Average Age of Cars in Singapore

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The average age of cars in a country can give you interesting insights into the behavior of current and prospective car-owners. For example, in many developed economies like the US, Australia, the UK, and the EU, the last decade has seen the average age of vehicles on the road increase over time.Singapore, however, faces particular challenges due to its small size that has required it to regulate the car population much more strictly. We wanted to find out exactly how Singapore's unique national circumstances might affect its car population and consumer behavior in the market, so we crunched the data to see how the average age of cars on the road in Singapore has changed over time.

Average Age of Cars in Singapore 2006-2017

Average Age of Cars in Singapore 2006-2017

We found that the average age of cars in Singapore in 2017 was 6.03 years. This is nearly twice the average age of cars only 10 years ago, when the average car age was merely 3.1. This dramatic change can be explained at least partially by the confluence of two factors: High car sales in the mid- to late-aughts; and the significant drop in car sales after 2008. This occurred both as a result of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession in Singapore, which depressed demand for cars, and the significant reduction of the vehicle quota after 2008 (48,773 in 2008 vs. 18,733 in 2010). Thus, with fewer new cars entering the car population, the average age of cars has increased steadily over the past decade.

We also observed that 2017's average car age of 6.03 years reflects a continuing trend of a decline in the average car age since its peak in 2014 at 6.58 years. This decline is a departure from the pattern 2006 to 2014, which saw a dramatic increase in the average age of cars from 3.2 years to 6.58 years. It also stands in contrast to the aforementioned trend of car ages increasing over time that we noticed in other well-developed countries.

Age (Years)200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
0 < 124.7%20.7%17.6%11.9%7.0%4.6%4.4%3.5%4.6%9.5%14.5%14.8%
1 < 223.1%22.7%19.3%16.8%11.5%6.9%4.5%4.4%3.6%4.7%9.5%10.5%
2 < 319.7%21.1%21.2%18.4%16.3%11.3%6.7%4.5%4.4%3.6%4.7%5.2%
3 < 413.4%15.8%18.6%20.1%17.8%16.0%11.1%6.7%4.5%4.5%3.6%3.7%
4 < 55.5%8.2%11.0%16.2%19.4%17.5%15.7%11.0%6.7%4.6%4.5%4.4%
5 < 63.3%2.5%4.4%7.6%14.9%19.1%17.1%15.6%11.1%6.9%4.6%4.6%
6 < 71.2%2.1%1.6%3.0%6.3%14.5%18.6%17.0%15.7%11.4%6.9%5.8%
7 < 80.7%0.7%1.4%1.0%2.4%5.7%14.0%18.5%17.1%16.0%11.4%10.8%
8 < 90.9%0.4%0.4%0.9%0.8%1.9%4.9%13.6%18.5%17.4%16.0%15.6%
9 < 100.2%0.4%0.2%0.3%0.6%0.6%1.3%3.7%12.0%17.9%16.2%15.8%
10 < 110.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.3%1.6%4.8%5.1%
11 < 120.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.3%1.6%2.0%
12 < 130.2%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.3%0.4%
13 < 140.8%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
14 < 152.3%0.6%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
15 < 161.9%1.8%0.5%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
16 < 170.3%1.4%1.4%0.4%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
17 < 180.4%0.2%1.0%1.1%0.3%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%
18 < 190.1%0.3%0.1%0.7%0.9%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%
19 < 200.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.5%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%
20 & above0.6%0.6%0.5%0.6%0.6%0.7%0.8%0.8%0.8%0.8%0.9%0.9%

This trend of decreasing average car ages over the last few years in Singapore can be attributed to several factors. First, since 2013, the LTA has begun to increase the vehicle quota once again, allowing for more new cars to enter the car population. The percentage of cars aged under 1 year increased from 3.5% in 2013 to a 9-year high of 14.8% in 2017. One of the biggest driving factors of this rebound in the vehicle quota is the significant number of old cars being deregistered in the last few years when their COEs expire, as many of the cars bought in the first decade of the 2000s reach the age of 10 years,.

Second, the vast majority of Singaporeans do not keep their cars past the age of 10. This reflects the effectiveness of significant incentives Singapore has put in place to encourage you to deregister your car before it turns 10 years old. These incentives include requiring you to pay the Prevailing Quota Premium after 10 years to renew your expired COE, a COE rebate for deregistering your car before its COE expires, and a PARF rebate for deregistering your car before it turns 10 years old. For instance, the average age of cars in Singapore is quite low compared to 11.6 years in the US, 10.1 years in Australia, 8.29 years in Japan and 9.73 years in the EU.

Over time, the confluence of these two factors has caused the average car age to decline as newer cars compose a greater portion of all cars on the road while older vehicles are consistently removed from the vehicle population on a yearly basis.

More Singaporeans are holding on to older cars

Although in general, cars aged older than 10 make up a miniscule portion of the total vehicle population in Singapore, we noticed that the number of car-owners choosing to hold on to their cars once they turn 10 years old has increased each year from only 7.7% in 2013 to 31.5% in 2017. This upward trend in car-owners keeping their older cars and therefore renewing COEs on 10-year-old cars correlates with the decline that has occurred over the same period in average COE prices. This correlation suggests that the concurrent decline of COE prices may be one contributing reason alongside other changes in the economy that more people are choosing to hold on to older cars rather than buy a new one.

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