Categories: Features

Can you guess the best-selling car here?


Toyota is leading a Japanese fightback, but the number one model in Singapore could well surprise you

SINGAPORE — Registration numbers from the Land Transport Authority for July this year are out, and they show Toyota firmly in the number one spot in Singapore.

Indeed, Toyota overtook Mercedes-Benz to become market leaders here in June, after drawing more or less dead level with the German luxury brand in May.

Toyota last led the market in 2010, but the number one spot has since been usurped by Germany’s best. BMW led the Singapore market in 2011 and 2012, while Mercedes-Benz clinched the top spot last year.

But there’s a catch: Toyota’s registration figures include numbers from Lexus, its luxury subsidiary. That would be a bit like adding Audi’s numbers to Volkswagen. Along with those of Bentley, Porsche, Lamborghini and so on, come to think of it.

Indeed, the market is still heavily-skewed in favour of Germans brands. Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi take up the rest of the top five here, and with 6,782 cars sold so far this year, they account for 46.5 percent of the market collectively.

But there are signs that the Japanese players are on the verge of some sort of comeback. Mazda has already sold more cars than it did in all of 2013, and so have Honda and Nissan. Korea’s Hyundai has also surpassed its 2013 tally.

Meanwhile, Suzuki recently opened a new showroom while Mitsubishi is planning something of a brand reboot here, with a new showroom planned and four new or refreshed cars for buyers to consider.

Still, looking at individual model sales, it’s clear that the German brands are still very strong, and in any case there are still many months left to go in the year. But this is one story that we’ll be watching with interest as it unfolds…

The 10 Bestselling Cars In Singapore
While Toyota and Lexus collectively occupy the top spot here, sales numbers obtained by CarBuyer for individual models up to July this year show that German brands are still doing extremely well. In fact, only three of the top 10 are Japanese cars, while pricey models have done surprisingly strongly…

10. Lexus ES — 333 units

No surprise here. We’ve always been convinced that the big Lexus would sell strongly by offering lots of real estate for the money.

9. Mercedes-Benz S-Class 345 units

The S-Class has timeless appeal, and if not for this year’s higher taxes it would likely have sold twice as well.

8. Nissan Sylphy — 391 units

Here’s a car we liked for its refinement, the tight build and surprisingly, for its handling. It’s an underrated car.

7. Volkswagen Golf — 434 units

Multiple awards seem to have translated to segment success. Do you see another hatchback in the top 10?

6. Volkswagen Jetta — 458

Here’s a strong seller than could have done even better had it not been ‘sold out’. But a large batch has just been cleared for sale.

5. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class — 475 units

This one surprised us, but only because we thought the numbers were higher. We hear 600 had been sold by July.

4. BMW 3 Series — 522 units

Still a strong performer, but it’s a player in a battle that’s worth watching: what happens when Merc C-Class sales kick in?

3. BMW 5 Series — 569 units


A mild facelift freshened up its looks only slightly, but the 5 Series has remained Singapore’s favourite BMW.

2. Toyota Corolla Altis — 856 units

We couldn’t be more chuffed for this perennial favourite whose reliability, practicality and ease-of-use enable it to lead the Japanese charge.

1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class — 978 units

Singapore is still a sedan market, and Mercedes-Benz is still a coveted brand. Put those two together, and you have the number one seller here.

Leow Ju-Len

Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.

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