Buying a car is one of the biggest financial commitments in Singapore. That is why many Singaporeans opt to buy from Parallel Importers (PIs) instead of authorised dealers as a much cheaper alternative to get their dream car.
So, what are PIs, and how do you decide which PIs to purchase from? UCARS brings you the ultimate guide to answer your burning questions about Parallel Importers in Singapore.
What Are Parallel Importers?
To become an Authorised Dealer (AD) in Singapore, dealers need to impress car companies, secure a showroom, have sufficient capital for starting up, the list goes on. ADs usually get exclusive rights to sell a particular brand, but comes at a hefty starting cost. For instance, a well-known authorised dealer for Toyota in Singapore is Borneo Motors.
On the other hand, PIs eliminate third-party dealers by directly importing vehicles from their country of origin and re-selling the cars, rather than distributing. For example, a PI would purchase from the manufacturing factories in Japan directly, instead of heavily investing their capital in getting exclusive rights from car companies.
This is why parallel imports are cheaper to get in Singapore, since they do not incur the expensive overhead costs that authorised dealers do.
Are Parallel Importers Legal In Singapore?
PIs are perfectly legal in Singapore, however one should be careful to distinguish from licensed and unlicensed PIs.
Licensed PIs are required to apply for an assessment of the vehicle’s customs value with the Singapore Customs in order to import their vehicles. Only when the vehicles are approved by the Singapore Customs are PIs then allowed to bring their vehicles into Singapore. These vehicles are then vetted by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore to get an approval for usage on the roads.
While licensed and unlicensed PIs are difficult to discern, one useful way would be to look at CaseTrust-SVTA Accreditation, which provides a list of licensed car dealers in Singapore. Always do background research on a company you intend to buy from, along with their track records and customer reviews.
Should I Buy From A Parallel Importer?
While the answer to this question is ultimately up to you, we present some considerations before you purchase your dream car.
Overall Cost of Car
As mentioned, cars brought in by PIs do not bear the overhead costs that ADs do, and are thus much more wallet-friendly than cars from ADs. This difference in cost can amount to between $20 000 to $40 000.
Availability of Repair and Warranty Agreements
ADs have their own after-sales facilities, and usually offer a three-year warranty for their customers. Servicing is also provided in the package.
While PIs do offer free servicing, owners would usually need to pay for replacement of parts. Additionally, PIs issue their own warranties and usually do not have their own after-sales facilities, so there is a potential risk when it comes to after-sales support with PIs. Hence, it is better to have everything on paper with a reliable PI to ensure you get the best deals and ease of mind when purchasing a PI.
Waiting Time for Cars
As PIs usually have differing buying strategies, it may take longer to receive your car than purchasing from ADs that usually have cars in stock. However, since PIs can buy directly from the original manufacturer, the craftsmanship of the car is usually better, compared to regional factories such as Thailand that ADs get their cars from.
So, if you have the patience to wait out just a few more weeks before you get your hands on your car, PIs are worth your consideration.
Ease of Getting Replacement Parts
PIs offer customers a wide variety of cars from different manufacturers, but that could potentially cause some difficulties in finding replacement parts since these cars may not have been intended for the Singapore market. On the contrary, since ADs only offer few specific models, spare parts are usually readily available at their workshops.
If you do find yourself needing replacement parts for PI cars, waiting time for the parts may take a longer amount of time for PIs to get them in stock before repairing your car. Immediate access to these parts is an option, but you could find yourself paying significantly more than usual on your car insurance premiums for you to use workshops that you know have parts for your car.
If you are willing to do the proper research to save thousands of dollars, or you prefer a brand new car straight from the car maker’s original factory, parallel import cars are definitely worth a shot!
Get the lowest possible quotes and guaranteed reliability from a range of the most trusted Parallel Importers in Singapore with UCARS, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more car news and tips for drivers like you in Singapore!