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It Now Costs Ksh 11.3M to be a Car Owner in this City

Luxury on Four wheels has reached new heights in Singapore. In this land, cars are seemingly woven from gold thread, and gasoline is rumored to be distilled from unicorn tears. Apparently, owning a car (not buying one) in this glittering metropolis has always been a privilege reserved for the privileged.


Imagine paying a jaw-dropping Ksh. 11.3 million ($76,000) for a piece of paper that holds promises of car ownership. A 10-year Certificate of Entitlement (COE), is being charged at that price in Singapore. That’s more than four times what it cost just two years ago! And what does this ungodly sum entitle you to? Oh, just the right to buy a standard Category-A car. One that is complete with a small to medium-sized engine, purring at or below 1,600cc.

It Now Costs Ksh.11.3M to be a Car Owner in Singapore.
It Now Costs Ksh.11.3M to be a Car Owner in Singapore. Photo| Planetware


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For those who dream of cruising through these city streets in something bigger and flashier (perhaps an SUV) you better be prepared to dig deeper into your treasure chest. The Category-B license commands an eye-watering Ksh. 15.9 million ($106,630). Causing even the most enthusiastic car lovers to pause and wonder if teleportation or the magical flying carpet is a viable alternative.

Of course, this all began in 1990, when the Singaporean government introduced the COE quota system. This was intended to curtail traffic and emissions in their luxurious city-state. But it seems the unintended consequence has been to price cars out of reach for the average citizen. A median monthly household income of Ksh.1.1million ($7,376) won’t cut it when you’re in a city where cars have price tags akin to a small private island.

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A local car dealer in Singapore, Ricky Goh, expressed his disappointment over the price surge. “Sales have already been so poor. This on top of that will be even worse for business,” he lamented. It appears that a car in Singapore has a harder chance finding a new home, than a cat at a dog show.

Meanwhile, the wealthy residents are left contemplating life without a trusty four-wheeled companion. Wong Hui Min, a mother of two, highlighted her dilemma. She expressed that taking shared rides everywhere just doesn’t scream convenience. In a city where time is money and convenience is the currency of choice, it seems like a rock and a hard place.

Nonetheless, fear not! Advocates of the quota system argue that it’s all for the greater good. Singapore, spared from the traffic nightmares that entangle other Southeast Asian capitals, can hold its head high as the most expensive city in the world. Also, if the COE is beyond reach, there’s always the two-wheel option. After all, nothing says “luxury” like wind in your face and the thrill of juggling traffic on a motorbike.

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After all is said and done, Singaporeans are left to ponder. Will they ever see a day when a car is not more expensive than a trip to the moon? Only time will tell. Oh! What a day to be a resident of the most expensive city in the world! These are “rich-people struggles” that not even the richest people in Kenya can relate to.


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