Making joint financial decisions aka buying a car

Recently ACCICB and I have been thinking and looking around to purchase a new car. Our current Japanese car is 8 years old so it was a case of changing now or driving it till scrap in 2 years time. We were advised that changing our car next year would be pointless since there will be no value left in the car to do so.

Given the astronomical COE prices in recent years, in fact, I think it has never or hardly dropped since our first car was bought in 2007 and if you use trend forecasting, it seems unlikely to drop in the next 2 years. Thus off we went to the Japanese and Korean car showrooms and test driving was indeed a tiring task.

I guess it can be fun if you like cars which funnily ACCICB used to like but now doesn't care for it so much. That was because of an incident in the past that made him realise that family is more important than a physical object and if your family is in pain, no physical object will make you feel better.

We finally narrowed the car to the car which we wished to own and we first chanced upon it in our car park! We were walking our dog and were just happily ogling the car while our dog wants to go off. By the way our dog seems to know his sports cars and have only marked his claim on the floor near two cars, one Maserati and one BMW 6 series coupe. He was also very attracted to the VW Scirocco that a NS boy was driving.

Its amazing how much cars have changed in these 8 years... our current car looks like a relic now and cars nowadays have so many buttons and knobs etc and I was telling ACCICB, now we really have to read the car manual to figure out what each button is meant to do! 

Unfortunately our visit to the car showroom was marred, not by the car and it's driving experience but by the car sales person who really put us off with her attitude. In the end, we walked away from the deal and recently we bumped into her again at the Car Expo when we went to find out whether the deal has been sweetened for the 2 days.

Through this entire experience, I'm just shocked at how close the prices are for a Japanese or Korean make car with a Continental car. It is mind boggling to me although I know that the servicing and parts are more expensive for a Continental car. I won't go into which car is better because we have different considerations when purchasing a car. 

At the Car Expo, we chanced upon this Continental car which is slightly cheaper than the Japanese car we had our eye on. We went to test drive it and were sold by a few facts such as having 4 more air bags and a few other safety features. But alas, we actually didn't ask about the colors that they have at the Expo so we had a rude shock on the 3 color choices.

I prefer a light colored car due to our tropical climate and the only light color they had resembled granny's underwear. The only good thing I can think of is that nobody will horn you if you drive terribly slow since they probably think that it's a granny driver inside. However ACCICB just couldn't take it, the color just put him off given that we have to drive the car for the next 8 to 10 years. 

This reminded me of 8 years ago when we bought our current car. The car loan was crazy given my puny salary and I was so glad when I changed jobs and could finally had peace of mind in fulfilling the monthly installment. On hindsight, it was a good thing that we bought the car then because just look at how car prices had been since then, but I can still remember the struggles I had every month just to be able to afford the car. 

Now, 8 years later, cars have basically doubled or more in prices and ACCICB was telling me how he had these 8 years to save up and pay for this car, which was much better than me paying for this car 8 years ago. Nowadays, we are like driving a HDB or more around on the roads which only lasts for a decade. At some point, we were actually considering getting skate scooters as an alternative to a car but hey ACCICB needs air-con as per his namesake so that idea was thrown out rather quickly.

Funnily, we wanted to register the new car in his name, only to find out if we do, he would have to start from 0% NCD and that my 50% NCD is non transferable! In the end, we decided that it was best to register the new car in my name given that insurance costs would be lower due to the 50% NCD and so off I went, to look for an insurer which would give me the terms which I want for car insurance.

He jokingly tells me that it seems he will never own a car in his name and I said, if you make this work, your first car can be a sports car! He says Nah, I already have you and Koki which is way better than any car. This reminded me of Top Gear whereby they did an experiment and everybody chose the puppy instead of the sports car! Probably if they do this experiment in Singapore, it may fail!

The trade-in experience was also not that pleasant. The dealer was telling me that since our current car had been in an accident before which resulted in the front bumper being changed, this would be a minus point thus he had to reduce the trade in price. I was rather upset as I did the repairs at the authorised dealer but nothing I said would make him change his mind. This makes me realise that this whole car buying shebang thingy can be quite dodgy. 

The car insurance provided by the dealer was not to my liking and since we have yet to go for the COE bidding, I have some time to shop around for a better insurance deal. Fast forward and we just pass the 1st COE bidding but we didn't get it which is no surprise since I've actually not heard of anybody who got their COE during the 1st bidding.

Everybody was telling me that the dealer already has the COE and that they are just playing for time. We found out that dealers are allowed to hold onto the COEs for 6 months after the successful bid! This should be eliminated to make it a fairer system for all involved! Now that the CEVS rebate rules are set to change in July, there has been a mad rush to buy a new car and I hope that the dealer isn't playing us and would get us to top up $$$ if we fail to get the COE after the 4 non-guaranteed COE bids!

We won't bite though because that's just pure madness and truth be told, I am ambivalent about getting a new car. If we don't get this car, we will just put it off till 2 years time so we're keeping our fingers crossed that our current car will be fine till then. 


  1. buy car can be a horrible experience with the phoney salesman out to con you, no standard fix market price and COE bidding like not transparent. its esp worst if u buy from the PI
    but we still go thru it to get our dream car haha

    1. Hi Jimmy,

      I'm just thankful that this process is once every ten years especially when we're just looking for an A to Z destination car.


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