To purchase a car in Singapore, a buyer must bid for a certificate, which now costs $106,000, the equivalent of four Toyota Camry Hybrids in the United States, as the city-state’s vehicle quota system has reached all-time highs.
Singapore has a ten-year “certificate of entitlement” (COE) system that was put into place in 1990 to control the number of cars that may be driven within an hour in the small nation of 5.9 million people.
The quota, which was granted through a bidding process, has become Singapore the most expensive city in the world to buy a car, with the COE for a large car more than tripling from 2020 pricing on Wednesday to a record S$146,002 ($106,376.68).
A new basic Toyota Camry Hybrid costs S$251,388 ($183,000) in Singapore, including COE, registration fees, and taxes, compared to $28,855 in the United States. In Singapore, a tiny, government-subsidized apartment costs around S$125,000.
When fewer people were driving in 2020, the price of COEs decreased to around S$30,000; a post-COVID surge in economic activity led to increased car purchases, while the total number of cars on the road is capped at around 950,000. The amount of new COEs available is determined by the number of older vehicles that are deregistered.
Cars are now out of reach for most middle-class citizens, putting a dent in what sociologist Tan Ern Ser described as the “Singapore Dream” of upward social mobility – having money, a condominium, and a car.
Singapore’s median yearly household wage is S$121,188.
The citizens have been pounded by chronic inflation and a faltering economy, and some are profitably selling cars purchased when COE costs were low.
Tan believes that lowering one’s aim from obtaining an ‘excellent life’ to settling for a ‘good enough life’ is necessary.
Jason Guan, 40, an insurance professional and father of two, said he paid S$65,000 for his first car, a Toyota Rush, in 2008, including the cost of the COE.
Guan now lives without a car, focusing on the numerous benefits that the country has to offer his family. As a family man, it doesn’t really bother me because Singapore still has a reliable and high-quality educational system. In terms of security, it’s still one of the safest nations, he said.