Thanks to MAS car loan restrictions (restriction is too kind of a word, I think strangulation describes it much better) and COE prices rising to ridiculous levels (Certificate FOR the “entitled” more like it), it’s no wonder car sales have dropped by almost 40%! But just having a look at our list, you’d be forgiven for thinking people have no problems at all getting a car:
With the cost of buying a car rising as fast as Chinese military spending, it’s no wonder many buyers chose to stick with public transport. But don’t be alarmed – cars are still being sold by the thousands, especially cars from certain brands that should surprise you. Interestingly, the top 3 brands command close to 40% of total car sales this year. Where on earth do people find the money to buy them??
Even these Hollywood stars can’t believe how much cars cost in Singapore. You have to watch this:
Vin Diesel really knows what the moral of the story is.
Here are Singapore’s top 3 selling car brands in 2013 according to LTA as of November 2013 (here’s a clue, German companies completely DOMINATED the list):

1. Mercedes-Benz

Unless BMW manages to sell 500 vehicles by the end of the month, the company with the inverted “peace symbol” as its logo will be the best selling car brand for 2013. The news is surprising, but expected considering that those who can afford high-end luxury cars will buy them regardless of MAS restrictions or high COE costs.
And with around 17% of households in Singapore being millionaire households, it’s not surprising that many high-income car buyers would opt for the popular E-Class instead of say… a Suzuki Swift. Hell, I would!
In 2013, Mercedes-Benz vehicles accounted for 17.2% of all cars sold in Singapore.
Cars Sold – 3,506
Price Range – $155,000-$1,000,000

2. BMW

Last year’s winner, BMW, joins its German brother Mercedes-Benz on the list, missing first place by only a few hundred cars. While there aren’t any statistics showing which models sold the most in 2013, it’s a good bet that one of BMW’s most popular models worldwide, the 5-Series ($220,000K-$275,000K), was a trendy choice.
Unlike the luxury brand Mercedes-Benz, BMW’s appeals to upper middle-class individuals wanting the benefits of German-engineered vehicular perfection without having to paying more than $250,000 for it… only in Singapore.
In 2013, BMW vehicles accounted for about 16.2% of all cars sold in Singapore.
Cars Sold – 3,295
Price Range – $165,000-$500,000+

3. Toyota (Includes Lexus)

Finally, an ASIAN company on the list! The world’s top-selling car maker, Toyota, (along with its luxury division Lexus) made the top 3 for 2013. Unlike the German manufacturers above, Toyota offers many “economical” models for sale – if you call paying $120,000 for a car “economical”… only in Singapore.
But Toyota isn’t ALL about economy, as the heart attack inducing price tag of the Lexus LS 460 makes clear, at $500,000+.
But with German car makers dominating the luxury car market the same way SingTel dominates…well, pretty much our entire lives, it’s likely that much of Toyota’s sales were made from “economical” car models sold to middle-class buyers – at least those who managed to squeak by the latest MAS regulations anyway.
In 2013, Toyota vehicles accounted for about 14.9% of all cars sold in Singapore.
Cars Sold – 3,037
Price Range – $118,000-$650,000+
Important Note: All price ranges taken from 2013 models shown on

What Does it all Mean?

You’d figure that with rising car costs, “economical” car brands such as Kia, Nissan, or Perodua would be higher on the list. But with the exception of Toyota, most of the cars sold by the top 3 fit the “luxury” category.
Is there a silver lining to be found in all of this?
If you’re a middle-class individual looking to buy a car, you must either stick with the car you currently own, or continue to top up your EZ-Link card for another year. I guess MAS really did a good job of discouraging more prospective drivers from buying cars in 2013 – especially those in the middle- and lower-middle income bracket.
Final Note: If you’re lucky (or unlucky?) enough to own a car, you should always do whatever you can to maximize your savings on this costly purchase. You can do this by reducing expensive fuel costs, and we show you how to do this, and visiting to get an insurance policy that offers the same great protection at the best price possible.
Are you surprised by this year’s car sale statistics? Share them with us on Facebook! And to find even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!
Image Credits:
David Villarreal Fernández