Own Your Personal or Business Car With COE – here’s how


Singapore makes hitting the road with a new car more complicated than simply just browsing and buying it straight from a dealer.

This is true whether it’s for personal or business use. You’ll require a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) first, which is obtained through COE bidding.

In this article, we’ll quickly delve into what COE bidding is and how you can get started.

COE in a Nutshell

Own Your Personal or Business Car With COE

Unlike many countries, you need a Certificate of Entitlement to entitle you with the right to register, own, and use a vehicle in Singapore, which expires after 10 years. You need a COE first before owning a car.

There is only a limited number of COEs to go around as well due to the small size (700 square kilometers) and high urban density of Singapore, forcing them to regulate the number of vehicles crowding its roadways.

In 1990, Singapore pushed the Vehicle Quota System (VQS) to address this issue. VQS imposes a quota on the number of vehicles actively used in Singapore at any given time, enforced through the limited distribution of COEs.

Since COE only lasts for 10 years, you’ll have to either pay to renew it for another 5 or 10 years to continue using your car or deregister and scrap your car.

Since COEs demand greatly outweighs the supply, it is very expensive to buy or renew a COE. The COE premium is cheapest for small cars up to 1600 cc & 97kW and goes up for big cars that exceed 1600 cc & 97kW.

Acquiring COE

COE is acquired via CEO bidding in auctions administered by the LTA. These are held bi-weekly throughout the year on the first and third Monday monthly. You will bid within one of five categories based on the vehicle type/size you are buying. Category;

  • A – Small cars (up to 1600 cc & 97kW)
  • B – Big cars (exceeding 1600 cc & 97kW)
  • C – Buses and goods vehicles
  • D – Motorcycles
  • E – Open for any kind of vehicle.

How COE Bidding Works

Bidders will submit bids by naming a reserve maximum price they are willing to pay for the COE. This amount is immediately deducted from their bank account. The bid will be rejected if there are not sufficient funds to cover the reserve price.

The Current COE Price (CCP) increases by S$1 over the three-day bidding process until the number of bidder’s reserve prices either match or exceed the CCP matches the number of COEs available in that bidding session. The Quota Premium (QP) is the price that all successful bidders need to pay for their COE.

Where You Can Submit Your Bid

You can join the bidding process in two ways. Either by bidding yourself in the Open Bidding System or designate a dealer to process it for you.

For private individuals, your COE bidding is processed through DBS ATM, meaning you’ll have to have a COE bidding account with them.

Your direct involvement will make sure that you are comfortable with the price and even speed up getting a COE if you bid successfully. Note that you will be charged an administration fee each time you submit a bid or revise your reserve price.

COE bidding in Singapore

This quickly sums up what you need to know before you start COE bidding in Singapore. You can head over to the DBS site to learn more about COE bidding or even begin submitting with LTA via IDEAL. Good luck bidding!

Author: Abdul Mateen