The Sunday Times
My Lifestyle, My Drive
15 May 2011
By CHERYL TAY
Mr Ron Tay (above), 22, got his driving licence last August and is now driving a new Toyota Vios.The first-time owner paid $90,000 for the car, of which almost $50,000 was for the Certificate of Entitlement (COE).
“By the time I was ready to buy a car, the COE prices have shot up. I need a car to get around due to the nature of my work,” says Mr Tay, who works in the sales line and has to travel in his job.
He adds: “Had the COE prices not been so high, I would have gone for a bigger car like the Toyota Corolla Altis. But anyway, the Vios is just as fuel-efficient and practical, so it is just as fine an alternative.”
Ms Mary Yeo (below), 38, bought a Mercedes-Benz E250 last December at $228,000 with a $62,400 COE.
“The last time I bought a car was five years ago and it was shared among other family members. When the car was not available, I would take a taxi but at times, especially when you need it most, it is difficult to get a taxi. So finally I decided to just get a car for myself,” says Ms Yeo.
Using the car to commute between office and home daily, as well as to her various work appointments, Ms Yeo’s life is a lot more convenient now, without having to figure out a sharing schedule with the family.
“When I was deciding which car to buy, the high COE prices were not too much of a concern to me because I do need the car. Having one car for the whole family to use is quite a hassle and increasing work commitments pushed me to make the decision,” she adds.
Both Mr Tay and Ms Yeo preferred to buy a new car rather than a used car and they were prepared to pay the high COE prices.
“My parents used to drive pre-owned cars and we encountered bad experiences, thus swearing off secondhand cars,” Mr Tay explains.
For Ms Yeo, the fear of technical problems from a second-hand car put her off the idea.
“Sometimes there might be problems that surface much later, after you’ve driven the car for a while. I rather not take that risk and buy a new car for peace of mind instead,” she says.
*This was first published in The Sunday Times.