought daily passes.

Then they introduce reduce the price by 17k!

:D

Thus LTA always screw up. Scholarly brain always get conned by the street smarts. I can list numerous cock ups over the last 30years. However they still think they are so clever. Less cock ups by the earlier generation. The young upstarts nowadays need a pet project to show capability to get promotion. Thus all the cock up ideas, then dumb management cannot think straight and say yes yes. 
I wonder if the new minister really tekan the whole lot or not. Or the no blame culture at LTA continues at the expense of public funds. 

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You look at how CHT handle this Simply Go issue. You think anything will change? Iswaran was bo chup, preoccupied with his partying. CHT is “I know best”. Even though I have never taken public transport and used an EzLink card, I know more than all of you who take public transport every day.

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Supersonic
On 1/27/2024 at 7:30 AM, Voodooman said:

"The current COE structure is outdated, nonsensical even at its inception and does not keep cars affordable for lower income families who need them to better manage their children in their busy lives, anincreasingly vocal demographic that weweigh all our hopes on. Managing one kid and one stroller on Bus MRT Walk is tough enough, but our population won't grow when it's so hard to care for your children.
Plus, the absurd choice of metrics of power output and displacement to classify vehicles discourages innovation in powerplants that we seriously need for reducing the gasoline footprint, resulting in a larger population of cars with outdated engines."

COE is not meant to help lower income family owns a car. Every family has 101 reasons to justify their needs for a car.

 

Agree that using hp is the dumbest way to categorise COE. OMV already takes care of that 

But I disagree that there shld be discount/special cat based on family/personal needs. Liddat everyone will find a cry farder cry marder story to get cheap COE

Unlike housing, car ownership is a privilege, not an entitlement 

Now where's my scholar bonus?

 

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6th Gear
On 1/27/2024 at 8:38 AM, Sturtles said:

The reason for Cat A and Cat B is to prevent luxury/big cars from competing with bread and butter models.

Capacity was a fair gauge before the small turbo and electric drive technology became a common place.

 

My own 2 cents would be 

Cat A :

i) OMV less than arbitrary value of $20k at the locked in exchange rate during homologation

OMV should not fluctuate through the model lifespan, even if exchange varies, or options are added (refer to the Options suggestion), unless it's a model requiring homologation. 

ii) Get ride of Horsepower related categorisation as it is just rubbish, even Volkswagen was laughing at LTA.

If its cheap and powerful for the buck, why should the serfs not be able to buy them?

iii) Was rather glad we had a nascent car manufacturing industry by Hyundai after Dyson pulled out

Cat A can also be assigned to any cars built in Singapore, as show of Government support and incentive, till such time sales is so good singaporeans are complaining about being squeezed out of market by Singapore manufactured cars in Cat A, then it may be the time to abolish this incentive 

 

Cat B:

i) >20k OMV


Option:

For all cars, ARF tax based on OMV of base car model of the engine and chassis, without options, ie, options not subject to ARF Tax

 

Omv is tough to categorised because it fluctuates due to currency exchange and inflation. Cars that borderline between 18-22k Omv might switch between categories multiple times throughout a year. 

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On 1/27/2024 at 11:25 AM, GLZT said:

Omv is tough to categorised because it fluctuates due to currency exchange and inflation. Cars that borderline between 18-22k Omv might switch between categories multiple times throughout a year. 

I did propose a solution as it has been a problem for OMV categorisation, as a one time benchmark during homologation.

This includes fixing the ARF tax amount.

Afterall, why make a everyone suffer from uncertainty due to a tax categorisation.

Only the base model OMV is subject to ARF tax and COE categorisation at point of homologation for that model, motor and chassis.

Safety, enhancement, intelligent options etc only have customs tax and GST levied upon.

 

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Just mandate any car sold here must meet 5 star crash test standards with the same safety equipment as in the test.

What's so difficult? Don't give the crap about reducing consumer choices, because we don't want the to choose unsafe cars. And if OMV (thus ARF) goes up, the COE premium will come down naturally as the total price the buyer can afford is the limiting factor, not individual COE or OMV/ARF components. 

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Turbocharged

Just to point out... $20k limit on OMV is way out of date (dunno when set but definitely over 10 yrs ago)... today should be closer to $25-30k to reflect the value it held back then

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