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What is COE? Understanding COE Price, bidding, results and how to renew

Why are cars so expensive in Singapore? It’s due to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), a unique requirement when you buy cars in Singapore.

How is COE bidding done? Can you get a cheaper COE? Let’s understand further.

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What is COE in Singapore?

COE stands for certificate of entitlement. It represents a right to vehicle ownership in Singapore for a period of 10 years. It’s implemented as a way for Singapore to control the number of cars on Singapore roads, since land is so scarce.

To own a car in Singapore, an owner must pay for COE. How much would this be? This depends on the COE results of the bidding exercise, which happens twice a month. The prices are driven by supply and demand and takes into account de-registrations. The total number of COE must be within the total quota.

A valid COE is mandatory. When COE expires, the owner can choose to renew for 5 years or 10 years, depending on vehicle category and statutory lifespan.

COE prices in Singapore for a Category A car have been as high as $36,000 and as low as $24,000.

The vehicle categories are:

  • Category A: Cars with engine capacity up to 1,600cc & power output 97kW

  • Category B: Cars with engine capacity above 1,600cc or power output 97kW

  • Category C: Goods carrying vehicle and bus

  • Category D: Motorcycle

  • Category E: An open category applicable for all of the above mentioned, except motorcycles

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How does COE bidding work?

To bid, submit a bid amount — also known as the reserve price — in the system. It should be the max you’re willing to pay for your COE. The Current COE will continue to go up with more bidders. When it exceeds your reserve price, you must revise the bid if you still want to continue bidding.

Usually, COE bidding is done by car dealers, who will package the COE price into the car price when selling them.

However, if you really wanted to enter into the bidding system yourself, you can. From anecdotes, you might find difficulty buying a car from a car dealer unless you have a connection where you can buy parallel import cars (without COE) from.

To DIY COE bidding, there’s a bid deposit of $10,000 (Category A, B, C, and E). Ensure there is enough in your bank account to foot it, as well as the administration fee. You can do COE bidding at DBS or POSB ATMs if doing it as an individual.

There is a fixed schedule for COE bidding. It opens at 12pm on the first and third Monday of each month, and ends on Wednesday in the same week at 4pm. Therefore COE bidding happens twice a month. COE results will be reported on motorist.sg’s COE results page.

How to check if the results to see if bidding is successful? You can check COE bidding results with LTA COE Open Bidding website by keying in your NRIC and other details.

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How to renew COE and how much is it?

A brand new COE is typically for a period of 10 years. After that, renewal of COE can be done completely online. But first, you must understand Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP). It’s the moving average of the Quota Premium (QP) in the last 3 months. Yes, it is “moving” so it changes every month, based on the QP in previous bidding exercises in the last 3 months. If there were months without any bidding, they would be excluded from the calculation.

You can renew for 5 years or 10 years, depending on the category.

To renew COE for 5 years, you have to pay 50% of the PQP. For vehicles from Categories A, B and D, you can renew for 5 years only once. Category C vehicles can be renewed more than one time. Please check your vehicle category below for what you will need to know when renewing your COE for 5 years.

To renew COE for 10 years, you pay the full PQP. For vehicles with no statutory lifespan in Categories A, B and D, there is no limit to how many times you can renew your COE in 10-year periods.

When vehicles reach the end of its statutory lifespan, you can no longer renew its COE, and the vehicle will be deregistered.

Once you’re clear about how to renew, you need to check your COE expiry date through the LTA OneMotoring Enquire Transfer Fees page. Provide your vehicle number, owner NRIC or business UEN, and other details. This will then show you your expiry date.

Remember to renew your COE early! If your COE has expired for more than 1 month, LTA would forfeit your eligibility to renew, and the car will be deregistered. If the expiry is less than a month, you still can renew, but with a late payment fee.

Now that you understand Certificate of Entitlement (COE), we hope it’s clearer when you are buying a car, or renewing your COE.

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