Lamborghini-vs-US-citizenship arbitrage

The price of COEs - Certificates of Entitlement, the piece of paper that allows you to buy a car in Singapore - has reached new 14-year highs. The COE for cars with engines larger than 1.6 litres - so, basically, any car that doesn’t suck - now costs $72,500 over and above the 105% tax on cars and the cost of the car itself. (The last time COEs cost this much was just before the 1998 Asian crisis; I’m not saying history repeats, but it occasionally rhymes.)

So, here’s why I don’t own a car: a Ford Focus hatchback now costs $103,000; a basic Toyota Camry costs $143,000; an M3 will run you $395,000 ; and a 911 Turbo starts at $690,000. There’s even a point somewhere around the Lamborghini Aventador (about $1.5 million SGD) where it becomes cheaper to do it the very long way:

And at $1.21 SGD to the USD, that’ll still leave you with $70,000 USD to spend.

Oddly enough, though, the COE scheme doesn’t seem to have hurt sales of supercars in Singapore. You see quite a few Lamborghinis on the road around here.