SINGAPORE: Interest in hybrid cars appears to be picking up pace in Singapore.
Three new models were launched on Thursday (Jan 14) at the Singapore Motorshow at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
"Hybrid car sales are slowly getting acceptance as more manufacturers launch newer types of hybrid cars and Singapore has the carbon emissions vehicle scheme. That would also encourage people to shift towards a more environmentally-friendly car, like hybrid vehicles," said Mr Glenn Tan, president of the Motor Traders Association.
Singapore pledged its commitment to lower carbon emissions at the Paris talks late last year and consumers appear to be joining in when it comes to buying cars.
Toyota unveiled its latest Prius hybrid car at the Singapore Motorshow.
Launch of the 4th Gen Toyota Prius. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)
CEO of Inchcape Motors (Toyota distributor), Mr Koh Ching Hong, said demand for its hybrid cars in Singapore shot up by 60 per cent last year, compared to 2014.
Said Mr Koh: "Consumers are more accepting and they love hybrids not just because of the fuel efficiency or environmental friendliness, but because of the power, comfort and safety as well."
Mitsubishi said its consumers have also shown more interest in environmentally-friendly cars in the last few years.
"Given Singapore is a first world country and we have a highly educated base of consumer, we feel electric will be the future. Electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid will be the future," said Mr Sebastian Sim, manager of sales at Mitsubishi Motors.
The company also unveiled a new hybrid vehicle, Outlander, at the event along with Honda's Legend Sport.
A welcome applause for the 5th Generation Honda Legend Sport Hybrid. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)
Despite the growing interest, the Motor Traders Association said price may still deter consumers from purchasing hybrid cars.
Said Mr Tan: "(The problem is that) hybrid cars are currently more costly than regular cars. So I think that will be a factor, even though there are some tax incentives. The trade-off really depends. And also, I think right now with fuel prices being very low, it could slow down the take-up of hybrid vehicles at this point."
Singaporeans may also need time to understand the product better.
Mr Charles Ngai, a senior training instructor at Kah Motors, which is the distributor and dealer for Honda, said: "In terms of hybrid technology, the users have to understand how this system runs so they can make use of the system. On the other hand, the technicians or the people who produce the car need to have the skills and knowledge to maintain it so that they can strike a balance."
A bigger, flashier @Singapore Motorshow opened to the public, with hybrid cars in the spotlight. http://bit.ly/1Wb5Ieb (Video: S Shiva)Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Thursday, 14 January 2016
More than 52,000 people are expected at the Singapore Motorshow, with more than 20 new cars being launched and a total of 180 commercial and passenger vehicles on display.
Stunt driver Russ Swift will return this year and tickets to catch his performance will be available at the Motorshow an hour before each set.
Stunt driver Russ Swift performs the Ski, where a car is driven while only being balanced on two wheels. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)
The Motorshow is presented by the Motor Traders Association in partnership with Mediacorp and will run until Sunday (Jan 17).