Singapore’s Top 10 car brands in 2022’s first half

Derryn Wong

Luxury and EV sales dominate Singapore’s market, Tesla drops out of the top 10, and a surprise brand rockets five places up 


2022’s passenger car sales in the first half of the year looks exactly like business as usual, but if you delve deeper then big changes are rumbling beneath the surface.

While the top five brands see no difference in ranking, Certificate of Entitlement (COE) quota cuts and record-breaking COE prices have altered buying behaviour considerably over the past year.

Smaller market, shrinking pie

2022 sees a considerably smaller car market, thanks to the dearth of COEs. 16,567 cars have been registered here in the first six months of the year, compared to the 25,777 in the same period in 2021 – that’s a huge 38 percent drop. Compared to 2021’s total of 45,442, 2022 is expected to see only around 30,000 cars registered. 

That springs from a shrinking quota of COEs (no COE = no car), which has translated into very high COE prices, a trend that continued on from the end of 2021 – as you can see in our handy charts.  So far this year Category A has not dipped below S$60k, and Category B and E, never less than S$85k.

Of course the big thing here is that the latter have also reached record-breaking prices in July. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) introduced measures that could help smooth prices out a little, but it doesn’t remove the reason the prices are so high in the first place.

And just as we’ve seen roughly decade ago, high COE prices means mainstream brands suffer and luxury brands prosper, because a S$160,000 Toyota Corolla makes less ‘sense’ than a S$250,000 Mercedes-Benz. ‘Prosper’ since hardly any brands can expect to equal their previous sales with an overall market shrink of this magnitude. 

Singapore passenger car registrations: 2022’s first half results vs 2021’s full year results

The Podium : Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, BMW 

Toyota’s back on top of the pile again in the first half of 2022, to nobody’s surprise. While it’s very clearly a mainstream brand, the Japanese maker has bolstered its full lineup of cars to quite crucially include medium-sized-and-up cars, which are also well-priced hybrids. 

“At Toyota, we always strive to do better and this achievement is a testament to that. It is our customers and dedicated team who inspire and push us to keep raising the bar. Thank you to everyone who has shown unwavering support and believed in us from the beginning,” said Ms Jasmmine Wong, Ms Jasmmine Wong, the CEO for Inchcape for Greater China and Singapore. Inchcape is the parent company of Borneo Motors, the authorised Toyota and Lexus dealer for Singapore.

This includes cars such as the Toyota Camry Hybrid sedan, Harrier Hybrid SUV, and the Alphard Hybrid MPV. These will continue to sell relative to say, a Corolla Altis or Vios. That’s because consumers are less likely to baulk at the price of a larger, more prestigious car, and they have the added benefit of a VES rebate. In fact, 66 percent of the cars Toyota sold in Singapore this year were hybrids, compared to 34 percent petrol-only cars.  

We review the new C-Class which is a mild hybrid in all versions sold here

Mercedes-Benz takes its usual, second-spot on the podium, but that rank alone does the German luxury brand no justice. Mercedes looks to be the only brand on track to at least roughly equal its 2021 sales, with 2,940 cars registered to date. It was also the only brand in the Top 10 to significantly gain market share – a considerable 3.6 percent increase.

As we saw last year, keep in mind that Toyota’s registration figures count Lexus too for some archaic reason, so if Lexus sold more than the 605-car difference between Merc and Toyota, it’s actually the three-pointed star that is Singapore’s number one brand. Possible, but because we don’t have the figures, it’s not a confirmed thing.

Sign of the times: All versions of the new C-Class are electrified

The interesting thing is that, as of July 2022, Mercedes actually hasn’t launched that many new models here, other than its mainstay C-Class which took a bow in January 2022 and is electrified in all versions.  But it does have an bigger electric onslaught prepped, with the EQB, EQV, EQE, and EQS electric vehicles all due for launch this year. 

Is BMW the top EV brand in Singapore?

BMW’s Cat A eligible 216i Gran Coupe only just launched in June, but it may make more of a sales impact later on

BMW soldiers on in third place, which becomes clear once you realise it hasn’t launched any clearly strong sellers this year, other than the 2 Series Gran Coupe in Cat A friendly 216i guise, but that only appeared in June.

The interesting thing to note is that BMW is down on petrol car sales compared to the first and second half of 2021, but when it comes to electrified cars it’s actually on the up: 575 in this period, compared to 414 in the second half of 2021. 

Julen abuses BMW’s first electric M car in Singapore

That’s not from lack of demand, either. Since BMW debuted the iX3 and iX electric SUV, and the i4 EV sedan, they’ve been consistently over-subscribed with BMW apparently selling them as fast as it can bring them in. Not surprising, considering they’re impressive cars and cost-effective. 

As before, the German brand closely beat out Honda in fourth, but keep in mind that it isn’t really a surprise anymore and shows just how inverted our car market really is. 

Page 2: Where did Tesla go? And guess which brands will do better in 2022. Hint: You can’t afford their cars

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Analysis bmw brands byd electric electric vehicle electrified EV industry luxury Mercedes-Benz mg sales tesla top 10 Toyota

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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