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Continental vs Japanese Cars in Singapore | Which is Better?


Continental or Japanese Cars – Which is Better to Own in Singapore?

When it comes to buying a new car, the various types and models from both Continental and Japanese car brands are the two most popular choices made by Singaporeans. But it begs the question, is there any difference between cars manufactured by the Continental and Japanese brands? If so, what are they?  

Here’s a breakdown of the differences in terms of performance, price, and cost of car insurance to help you decide whether you should be purchasing a new Continental or Japanese made car.

Continental Cars

Continental cars as the term suggests are vehicles manufactured in Europe. The most popular continental cars found in Singapore are from countries such as Germany, Italy, France, and Sweden. It is common knowledge among Singaporeans that continental cars are usually more expensive because of the currency exchange rate as well as higher import taxes. Despite being perceived as more expensive, continental car brands are synonymous with being premium, offering luxurious finishings, high quality comfort, and superior engineering in the manufacture of their car models. These brands, especially for the higher end ones, are known for producing well-built engines.

Some popular continental car brands in Singapore include:

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Citroen
  • Fiat
  • MINI
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

Japanese Cars

Japanese cars as compared to Continental cars are more economical. Because they are easier to import into Singapore and generally are manufactured with lower engine capacities, it is more affordable to buy a new Japanese car as they have lower excise duties and road tax. Apart from affordability, Japanese cars are known for being efficient and reliable. New car owners would also appreciate the fact that the Japanese car they have purchased is easier to maintain. Vehicle parts and car maintenance services for Japanese made vehicles are also easier to source in Singapore.

Some popular Japanese car brands in Singapore include:

  • Honda
  • Mazda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Suzuki
  • Toyota

Continental cars vs Japanese cars

We all know that the automobile industry is a very competitive one, with each car brand offering consumers a slew of unique selling points and perks. However, each brand will have its own advantages and disadvantages. Although it’s unfair to segregate every car brand or model based on the country it was manufactured in, there are factors that merit consideration.

Plus, the best way to figure out which car brand and model is right for you, is to evaluate them by knowing what best suits your lifestyle and budget. Some of the main criteria you should consider when purchasing a new car are:

Car Engine Capacity

Relative to the size of the vehicle is its engine capacity. A larger car typically has a larger engine, as it would need more power to accelerate faster and tow heavier loads. A car owner who has a continental car with a smaller engine (e.g., Audi A3 with a 1.0L engine), will be paying lesser road tax than the owner of a Japanese car (e.g., Toyota Camry with a 2.4L engine), since road tax is calculated based on engine capacity.

Fuel Efficiency

The higher the engine’s capacity, the more fuel it will consume. Given the powerful engines of some continental cars (e.g., BMW M3), the spend on fuel may be higher. On the other hand, most Japanese cars are typically produced with fuel efficiency in mind (e.g, Mazda 3 Mild Hybrid). 

Certificate of Entitlement 

A Certificate of Entitlement or COE represents the right to own a vehicle for a period of 10 years. This is a measure taken by the Singapore government to regulate the vehicle population’s growth. 

Long-term Maintenance

It’s important to think about long-term maintenance and servicing when purchasing a new car. As mentioned earlier, as Japanese cars and its related parts are more common in Singapore, it will be easier and more affordable for car workshops to source for parts to service or fix your car, as compared to continental cars.

Car Insurance Premiums

Last but not the least, you will have to take car insurance premiums into consideration when you buy a new car. Insurance premiums will vary as it is based on the make of your car. As Japanese cars are cheaper to import and maintain, most of the available makes and models in the market would most likely receive a lower insurance premium than continental cars, save for some sport models.  You can get a quick car insurance quote online based on your car’s make and model to help you compare prices. 

Should You Buy a New Continental Car or Japanese Car?

When choosing between a Continental and Japanese car, it all boils down to your budget and your preference. If you can afford the expenses that come with owning a continental car, you are very likely getting a smoother ride with impressive bells and whistles.

Drivers of continental cars undoubtedly will enjoy the prestige and superior driving experience that comes with it. Most car owners heap praises on continental car brands for the luxurious interiors, stylishly designed exteriors, as well as powerful engine performance and great road handling. Advanced safety features is another key reason why car buyers are drawn to continental vehicles.  

The one downside about continental cars is that they generally cost more when it comes to spare parts and servicing/repairs. This translates into higher car insurance premiums in Singapore. But with regular car maintenance, continental car owners can avoid serious mechanical problems. 

On the other hand, there is a relatively high number of Singaporeans that are drawn to Japanese cars. According to the Land Transport Authority, Japanese car brands are among the highest in terms of newly registered vehicles in Singapore. Apart from the obvious savings, the resale value of Japanese cars is another factor why Japanese cars are favoured over continental ones. 

Which do you prefer, continental or Japanese cars? Tell us why in the comments section below!