Buying a car in Singapore


To be able to move in Singapore, a lot of expatriates think of buying a car, whether new or second-hand.

What are the formalities to buy a vehicle in Singapore: car registration, insurance, etc.?

What are the relevant authorities or organizations to contact?

How long does it take and what are the associated costs?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience,


Singapore's authorities actively discourage people from having cars. It is the country with the highest car purchasing and running costs in the world, by a wide margin!
To be allowed to buy a new car, you need to get a permit (called Certificate Of Entitlement or COE) from the government. The COE is valid for 10 years, after which you have to scrap the car. A limited number of COEs are auctioned off every month, and usually cost S$40000-100000.
Then you need to buy a car. Import and other duties make them 2,5x more expensive than elsewhere.
Then you need to pay for parking, use of major roads and entering the city centre. Petrol is also not cheap.
Altogether, owning a car in Singapore costs more than renting an apartment (despite Singapore's high rent levels).

Edited to add: Public transport is cheap and efficient in Singapore - and even taking a taxi for all trips is likely to cost less than owning a car!

The cost of a COE,
you can buy property with that amount in many countries .

But transport system is really good
and most people use public transport .

Unless you are earning above $10k per month, it will burn a deep hole in your pocket just to get behind the wheels; even if you contemplate buying a used car. Besides, Singapore is very small and unless you intend to travel to Malaysia regularly, there is simply no space for your "100 horses" to run.

Unlike wide open spaces in other big countries, the taxes on cars (new and used) here are very high and meant to discourage car ownership. It is much cheaper to take taxis and public transport. Singapore's taxi is among the best in the world with their wide selection of brand new cars ranging from Toyota to Mercedes - I have never seen another country having such variety of taxis and all sparkling new - simply comfortable and travelling in style. The drivers are friendly and all speak good English.

Forget about owning cars in Singapore - it's too expensive and really not necessary.

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