Kiasu is not a good thing — it drives prices up!

Robin Low
3 min readMay 16

The COE for motorcycles has dropped from $12,179 to $5,007 because of some tweaks that LTA made to try to reduce COE prices for motorcycles.

Many of the smaller motorcycles costs about $4,000 and having a $12,000 COE would mean you are paying 3 times the machine price for a piece of paper.

A high COE for motorcycle drives up the cost for everyone. Businesses need courier services, delivery needs motorcycles for cheap, efficient and fast transportation. Motorcycles also are less likely to be caught in a jam. So a high COE price will drive up motorcycle prices and business costs, which eventually affect consumers.

During the last round of high COE in March 2017, where COEs hit a high of $8,081, the government increase the ARF for motorcycles which simply made motorcycles more expensive and within a year, the COE has shot up again, and yes, the overall motorcycle prices has also gone up because the taxes were increased.

Now, with the shortening of TCOE duration, the motorcycle COE dropped to $5,007, which costs more than the cheapest motorcycles, but the market seemed to go crazy and we see a frenzy of motorcycle buying which with no surprise, drives up the COE again.

As of now, the COE is $6,516, already higher than the $5,007, and this can be seen as the Kiasu (Fear of missing out) Singaporeans wanting to take advantage of the “lower COE”.

Sadly, this type of kiasu behavior just makes everyone lose and the motorcycle dealership win. I expect the COE to cross the $7,000 mark again. There is absolutely no reason to buy a motorcycle now to drive up demand of the COE, as you know, is a bidding process and it only helps increase the coffers of the government, and for the ones who can’t afford to pay the full amount for their machines, enrich the motorcycle dealers. They get rich from your fear of losing out, and paying of interests during the hire purchase process.

Kiasu Singaporeans are a common bunch, and thanks to their fear of missing out, we have high prices. The rhetoric of land scarce Singapore is etched into the minds of…

Robin Low

Author, Traveler, Innovator. Focuses on Social Impact and Innovation.