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Tea with AK71: A new car for S$75,000?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I bought my Mazda 2 nearly two years ago for slightly more than S$70,000. I thought it was a little expensive but I pillarised my then Mazda 6 and was somewhat depressed. So, I got a new car.

Read the stories here:
1. Tea with AK71: Pillarised.
2. Tea with AK71: Bought a new car!

Anyway, buying a new car then proved to be a somewhat fortunate move since car prices have shot through the roof!

Read: Tea with AK71: The price of my car now.

Indeed, I found out that it would cost more than $100k now to buy a new Mazda 2!

As if that is not depressing enough, I am constantly reminded by foreigners what I could have bought in their home countries with the money I paid for my car.

Today, I am reminded once more of how expensive cars are in Singapore as I read the weekend's edition of The Business Times. Couldn't have missed it. It was on the front page.

In Singapore, a Chery QQ would set us back by S$74,988 now, after discount!

In the USA, we could buy a Porsche Boxster Black Edition for S$71,060!

In the U.K., we could buy a Mercedes Benz SLK for S$53,692!

OK, those countries are far away. What about nearer home? Well, in Malaysia, we could buy a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI for S$60,704.

In Indonesia, we could buy an Audi A3 Sportback for S$70,672.

It is enough to make a grown (Singaporean) man cry.


INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

Hard and sad truth in this little sunny island. Well, can't say no to private vehicle ownership, especially when the public transporation is horrible.

Public transportation doesn't seem too affordable nowadays, thanks to those two money-loving operators. In fact, when they are raising fares in 2013, they will take 2012 into consideration (announced by a minister whose name is darn close to the most popular expletive)!!!

I understand that the LTA is constructing Downtown Line, Thomsom Line and Eastern Region Line, but they will be fully functional in 2020. Still a long way to go!

Bicycles and motorcycles are too dangerous to commute daily. Walking is out of question.

Why make our lives so miserable?

The COE system is essentially flawed and because of its easy way to net up huge sums of money from car buyers, policymakers are reluctant to make adjustments to bring down the COEs while still able to control car population.

On the other hand, this island is overpopulated. Congestions are everywhere and our infrastructures don't seem to be able to contain it anymore. Bad planning on someone's part, I would say. Just take 1 million foreigners out and trains won't work so hard until they breakdown, less bids for COEs, and other transport eases.


AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Outpouring of grievances! ;p

When I read news such as this, I wonder if I should not think of moving somewhere else in my retiring years.

We could get a very nice and big condo in Phuket for the price we pay for a resale 4 room HDB flat or a private shoebox apartment in Singapore too. :(

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


Life is full of positive surprises!

Getting your car pillarised wasn't so bad looking back ;)

Like they say about Mr Sai Ong.

Lost his horse, but "Stephanie Sun" (yan zhi) "flying bat" (fei fu)?

Luck = preparation meeting opportunity!

Got bargain must grab fast fast!

AK71 said...


Indeed! I went, I saw, I bought! Couldn't resist the discount + I was in the right frame of mind... er, or wrong frame of mind. Anyway, just pure, dumb luck. ;p

I really like how you mangled that Chinese saying! Only you could have done it! ;D

SnOOpy168 said...

I think we are about the only country on this globe that one can buy, use and sell a normal (non limited/collector's edition) car and profit from it.

Saying goes, you sell high, you will need to buy even higher. There is no free lunch.

Yeah, I'd entertain the though that our passive income in the strong SGD and spending it elsewhere, hereby getting more bang for the $.


INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

Most probably I will get a car somewhere near 2016. That year is where cheap COEs are expiring. Of course we know those cash-loving policymakers will make sure it stays high for average people but hey, voting is around the corner. You get what I mean. :)

LCF said...

Hi AK, at least that's a decent car, and you can actually live with relatively efficient public transport. Situation is laughable here - We got to add the "crap factor" into purchasing a RM 60-70k national car in Malaysia.

Ever consider a supercondo by the seaside in Penang for retirement? I think you are likely to find fellow comrades here and the culture is more or less the same as Singapore.

Love your Pillarised article!

Unknown said...

Hi AK,

Out of topic abit...i have miss your write up on LMIR now. What do you think is the attractive price for LMIR given the situation now?


AK71 said...

Hi SnOOpy168,

Yup. Retirement villages in Thailand seem like a good idea. Healthcare in Thailand is pretty advanced anyway and is likely to get better. Indeed, they are giving Singapore a good run for the medical tourists' money. :)

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Indeed, I thought of the same thing. 2016, you think? I though it might be as early as 2014 or 2015, especially if we have a recession. ;p

My crystal ball is cloudy mostly. So, as long as I get a chance to buy another car at a much lower price before 2020, I am contented. :)

AK71 said...


Yes, public transportation is rather good in Singapore, isn't it? Singaporeans are quite spoilt by it all, actually.

I remember walking 15 minutes to the nearest MRT station when I was an undergrad. These days, people complain about MRT stations being more than a 5 minutes walk away.

A super condo in Penang? How big is that and how much would that cost?

I read about the "silver hair" program in Malaysia before to attract affluent retirees to stay in the country. Is this ongoing?

I have only been to Penang a few times when I went on the Star Virgo. I like Queensbay Mall and the real estate around it. :)

AK71 said...

Hi K,

Actually, you didn't miss any write up. I replied to a similar comment recently though:


LCF said...

Hey AK, how does SGD 280k for 1450 sqf of seaview sound to you?

Yea, I stay around Queensbay Mall area. Give me a buzz when you do come for a visit.


FoodieFC said...

Totally agree. When I was still studying, my aim was to buy a car and a house (maybe a 2nd property too so that I can passive income).

Now that I have graduate, working for the past 2 years. The dream of having a car and 2nd property has totally vanished. I would be fortunate if I get a house and pay off the loans in 30years...

Thanks for making my dreams vanished.

AK71 said...


That sounds absolutely enticing although I would say that 1450 sq ft is not really a super condo. A condo twice that size would be SUPER. ;p

S$280k won't be enough to buy a resale 3 room HDB flat in Singapore even. :(

However, I remember reading a few days ago that Penang is tightening the requirements for foreigners buying real estate on the island. It has to be a minimum value of RM2m now, right? That would be about S$800K.

AK71 said...

Hi FoodieFC,

Aiyoh. I feel bad now.

Don't be too pessimistic. The last I looked, a 5 year old pre-owned Mazda 2 has a price tag of around $40k. A similar age Nissan Sunny would be about S$36k. Affordable?

Also, go for a BTO HDB flat. That is probably the most affordable option. Of course, that is available only if you are getting married.

If you are going to stay single, waiting till 35 to buy that resale HDB flat is an option but I would rather buy a new private apartment even if it should be an "inhuman" shoebox apartment.

This is because a resale 3 room HDB flat will easily set you back by $350K these days and they are usually very old (>30 yrs old) and renovation would easily cost $40K.

A brand new 441sq ft shoebox apartment in Pasir Ris, for example, is less than $490K in price. Longer lease and no worries about renovation. Of course, you get condo facilities, security and a basement parking lot thrown in.

Cheer up :)

AK71 said...


A new 2012 Passat sedan made by Volkswagen AG (VOW), the world’s second-largest carmaker, costs about $152,000 in Singapore, including the COE, according to classified ads website The median price of a U.S. metropolitan area home is $158,100, National Association of Realtors data show.

Read article:

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

Can't help but to comment again.

I want the BMW 116i that offers driving fun and brand prestige but yet in the cheaper CAT A, road tax, insurance and petrol bills. However, at $157k now the price alone is too expensive to stomach. :( :(

As for property, well I admit that I can't make it in love affairs and so I am still single and may remain this status for many years to come. My choice is a private condo 1-room unit for myself. But definitely NOT the shoebox size. This is paying more for a lousy return. >:(

I wonder is there any choice of a private 1-room unit with a balcony and a small swimming pool (okay, maybe a shoebox outdoor "bathtub") outside my living room? Hmm...

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Now in my old age, I just want a reliable car that has low maintenance. So, the Mazda 2 is a good choice for me. ;p

I had my share of fun in my younger days, driving a BMW520 for 2 years in the past. Brand new, it cost S$179k in those days. So, I can understand your feeling. :)

I personally feel that shoebox apartments should refer to those which are 400 sq ft or smaller, not 540 sq ft or smaller.

I have visited one bedroom apartments which are 452 to 517 sq feet in size. I can tell you confidently that those sizes are comfortable for a single person or a couple.

As for investment returns, smaller apartments actually command higher rental yields. ;)

I would suggest that you look at one bedroom apartments in larger projects which have a good mix of unit types when you are ready to buy. Larger projects usually have better facilities (like a bigger pool and gym) which you get to use too although you own a small unit. Trust me, I have seen a 15m lap pool before in very small projects. Not nice.

Also, larger projects tend of have conventional carparks while smaller ones have part or full mechanised carparks. Since you intend to drive, this would be a consideration. I would give mechanised carparks a wide berth.

Also, staying in a condominium that is dominated by one bedroom units would be like staying in a hotel or an upmarket dormitory... I refer to those with a corridor down the centre of each floor with units on both sides of the corridor. Quite depressing.

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

I guess your ex-BMW 520i was bought during the cheap COE days? A F10 520i today is $250k. If your ex-520i was bought in the expensive years, that means PML today is actually robbing customers by charging a much higher price for its models compared to the past. Well, just have to wait for 2016 GE so that COEs can come down during the polling days.

I have seen CGI illustrations of condo units that have each individual small swimming pool on the balcony. I don't like the general swimming pool that is shared by everyone. So far, houses that have their own swimming pool are those large, GCBs which are very expensive. So far, townhalls are the only condo unit (a very large one with 4 to 5 storeys that can accommodate 3 or 4 families in one house) with its own swimming pool and even a parking garage for 2 cars. :)

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

The 520 I had was bought 8 or 9 years ago. Cannot remember the exact year now. In any case, I am sure Performance Motors is making a lot of money all the time. ;)

I guess you mean town houses? For about $3m, you can have one but you would still have to share a swimming pool with other families. As for a private pool, yes, you are right about some condo units having private pools. They are usually penthouse units. :)

This example is on the 27th floor:

Cool... ;)

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

Well, during the cheap COE days, the E46 520i was sold at $179k! That means PML was actually robbing customers. :( Got to buy it from PI agents instead.

At least you drove a 5 series before. :)

Yes townhouses. But I can have my own family living in it, definitely for a large family with both elders and juniors under one roof. However, at $3m, this is definitely not an one-man wallet. All families under one roof must folk out some money too. :)

As for your penthouse link, ah ha! That was what I saw previously. But the pictures are too small to look at the interior layout, only the shared, public swimming pool can be seen clearly. :/

Guess I am going for a small penthouse with a private swimming pool. How much does one normally cost?

INVS 2.0 said...


The Rivera actually costs nearly $2m for 2-bedroom! Oh no! :(

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

I have no doubt that Performance Motors made a lot of money from me and others... all the time. Haha.. However, I will never buy from a parallel importer. To save some $10K or $20K is not worth the kind of nightmares some buyers from PI went through. A car is a big ticket item and I need reliable after sales support. I will only buy from the distributor.

As for having driven a BMW before, frankly, it is no big deal. On hindsight, the money could have been invested for greater returns...

As for a smaller penthouse with a private pool, this is probably the least expensive I have come across but it is a 5th floor penthouse (duh):

The pool looks like it is only 5m long. You might get giddy turning as you do laps.

At $1.324m though, it is cheaper than the two bedder condo I sold last year in D3. So, can't complain. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Well, your private pool is on the 27th floor in Riviera 38. $2m is a small price to pay. ;)

Frankly, I am not a big fan of private pools. Think of the maintenance!

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

I have done my research. For exclusive marques like BMW, no doubt spare parts are expensive and harder to find. But reliable PIs like Vincar are well-known in the market to provide aftersales solutions. Anyway, I have found a TDH (tom, dick & harry) service centre that does premium continental marques and is popular and recommended in BMW.SG forum. :D

I thought BMW cars give you "sheer driving pleasure" of a rear-wheel driven fun? :) :) Any issue with reliability?

As for the 5m swimming pool, I won't use it for swimming as I can't swim. :) A private swimming pool is mostly used to submerge myself during warm days and perhaps, to invite my girlfriend (if any) :) to have accompany me in the pool. Unique experience, eh? :D

Will keep an eye on propertyguru website. :D

FoodieFC said...

Hi AK71

no dun be mistaken dun feel bad. What I meant was that due to some events that has the prices of property and car ownership has shot up tremendous.

Well, so I can now dream on haha.Thats a fact. I am very clear on what is a need and a want

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Ah, you have done your research on who are the more reliable PIs for BMWs. Then, I shall hold my tongue. ;p

As for reliability, frankly, I had less problems with my Mazda 6 compared to the BMW. I shan't say more. I would be taking away from you the fun of personally experiencing the entire package. You could be more fortunate than me. Who knows?

If you can't swim, then, you might want to consider a smaller one bedroom penthouse with a jacuzzi. You don't need a pool just to have a soak alone or with someone else, and a jacuzzi is more stimulating. ;p

The listing is expired but click on "expired listing details" and you will see the photos.

Price: S$700K only. Not bad for an 8th floor 894sq ft penthouse but it is in Geylang. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi FoodieFC,

You definitely sound more level headed than I was when I was your age... Good on you. :)

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

I believe high-end cars with lots of electronics don't tend to last long in a warm and humid country. A basic 116i with less eletronics may be more reliable than its more upper-ranked family models like the 3 and 5 series. :)

Ah, so that is the jacuzzi, a shoe-box bathtub I was referring to earlier on. But in Geylang... perhaps that explains the relatively affordable price. :/

I hope to materialise these two biggest investments in the next decade to come. :D

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

So, it has to do with how much electronics we find in the cars? That sounds correct. Then, I am sticking to basic cars like my Mazda 2. Haha.. ;p

Ah, you were referring to a jacuzzi. I was wondering about your description of a private pool on the balcony earlier. ;)

Well, there are people who are very bullish about real estate in Geylang and the arguments are persuasive. It is in the city fringe and wedged in between Aljunied and Dakota MRT stations. It is relatively close to Paya Lebar too. However, it is just too messy for me and I think only Balestier (another city fringe location) is messier.

A condo could be an investment but a car is probably not. Haha.. Good to have goals. All the best. :)

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

I was so awed by the houses featured in propertyguru that I spent the whole night looking through every single landed homes in its website. :)

The GCBs, especially, deeply in love with the exterior and interior architecture. :) But one at the Holland area costs $30m! That would be for someone who is the founder of a huge size company. :/

The smaller, less exclusive bungalow houses like the newly-constructed one in Changi costs $5m. Not bad at all. :D Maybe good enough for a typical mid-level manager with some good passive income and CPF to afford. :D

It is always dreams like these keep me motivated and passionate about earning big bucks.

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Hahaha.. Yes, I like PropertyGuru too. It is more interesting than watching TV. ;)

However, I never really look at landed properties. I lived in landed properties in Joo Chiat and Telok Kurau for 8 years of my childhood life. To me, condo living is better. Then again, it is about personal preferences.

A friend told me that his condo of $1.5m value is too expensive for him to stay in. So, he rents it out. I lived in my condo of similar value for almost 5 years and decided to sell last year. My friend makes sense, I decided. I am too lazy to be a landlord. So, selling is a better choice for me.

I think a condo of half a million dollars in value would be sufficiently "expensive" for me to stay in. I am single and I do not plan to have children. So, I do not need a lot of space. Small spaces have their advantages.

I still have my rooms in my parents' condo in the suburbs and I am very likely to stay with my parents as they grow older. I want to take care of them. So, a smaller place nearer town could just be a place for occasional retreats.

You are a young and promising man. Singapore needs to have more people like you. A $5m home? Go for it! :)

AK71 said...

"For example, the report found that a new Volkswagen Golf costs five times more in Singapore -- at about US$126,500, compared to just over US$23,000 in New York. It is also far more expensive compared to cities like Hong Kong, Paris and London."

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