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Old 7th January 2011, 07:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Higher COEs drive up car rentals, sharing

Higher COEs drive up car rentals, sharing

by Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid
05:55 AM Jan 07, 2011


SINGAPORE - Higher COE prices are driving people to look for cheaper and more flexible options. Among them - car rentals and car sharing.

The higher COE has been good for Popular Rent A Car, with business jumping by about 20 per cent from a month ago, said its general manager, Mr Ho Kok Kee.

Some of its new customers were very likely to include those who had shelved their plans to buy a car, following the jump in COE prices.

However, despite the expected increase in demand for hire cars during the Chinese New Year (CNY) period, the company has put its expansion plans on hold.

Acquiring new cars with the higher COEs would raise the company's capital and operating costs by 30 to 40 per cent, Mr Ho said. A third of its cars has already been booked for the CNY holidays. Mr Ho expects all its cars to be booked eventually, as in previous years.

Kah Motor is another company that's not adding new cars to its rental fleet despite better business.

For the festive season, all of its small cars have been booked.

Its head of Rental and Leasing, Mr Choong Tat Soon, said unlike last year, more are also renting for longer periods - in terms of weeks, even for a year.

Some want to rent a car for some months until COEs dip and new cars become affordable again.

More people are now open to the concept of car-sharing, with industry players reporting a 15-20 per cent increase in membership applications in the last two months.

Some households with two cars were giving up one and sharing the other - to be used by the wife to "go for shopping or to pick up the children", said Mr Choong.

With higher value for used cars, trade-ins are seeing a 70-per-cent increase compared to two or three years ago, said the honorary secretary of the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association, Mr Raymond Tang.

Those who do a trade-in feel they are upgrading to a "newer" vehicle, said Mr Tang.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore...ntals,-sharing

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