Remote car deliveries are allowed, but you won’t get your car until July

Remote car deliveries are allowed under Phase 1, beginning Tuesday June 2, 2020, but until COE bidding restarts most buyers won’t receive their cars yet

Remote car deliveries – that is, a car dealer sending a car you bought directly to your house instead of the traditional delivery bay presentation – are allowed from June 2.

But for those who have bought cars during the circuit breaker (CB) period, it’s highly unlikely you’ll receive your new ride just yet, and it highlights just how many steps take place behind the scenes too.

According to a report by the Straits Times, remote car deliveries are allowed from June 2, 2020.

And as reported by us, car sale events have gone online in a big way during the CB period, with almost every brand offering big discounts – some up to S$50k and more.

However if you ‘buy’ a car at those events, because of the nature of the sale – as detailed in our ‘Three things to note about online sales’ story – you’re simply putting down a deposit.

No COE = no car

Delivery is only going to happen because car dealers need a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) to register a car and hand it to you – and as of now, COE bidding is suspended until car showrooms reopen in July.

Dealers have temporary COEs (Open Category) on hand to register cars in ‘need-it-now’ situations like these, but those are typically only meant to cover any ‘overflows’ from normal deliveries, and not a sustained pause like CB has caused.

Every car sold here needs a in-depth PDI before being handed over to the customer
– even if it’s not a McLaren

Secondly, before a car can be delivered it also needs to have a Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI), which is no small job since it involves checking the entire car and fixing anything that needs touching up. That’s exactly why car dealership group Eurokars spent S$70m building an aftersales centre in Tanjong Penjuru, for instance.

Workshops and car service – including PDI – resumes on June 2 so that’s one step closer to normalcy. In fact, some dealers were able to apply to the MTI to reopen their PDI workshops on a case-by-case basis and deliver cars to customers before June 2, but only a small number of cars were delivered this way – again because of the COE shortage.

In April, the LTA figures show 1,646 vehicles registered, around one fifth fewer than March, and of which 682 were passenger cars.

Ron Lim, the head of Sales and Marketing for Nissan distributor Tan Chong Motor, said: “New car deliveries are suspended for the circuit breaker period as our pre-delivery inspection centre was closed during the circuit breaker period and workshops can only resume regular operations from 2 June. With Phase 1 kicking in, which allows the resumption of full workshop services, we will be able to resume preparation of new cars for deliveries but this will be limited to the backlog of cars that have already secured COEs.”

Paulson Tan, Deputy General Manager, Motor Image Enterprises – the official distributor for Subaru here – told CarBuyer that the entire car-buying process was able to be done remotely, from collecting bookings to signing documents, and receiving payments.

“But no deliveries were made as our pre-delivery inspection centre was closed during the circuit breaker period and workshops can only resume regular operations from 2 June,” he said.

In any case, it looks as if a completely remote car buying experience is possible – and that’s exactly what the Motor Traders’ Association (MTA) is counting on with its appeal to restart COE bidding and let the car trade get back into business.

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.