February in Cars: What Happened?
Hey readers, we hope you’ve had a splendid Lunar New Year!
It’s been an eventful February for us at ST Auto. A lot’s happened this month both here in Singapore and the world. Here’s a roundup of news, stock updates, what we wrote this month for you, and some fun little links at the end.
Tesla Model 3 © Automotive Rhythms
Car News from the Little Red Dot
Tanjong Pagar: Singapore’s worst car crash in a decade
It was the stuff of nightmares: a young woman desperately trying to save her fiance from a burning car. In video clips, the white BMW can be seen speeding at several times the 50km/hour limit on a stretch of road, eventually losing control and crashing into a shophouse before exploding into a ball of flame.
The incident has sparked a nationwide debate on car safety and car modifications, with many netizens calling for harsher penalties and workshops involved in illegally modifying vehicles. Also, the Straits Times discussed the issue of insurance claims that might come up during accidents like this.
Regardless, our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragedy. For the love of everything: please drive carefully!
COE prices fall across all categories
Good news for aspiring car buyers: thanks to prices for certificates of entitlement dropping 10% on average across the board, owning a car just became a little more affordable. Obviously, this isn’t saying very much considering COE premiums are still objectively high. Singapore is still the most expensive country in the world to own a car. But maybe they’ll go down a little more in the next few months!
(Of course, owning a second hand car will be that much easier on the wallet than buying a new one.)
EV sales in Singapore have picked up...
...and 60 new fully-electric cars were registered with the LTA in January. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a real jump from the 2020 monthly average of 8.3 cars. Part of the jump has to do with the EV Early Adoption Incentive and changes to the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES), and it’s part of a broader trend towards adopting greener cars.
Still, as the commentary here suggests, it’ll be awhile yet before EVs go fully mainstream in Singapore. Until EVs become more affordable and charging point infrastructure improves, the tax breaks won’t make the finances or logistics of owning one feasible, especially for families. To illustrate the point, a Tesla Model 3 will cost $113,000 before the COE. Ouch.
2021 Lucid Air, by Lucid Motors
Elsewhere in Car News: EVs, EVs, EVs
The Apple of my Kia
February was the month of speculation and rumour surrounding the mysterious self-driving electric iCar. Who’s going to make it––is it Hyundai? Kia? Nissan? Who will partner with Apple? Will Apple even be making a car? Does this spell bad news for Elon Musk? (Spoiler: yes.)
Hyundai stock soared more than 25% on the rumours that the Hyundai Motor Group (of which Kia is a part) this month, and then went straight into volatility mode as they denied having such talks.
Despite all the hype, consumers have a wait on their hands. We’re not going to see an Apple Car until at least half a decade in the future. If you’re investing in Hyundai or Apple on the news, you might not see the return you want for some years to come.
CCIV Stock: Stay Lucid, Folks
If you’re an EV-head playing the stock market, you’ve probably been keeping track of Lucid Motors, a super-hot high-end luxury EV startup many think of as the “next Tesla.” In early January, Bloomberg broke the news that special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Churchill Capital IV (NYSE:CCIV) was in talks to merge with Lucid.
Lucid’s cars looked fantastic, and so did company credentials: Lucid was founded by a former Tesla executive, Bernard Tse, and most of senior management are ex-Tesla. CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson was ex-Chief Engineer on the Tesla Model S, and on the Lucid Air, which, we gotta admit, looks very sleek and sexy.
Rumours continued to swirl throughout January and February, and stock climbed from the USD20s per share on feverish hype, peaking at triple that around the USD60s. Yet on the announcement of the merger––which, you know, should have been good news?––shares took a nose-dive, and are currently trading around the sub-USD30 mark.
The plunge reflects an overall pullback in the EV sector, as other huge stocks like Tesla (TSLA) and Nio (NIO) have dropped from their year-to-date highs. At this point, Lucid doesn’t have any real financials to examine, and their stock has been fueled largely by rumour––it’s like Tesla when it first started. While Lucid EVs are probably going to be fantastic, from an investment perspective, you might want to wait for things to cool off, and treat the shares as a buy-and-hold for the next five years.
Elon Musk was the richest billionaire in the world… and then he wasn’t
Anyone in the crypto markets has had a wild time this month. Bitcoin spiked 20% after Telsa CEO Elon Musk picked up $1.5 billion worth of the coin, pushing its price beyond USD40,000 and then above USD50,000, peaking at USD58,012 on 21 February. (Jesus.) That briefly made him the richest person in the world, outstripping Jeff Bezos… until a single tweet sent both Bitcoin and Tesla’s share price dipping.
Musk’s response has been, well, characteristically Musk, and losing USD15 billion a day is basically chump change in his life. The stock dropped––as much as 13% at one point this week––as Tesla scaled back output and closed a plant, but Cathie Wood of Ark remains bullish on Tesla long-term. Whether you should be too is your own decision, but we will say present entry points are a lot more attractive than they’ve been in quite a while.
A few things we wrote this month
Driving: Is it actually important in Singapore, where public transportation is good? Should you bother learning how to do it? You might have to decide for yourself.
Second hand: Used cars are cheaper. But do you know what you’re getting yourself into? Here’s what to look out for when shopping second hand.
Stocks: The markets took a dive towards the end of February. You know what that means, though––stocks are on sale. These are just a few shopping ideas...
Fine: Funny how they call it a parking fine when it’s actually completely not fine. Anyway, if you’ve been slapped with one, here’s how to appeal the fine.
What else we’re doing