You may have seen this commercial on TV recently. It’s the new Kia Cerato Forte, launched in Feb 2009, in Singapore. Yes, we bought our first car! And this is the car we bought, the Kia Cerato Forte. :D
The front view of our handsome car. Yes, we bought a red plate Off Peak Car. The colour is ‘Sweet Orange’.
Here’s a look at the interior. Audio controls on the steering wheel and also factory fitted audio system. USB slot for music too, spot the thumbdrive in the lower left of the picture.
And the Cerato Forte logo at the rear. I would very much like to remove the word Cerato. Just Kia Forte would be cool.
We started sourcing for a car since last year. The basic idea is that we want to prepare to start a family soon. It would be more convenient if we have personal transport so that we can bring Dear2 around to visit the gynae, and next time we can bring baby around for various check ups. And secondly, it would improve our lifestyle, such as staying out late and not worrying about transport home, visiting hard to reach eating places, driving to our frequent running events early in the morning, etc. Yah, it’s a luxury and a depreciating asset, so let’s try to keep the cost down as much as possible.
The first trigger came when the Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) dropped to $2 in November 2008. Of course we knew that the opportunity was already missed as the $2 COE will not occur again in the subsequent months. But it was a sign that car prices are going down. Sure enough, COE remained under the 10k mark for about 6 months following that until the quota reduction in April 2009. We had to grab this opportunity to get a cheap car. After all, poor economy leads to lesser car buyers and cheaper cars. It makes sense to buy big items when the economy is down.
We also wanted an Off Peak Car (OPC) and that placed another constrain on our search. The 17k rebate must be deducted from first the COE and then Open Market Value (OMV) of the car. So the combined value of the COE and OMV must be at least 17k for us to take full advantage of the OPC scheme. But with rock bottom COE prices, we need a car with high OMV. But high OMV means expensive cars in general. But we just wanted a small and cheap car for our small family use. Our requirements were conflicting and the search was tough.
As for why OPC? Dear1 has a direct bus from home to work, so there’s no need to drive on a daily basis. Dear2 works in CBD area so it doesn’t make sense to drive to work. So, OPC seemed to suit our usage requirements rather well.
Long story short, we initially wanted a hatchback car becos it was younger and more trendy looking. We looked at Kia Picanto, Hyundai Getz, Hyundai Avante, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Suzuki Swift and Daihatsu Sirion (and even the Chana Benni). But none of them was really able to convince us to commit…
It was around early March that we caught sight of the Kia Forte. It was a sedan, but every other feature about it was good. Stylish looking, modern, lots of safety features, enough head room for Dear1, spacious interior, 1.6L engine, and it was value for money. Its OMV was high enough (around 13k) and COE prices were hovering around 5k. The selling price of the car for the entry level EX (A) version was 44999, which was within our budget.
By late March, the price had dropped to 42999, making it an even more attractive buy. At that time, there was some change in the specifications of the EX. The newer batches had hydraulic power steering, 1 air bag and 2 disc brakes, 2 drum brakes. Whereas the older batches had electronic power steering, 2 air bags and 4 disc brakes. Both versions were selling at the same price during the transitional period. However, there was limited remaining stock for the older (better) version, and limited choice of colour (only Sweet Orange left). So there was a bit of urgency if we wanted to get more value for money from our car purchase.
After 2 sessions of discussions with our Sales Executive (SE) and a quick test drive, we decided to sign on the dotted line and place an order for the Sweet Orange Auto-transmission EX version with the better specs (4 disc brakes) at 42999. We put our lousy bargaining skills to the test and only managed to get reverse sensors, remote and alarm, Rikecool solar films and full leather seats for an extra 1000 dollar top up.
So the final cost of our car was 42999 (original cost) + 1000 (top up) – 17000 (OPC rebate) = 26999. We paid up 3999 and loan 23000 (2.85% pa) from Maybank for 84 months which works out to be 329 per month. Still a manageable monthly amount.
Credits: Retrieved from www.sgcarmart.com on 24 July 2009.
On retrospect, it turned out that 42999 was the lowest ever selling price for EX (A) since launch, other than the even more ridiculously priced pre-launch special in Jan 09. The latest price for our model as of 24 Jul 09 is 49999. So we’ve really got quite a good deal for our big ticket purchase.
The entire process was rather smooth for us. We got our COE at our first bid and the car was already sitting in the Singapore warehouse ready for delivery. We ordered in late March, collected our car in late April (only 1 month waiting time) and have been driving around for the last 3 months. :D
Our favourite TV show for the past weeks was Driving Miss Foodie becos we can now drive to all the many inaccessible food places around Singapore. We also visited many parks around the island for mini picnics. Meanwhile, Dear2 had passed her driving test (2nd attempt) and is now pregnant, so things seem to be falling in place nicely for us.