EnterAsia Information Services

Own a Car

If importing a car to Singapore has been ruled out, there are three other option on owning a car in Singapore, which is either buying your own and renting or leasing a vehicle. Alternatively join a car sharing scheme.


Take into account the following: If you spend S$ 5 a day on Bus or MRT commuting you spend S$ 1,825 a year. If you drive taxi for S$ 10 each day including weekends and holidays you would spend S$ 3,650 .


With regard to the rate of depreciation of cars in Singapore, buying a car makes sense if you stay in Singapore longer than three years.


Leasing a car will cost you anything above SGD 1,000 a month, while the monthly cost for a purchase depend on your downpayment and consequent financial monthly installments added to the monthly running cost.


Hire purchase is a viable alternative to buying a car. You pay a fixed monthly sum over two or more years. Servicing, road tax, insurance and any accident claims are taken care of by the leasing company and a replacement vehicle is also provided when necessary. At the end of the lease period you can exercise your option to purchase the car.


See below table of comparison to evaluate the various options

Info: Buy – Rent – Lease
ownership in name of: yourself or your employer’s company Car Rental company yourself or your employer’s company
Beneficial Owner Company buying car Car Rental Company Leasing Company
Certificate of Entitlement (COE) 10 years 10 years 10 years
Upfront cost (Deposit / Downpayment) Downpayment of 30% of Purchase price. fully refundable deposit of 2 months rental for 2 year contract fully refundable deposit of 3 months lease for 2 year lease contract
Payment per month Hire Purchase Finance Instalments depending on % financed Less than Leasing More than Renting
Penalty for early termination Penalty for early settlement imposed by Finance company 50% of the remaining unfulfiled rental term 100%. No early termination allowed
Penalty for late payment Overdue interest charge @ 18% pa for late payments Overdue interest charge @18% pa for late payments Overdue interest charge @18% pa for late payments
You pay for: Vehicle itself Use of vehicle use of vehicle
Malaysia Entry Yes Yes Yes
Option to Purchase NA No Yes
Minimum term for new vehicle NA 2 to 3 years 2 to 3 years
Payment of road tax, insurance, servicing & maintenance, spare parts, inspections etc. by Owner by Rental company Borne by Leasing company, but included in monthly lease payments
Accidents / Damage to car Owner’s responsibility Excess liability with valid GIA accident report Excess Liability with valid GIA accident report
Administration & repair by Rental company Administration & repair by Leasing company
Replacement vehicle No Yes Costs reflected in monthly lease payments
Destiny of Car on leaving Singapore Scrap, Trade in or Sell car Return car to Rental company at the end of the contract term Return car to Leasing company at the end of the lease period
Depreciation Highest within 1st 3 years NA NA



Singapore Car Jargon

ARF Additional Registration fee, 100 per cent of the Open Market Value calculated by Singapore Customs
COE Certificate of Entitlement. If you want to buy a car in Singapore you need to auction for this document ( auctions are twice a mont) which is to secure with a SGD 10,000 deposit per bid. Pre-condition: you must register a car within six months when bidding for category A (cars up to 1,600 cc) Category B (cars above 1,600 cc). For category C (mostly for used cars) you need to register the car within three months.
Excise Duty Similar to an import duty this is 45 per cent of the OMV
GST Goods & Services Tax, 7% of a new car after deducting excise duty.
OMV Open Market Value as calculated by Singapore Customs.
PARF Preferential Additional Registration Fee is a rebate to offset registration taxes of new vehicles.
Registration Tax SGD 140
Road Tax Ranges from SGD 413 a year to SGD 10,548 (for a Rolls Royce!)
Transfer Fee The Government levies a tax when a car changes hands. Flat fee of SGD 10 per car plus 2 per cent of the vehicle’s value.
Used Car Surcharge SGD 10,000 – to discourage import of used cars!



Costs of a Car Purchase

The price of any car in Singapore depends on


The bid for the Certificate of Entitlement (COE)

The Open Market Value (OMV)

Custom Duty

Additonal Registration Fee




Info: COSTS of buying a car in Singapore










Car Price (For new or Second Hand Car) see OMV




Custom Duty – 20% of OMV




Additonal Registration Fee – 100% of OMV




Registration Tax – SGD 140.00




GST – 7%




Vehicle Number Plate – average SGD 25 – 30




Road Tax – see website for calculation below












Vehicle Radio License Fee – SGD 27,00 annual




Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) a special toll when driving into the city during peak hours




Second Hand Cars

When buying a used car additionally to the normal evaluation you need to check the remaining time of the Certificate of Entitlement and the numbers on the number plate. Numbers containing a 4 are particularly difficult to sell due to Chinese superstition! The same applies if you are the third owner of the car and the next buyer would be number four. A transfer fee amounting to 2% of the assessed vehicle value will be levied. Car auctions are becoming very popular in Singapore and are a good source for assessing prices and selling cars when leaving the country.


Watch out for misrepresentation or unsatisfactory services:

Beware of oral agreements and paying high deposits

Beware of assurance given such as securing a COE or car loan

Beware of the statement that prices would be raised soon

Beware of the offer to back up a higher price of the car to secure a bigger loan.

The loan limit is 70 percent of the sales price

Beware of loans offered through the dealer