2013 has proven to be a turbulent year for the local automotive industry. With seismic changes to regulations that have resulted in huge shockwaves felt through the entire industry. Early in the year, the local auto industry was crippled by the announcement of loan restrictions following the governmentís Budget 2013 announcement.
One of the new rulings introduced was for cars with an OMV exceeding $20,000, the buyer would only be allowed a loan of up to 50% with the remainder paid with cash. This had a debilitating impact on the behavior of new car buyers. This left the whole industry shellshocked for Q1 of 2013 as showrooms scrambled to come to terms with the new restrictions.
It was a double whammy for the industry as it battled the loan restrictions on the back of a shrinking COE quota. Leading to even higher COE as dealers placed ever higher bids to secure a piece of that all-important paper. At its peak, the COE hit $93,889 for Category B (1600cc and above).
The uncertainty of the time caused the industry to take a cautious approach to the new year as it held its breath with showrooms delaying new car launches. By Q2, the industry had bounced back with a stream of launches that came fast and furious. This included the launch of Porscheís highly anticipated replacement for the Cayman.
Other highlights included the all-new IS that promised even better handling than before. The IS250 F-sport was very impressive featuring several LFA inspired touches that brought some of its magic to a wider audience.
However, Mercedes-Benz took the limelight with several significant model launches this year. First up was the all-new A-class that promised to shed the unwieldy handling of its previous generation. That culminated in the A45 AMG that was shod with a highly tuned 2.0-litre straight four. This year also marked the launch of their flagship S-class that has been the first and last word in luxury sedans since its inception.
We will announce the result of the winner on 26th Dec 2013.