Deciding on your first car is a difficult choice to make, and don’t we all want to get the most amount of savings while sticking to our budget? Apart from scrimping on your daily expenses, you have likely been extensively researching on the best prices, best deals, and available car models in Singapore. In the midst of your research, you may have come across the terms “Authorised Dealers” (ADs) and “Parallel Importers” (PIs) – which may raise several questions:
“What are authorised dealers?”
“What are parallel importers?”
And, most importantly,
“What is the difference between an Authorised Dealer and a Parallel Importer?”
Not to worry! UCARS is here to answer these questions, and help you with making the best decision on purchasing your dream car.
What are ADs and PIs?
ADs are dealers that have exclusive rights to sell a particular car brand in Singapore. You will usually spot them in Commonwealth or Ubi. ADs have towering showrooms and scintillating interiors that look like Apple Stores for cars – definitely hard to miss. 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. These are dealers that you visit when you head to The Grandstand (formerly known as Turf City), WCEGA Plaza, or Carros Centre. 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.
(Related Story: The Ultimate Guide to Parallel Importers in Singapore)
What are the differences?
In order to decide whether you want to purchase from an AD or PI, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each dealer. We have come up with some considerations that would be useful in determining what suits your wants and needs best!
As PIs have the freedom to purchase from various manufacturers, you can purchase cars unavailable in Singapore! Furthermore, if you have a specific model that you want, many PIs offer importing services that bring them in. However, be warned that since some vehicles are for the Singaporean market, you may face some compatibility issues with the language or power outlets.
On the other hand, ADs have a selection of the latest models that car manufacturers offer. Oftentimes, ADs have exclusive access to certain models in the region, and you cannot get them from anywhere else. Plus, since the car is specifically for the local market, you can expect the systems and services to be compatible with the local language and maps.
Price Of Car
Since PIs import vehicles directly from the country of manufacture, they reduce the need for third-party costs. Moreover, they need not spend on maintaining exquisite showrooms, thereby reducing their overhead costs significantly. As such, PIs can offer the same cars as ADs at a much lower price, varying from a price difference of $10,000 or up to $40,000!
ADs generally spend more on rental, upkeep and maintenance. But that is not to say that splurging a little more on buying from an AD does not have its perks. Although the costs are a little higher, you can be assured that you get your money’s worth. AD cars come with the full package – from the highly detailed brochures to a wide range of customization and options lists!
Availability of Repair and Warranty Agreements
ADs have their own after-sales facilities, and usually offer a three or five year warranty to their customers. The after-sales team is highly specialised in handling specific car makes and models, so getting a comprehensive diagnosis and repair is definitely guaranteed. Moreover, many ADs include servicing in the package that provides free servicing for your first 20,000km, or the first couple of years in your vehicle’s lifespan.
While some PIs offer free servicing, owners would usually need to pay for replacement parts. Additionally, PIs issue their own warranties and usually do not have their own after-sales facilities. Hence, there is a potential risk when it comes to after-sales support with PIs. It is better to have everything on paper with a reliable PI to ensure you get ease of mind.
Availability of Cars
As PIs usually have differing buying strategies, it may take longer to receive your car. Plus, since cars they bring into Singapore are upon order, it is rare to have the car you want ready-to-go.
If you need a car that is readily available, getting one from an AD is highly recommended. ADs have their cars in stock and ready to be sold immediately. Plus, you get to view, test drive, and inspect the car you want right in their showroom!
Ease of Getting Replacement Parts
While PIs offer a wide selection of car makes and models, you may encounter difficulties finding replacement parts in Singapore. If you find yourself needing replacement parts for PI cars, the waiting time may take up to weeks. Immediate access to these parts is an option, but you could be paying significantly more on your car insurance premiums to use workshops that have parts for your car.
On the contrary, spare parts are usually readily available at an AD’s workshop, so you can skip the waiting! Additionally, ADs have a team of engineers that are specially equipped to handle car models you purchase from them. Instead of getting a generic fix-up, you can expect every nook and cranny to be well taken care of.
Reliability of Service
ADs invest extensively in maintaining their showroom facilities and training their employees. As such, they provide unrivaled quality services in terms of sales and after-sales support. Whether it is an extremely responsive hotline or answering your queries with utmost detail, ADs are committed to creating a personalised experience. So not only do you purchase a car, you also purchase an experience extending the entirety of your car journey.
On the contrary, PIs hire employees of varying background knowledge of cars, and do not provide in-depth staff training. Hence, their service quality may be inconsistent compared to ADs, depending on the PI. At times, there may even be a lack of after-sales support. Luckily, the internet is filled with reviews posted by netizens that are extremely informative and useful. Therefore, we suggest you look into online reviews of the PIs that you are considering buying from. Rest assured that there are numerous trusted PIs that provide excellent service and support for their customers, rivaling that of ADs.
With all this in mind, we believe that you are ready to find a suitable car dealer in Singapore! Get the lowest possible quotes and guaranteed reliability from a range of the most trusted Parallel Importers and Authorised Dealers in Singapore with UCARS, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more car news and tips for drivers like you in Singapore!