Car showrooms to reopen and COE bidding to restart - at earliest - in July [updated]

Derryn Wong

COE bidding, car showrooms and deliveries in Singapore will only resume in July at the earliest [update] Car servicing resumes from June 2, LTA official anouncement

[First published May 20]
[Updated May 21 – Car servicing is officially allowed and remote deliveries]
[Updated May 22 – LTA says inspection, servicing, scrapping allowed in Phase 1]
[Update June 18,2020 – Car showrooms open ahead of schedule with Phase 2 moving forward to June 19, 2020 – read this story for details]

With the ending of the official circuit breaker period happening on June 1, 2020, you might wonder when you can visit a car showroom or take delivery of a car you’ve already purchased?

The answer is: At earliest, July 2020.

[UPDATE May 22] – The LTA says Certificate of Entitlement (COE) bidding will only begin when showrooms reopen: “COE bidding will only resume after motor dealerships and showrooms are allowed to reopen. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is monitoring the situation closely and will update on subsequent bidding exercises in due course.”

It doesn’t give a concrete date for that, understandably, but the earliest this can happen is July. As we know, car showrooms and general servicing has been off the books since April 7, when the CB period began.

On May 19, the plan for bringing Singapore out of the circuit breaker was announced, with a three-phase process:

Phase 1 : Some services restart on June 2, 2020, limited social contact.
Phase 2: Retail and more businesses allowed.
Phase 3: ‘New normal’ with economy as normal as it can be

ST reports that Phase 1 will last ‘at least four weeks’, which is how we deduced the July time-frame. For more details read the ST story and the accompanying image.

There is an official list of businesses and services which can resume operation on June 2, 2020 – that’s in a PDF here – and all are categorised neatly with Singapore Standard Industrialisation Codes (SSIC).

Car showrooms, which come under motor vehicle retail with SSIC code ‘473- RETAIL SALE OF MOTOR VEHICLES, PARTS, ACCESSORIES AND AUTOMOTIVE FUEL IN SPECIALISED STORES’ aren’t listed in the PDF.

Since that’s excluded from the list of allowed services, you won’t be able to visit a showroom or take delivery of your car (all of which are considered retail operations) until Phase 2.

However it does look like you can repair your car and send it in for servicing. One of the allowed services in Phase 1 is ‘95301 – Repair services for bicycles, motor vehicles’.

Under the SSIC description, that includes ‘95301- Repair and maintenance of motor vehicles (including installation of parts & accessories)’ although it does not include car grooming, inspection, or valuation services.

UPDATE May 22: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) press release issued today states the following:

– Passenger car owners can service their cars at workshops after June 1, 2020.
– Authorised inspection centres (eg. Vicom) can provide inspection services for goods vehicles, buses, taxis, private hire cars, and motorcycles, but not private passenger cars.
– Owners who have inspection deadlines falling between April 7 and June 30, 2020, have the deadline extended by six months.

– Car owners who are required to de-register their cars between April 7 and June 30, 2020, have a two-month extension. Those who have a deadline falling between July 1 and August 1, have a one-month extension.
– Scrapyard operators will resume business on May 26, 2020. Export operators will resume operations on June, 2020.

UPDATE May 21 : We’ve received word that remote car deliveries are allowed, and that regular car servicing is available in Phase 1, from June 2.

The Straits Times reports that remote car deliveries are allowed from June 2 as well. However with limited COEs on hand, few customers will receive their vehicles until COE bidding resumes.

BMW and Mini (under Performance Motors Limited and Eurokars, respectively) were the first to officially confirm this, and we expect all other dealerships to follow suit shortly.

They both state that safe distancing and sanitation measures will be taken at their customer service centres, in accordance with government guidelines. They encourage customers to pre-book their service appointments, or to utilise their collection/delivery services.

To sum up: You can repair or service your car after June 2, but you can’t sell your car, trade it in, or have it valued until Phase 2 is here, and the earliest of estimate for that is July.


automotive circuit breaker covid industry showroom Singapore

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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