Automobile Megamart Limited

With the completion of the Automobile Megamart Building, a 100 million dollars project in 2000, it is not only Asia's No 1 centre but also the biggest one stop centre for car market in the region. With the opening of the Automobile Megamart, the car trading industry had reached a new milestone. Mr Ng Chee Chuan, Chairman of Automobile Megamart Limited, highlighted the government emphasis on the importance of the relentless forces of globalization and wide range of economic knowledge, and the need to adapt and renew ourselves in this new environment in order to create and run enterprise on a commercial basis. The operation of the Automobile Megamart had symbolized growth and creativity and at the same time, it had been proven that we have achieved our goal as promised. The peculiarities of the Automobile Megamart were diverse and far different from other vehicle trading centres.


The Automobile Megamart was officially declared open by the then Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology and National Development, Dr John Chen on 19 February 2000. The floor area of the Automobile Megamart is 40,720 square metres, with the first level as the showroom for new cars, the 2nd to 5th floor are operated by used cars dealers as their selling sites, the 6th to 8th level are office spaces for the other related trades. The building can accommodate 2000 cars to be parked at any one time throughout the day. Besides, the spare parts, leasing, insurance and vehicle maintenance business are also centralized here. The customers can easily view our website and trading can be done through the net as well. With the network linked up with LTA, all trading and documentation can be operated through the network. The food mall is also available at the Automobile Megamart to cater to customers.


Vehicle Registration & Licensing (VRL) System

During the development of the new VRL system in 2002, SVTA played a pro-active role by being involved in meetings and dialogues with the various Motoring and Finance Associations to discuss cross-agencies operational issues, including gathering feedback from our members leading to the successful launch of the VRL System in 2004.


Export Processing Zone (EPZ)

EPZ was first mooted in October 2001 at a meeting with LTA and the Association in the course of finding a solution for the immediate usage of PARF and COE rebates for vehicles pending export. This scheme was subsequently approved by LTA and implemented in April 2003.


The advantages of the scheme are:


  • The value of PARF and COE rebates is available for utilization once the vehicle is de-registered and stored in the designated site.
  • It enhances cash flow for car dealers as they do not have to wait for the rebates and at the same time they have up to one year to look for buyers. This would lower their operating and business opportunity costs (especially for those who are using floor stocking and bank loans to finance their businesses).
  • With the immediate tax rebates, the holding cost of the vehicle pending for export is very much minimized. Therefore, it provides a cutting edge when it comes to price negotiation on cars for the export market.

CaseTrust-SVTA Accreditation Scheme

SVTA is now at its final stage of finalizing the CaseTrust-SVTA Accreditation Scheme for the mutual benefit of both consumers and dealers. We have been making rapid progress with the help of valuable advice and guidance from LTA and CASE to finalize this scheme for the purpose of providing a platform to exercise some form of control for the motor industry to ensure that standard and fair trading practices are maintained for the protection of both sellers and buyers. This will certainly go a long way in enhancing the image and reputation of the motor industry in Singapore as a whole.


The CaseTrust-SVTA Accreditation Scheme calls for a third party panel to help settle disputes. It is to be made up of representatives from financial institutions, insurers and retired members of the judiciary, among others.


The objective of this scheme is for motor traders who agree to put in place acceptable standards of practice to pre-empt disputes with consumers in a move to help establish "a white list of motor traders who are committed to fair trade".


The purpose of this scheme is to also ensure that members comply with a standard operation procedure, using a universal form for the Sales and Purchase Agreement to adhere to the Fair Trading Act. Consumers will thus have more confidence to make their purchases from those dealers who joined this scheme as they will be able to seek recourse without incurring high legal costs should any disputes arise during their purchase or sale of vehicles.


Laid-Up Vehicle

This Laid-up vehicle project is proposed for the benefit of all vehicle owners who do not need to use their vehicle for a certain length of time due to reasons such as, overseas posting by their employer, but may at the same time face huge losses if they sell their vehicle during a down market.


Currently, we are proposing to LTA that, besides savings on the road tax after laid-up, all laid-up vehicles should also be eligible for PARF benefits. We are in the midst of working out a 'win-win' situation for the benefit of both vehicle owner and LTA.


Award

Singapore Vehicle Traders Association (SVTA) has over the years initiated various schemes and policies by working closely with the relevant authorities to improve the image of our members and we are very proud to have earned the recognition of the Land Transport Authority by being awarded the "Merit Winner" of the Best Service Partner award category of the Land Transport Excellence Awards in 2008.


Future Prospect

The Association will be organising more business opportunities and advancements for our members. With the establishment of the networking and sharing of useful business information, the Association will be able to continue in contributing significantly to the success of the nation's economic growth.

The President for the 18th & 19th Term Executive Committee is Mr Neo Nam Heng, Chairman of Cheng Yong Credit Enterprises Pte Ltd, pioneer parallel importer of motor vehicle in Singapore. Mr Neo is also the President of the Automobile Importer and Exporter Association. In his personal capacity, he was also conferred the "Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2007".


His vision for the Association is to help create a more liberalized environment in Singapore's motor industry that is conducive for fellow trade members and to help set the stage for Singapore to become a regional motor hub. He is also mindful in pursuing causes for the benefit of consumers as well.


With his relentless effort during his term to current, he has led the Executive Committee members to conduct numerous meetings with the relevant government authorities to voice the various issues and address concerns of the fellow trader members including consumers. Under his leadership, the notable achievements by the Association includes:-


  • Obtain approval to install side windows at the rear compartment of commercial vans,

  • Entitlement of 40% rebate for local fitted CNG vehicles,

  • Lifting of the three-decade long rule preventing used cars from being converted to private hire,

  • Extension of Temporary Ownership period from 6 months to 9 months,

  • Obtain the approval for PARF benefits to be extended to imported pre-owned vehicles,

  • The Association being awarded the "Merit Winner" of the Best Service Partner award category of the Land Transport Excellence Awards in 2008, having earned the recognition by working closely with the Land Transport Authority on various initiatives,

  • Encashment of PARF/COE rebates for registered owner of unused and valid PARF/COE.

Currently, Mr Neo is spearheading the setting up of the CaseTrust-SVTA Accreditation Scheme which is now into its final stage. This scheme will provide a platform to exercise some form of control for the motor industry to ensure that standard and fair trading practices are maintained for the protection of both sellers and buyers, which will go a long way in enhancing the image and reputation of the motor industry.


Other projects in place simultaneously includes (i) working on the removal of the $10,000 surcharge for imported used cars, (ii) allowing a temporary Laid-up Scheme for private owned vehicles with PARF benefit, (iii) to waive the 2% Additional Transfer Fee, (iv) to gradually reduce ARF to 20% and remove PARF for cars only, (v) reduction of 20% road tax for used vehicles converted to CNG under the green policy, (vi) Export of Singapore registered vehicle to Malaysia, (vii) GST to be levied on actual profit and not on gross profit on used vehicle and (viii) to allow conversion of passenger vehicle within the age of 3 years to CNG taxis so as to replace environmentally unfriendly diesel vehicles.

The President for 17th Term Executive Committee was Mr. Ho Chew Hoon, Managing Director of City Trading Pte Ltd.

In the year of 2003, the affiliation and acquaintanceship with Penang & Province Wellesley Used Cars Autocycle Dealers & Motor Financiers Association have been broadly and widely publicized in their local press which raised the profile and status of the Association. It has in a way further strengthened the links of interaction, future development tendency and mutual understanding between the two organizations.


At the invitation of ShenZhen Grand Auto Park Co. Ltd to participate in the motor section of their billion dollars (RMB) project, a group of 26 delegates visited and studied the motor industries development in ShenZhen, China in 2004. This has also raised the Association profile in the overseas market.


Our Honorary Adviser, Mr. Chan Soo Sen, the then Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Community Development & Sports, had represented SVTA to negotiate with the Ministry of Transport and was successful in reducing the processing time of the documentation procedure of the parallel import vehicle trading which help to improve the business prospect and create more opportunity for used car traders. In 2004, with the major restructuring by the Executive Committee, the Mackenzie Used Car Centre became profitable after enduring years of losses.

The President of the 14th Term Executive Committee, Mr Pang Kok Leong had noted that the car business had reached a matured stage in the region and he initiated and led a delegation to Japan for an 8 days commercial study trip. Japan is a fully developed and 'king of the car industry' country in the world. The delegation had learned and gained much experience from the trip which also promoted closer contacts, co-operation and networking with Japan.


As science and technology advances rapidly, the Association also set up a website http://www.ssmvda.com.sg. On 16 September 1998, representatives of ST Computer System and the Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding for developing a used car auction market system through the existing computer network.

In 1995, Mr Tan Ah Pek BBM, a sole-proprietor of Tan Motor Car Enterprises who was also an active community leader, took over as President of the 13th Term Executive Committee. Under his baton, the Association rented a site from PSA which can accommodate 34 business units near West Coast Highway and was subsequently developed into the West Coast Used Car Centre. The Centre was officially declared open by the Association's Honorary Adviser, the then Minister without Portfolio and Secretary General of NTUC, Mr. Lim Boon Heng.


In the same year, the car trading business grew in leaps and bounds with great demand for more car park lots. As dealers do not have a permanent place, they therefore need to move about from place to place frequently, thus causing great inconveniences. With this consideration, the Association thus focused on building a one-stop station to solve the problems faced by the members.


The proposal to build a one-stop station received strong support from Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister without Portfolio. 71 members from the Association established the Automobile Megamart Limited and subsequently submitted a proposal to the URA requesting for a piece of land to be constructed into the Automobile Megamart. Through the open bidding system, the Association was finally awarded a site at Eunos to construct an 8 storey building to accommodate a centralised car trading and related business. The construction work was completed in 2000.

Mr Kok Yoke Chuan PBM, the Managing Director of Kok Yoke Chuan Pte Ltd, took over as President for the 12th Term. Under his leadership, Mr Kok had greatly enhanced the Association's development. He had made tremendous contributions during his service as the Secretary (Chinese) during the early days of the Association. He helped to establish the Kampong Java Used Car Centre in 1978 and the Upper Aljunied Road Motor Vehicle Trading Centre in 1986. He had also helped in setting up the Association's office in 1984. During this period, some of the facilities in Upper Aljunied Road Motor Vehicle Trading Centre did not comply with the government safety standard and the centre ran into the risk of being closed down. This matter was finally settled with the help from the grassroot leader, Mr Koh Poh Kwang.


In 1994, when Mr Kok Yoke Chuan PBM took over the office, the Association was successfully awarded a piece of land at Jalan Ang Teng through quotation bidding and subsequently Defu Used Car Centre was set up. In the same year, our nation's economic growth advanced rapidly, the National Productivity Board thus invited our members to participate in the discussion on how the used car dealers can help in the development of our national economic growth. Due to the increase in new membership, it was expected that more used car centres need to be established in order to fulfill the needs of the members. At this juncture, the Association was awarded 2 sites at Ubi Road which were eventually developed into a Vehicle Trading Centre; one site consisting of 11 offices and 280 car park lots and the other site consisting of 30 offices and 400 car parks lots with showroom facilities.

Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM had served as President for a total of 9 terms in a row, stepping down in 1990. Mr Simon Tan See Tee, the Managing Director of Poly Credit Pte Ltd, took over as President for the 11th term and was also considered a good leader for his intrinsic role. In his term of office, he had set up Thomson Used Car Centre through the rental scheme. The response of the members had been overwhelming and a total of 22 units were rented out.


The Centre was officially declared open by the then Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Lim Boon Heng. Mr Tan had also led a delegation to Vietnam and established networking and sharing of useful business information for the members.

In 1975, Mr Ong Kim Teck stepped down and Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM, the Managing Director of Tiong Choon Co. Pte Ltd, took over as President. For the past 15 years, Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM had contributed much to the Association and was considered the longest serving President in the history of the Association.


Upon its founding, the Association established its first used car showroom cum trading centre at Kampong Java Used Car Centre. This had been made possible with the assistance of Mr Kok Yoke Chuan PBM, the then Secretary (Chinese) and the Executive Committee. The Centre was officially declared open by Mr Chor Yeok Eng, the then Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Environment and MP for Bukit Timah on 10 November 1978. Prior to this, there had never been a suitable permanent place to house the vehicle traders under one roof as they were scattered all over the island and were operating under a poor management system. During that time, the used car trading was transacted through brokers and buyers hardly deal directly with the vehicle traders. The establishment of the Kampong Java Used Car Centre not only gathered the vehicle traders together, it also helped to raise the image of the vehicle traders and increase the confidence level of the customers. The most significant event worth mentioning during the opening of the centre was that the tenants donated a sum of $47,410 towards the Association Building Fund, which was deposited as fixed deposit in the bank for the purpose of purchasing the Association premises in future. One of the founder members, Mr and Mrs Yeo Kok Poh, also contributed a sum of $8,500 from the wedding dinner of their eldest son towards the Association Building Fund, which was greatly appreciated by the Association.


During the tenure of Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM, due to the rapid increase in membership, the committee initiated fundraising to purchase the premises in order to fulfill the needs and for organizing of activities for the members. Mr Kok Yoke Chuan PBM, the then Secretary (Chinese), had recommended a unit in a 4 storey building at Lorong 7, Geylang Road to the Association with a floor area of 2,350 sq. feet at $195.00 per sq. foot, at the total cost of $465,000 for the unit. Mr Kok donated $5,000 and the 2% of his agent's commission to the Association Building Fund. Although the Association managed to get about $300,000 through the donation drive, there was still a shortfall of about $200,000. Mr Kok had then suggested to borrow from each member $2,000 in order to meet the required amount. On 27 September 1984, the President, Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM conducted the 1st meeting of the 7th Term Executive Committee at the new office. During the meeting, Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM took the opportunity to thank all committee members for their effort and support in getting our own premises. The new office was declared open by Mr E.W. Barker, the then President of the Singapore National Olympic Council on 13 November 1988.


The Association also showed great enthusiasm in sponsoring charity and sports events to help the needy. It donated a new ambulance vehicle to the Senior Citizens' Club and Children Day Care Centre in Ayer Rajah Constituency. Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM handed the key for the ambulance over to the MP for Ayer Rajah Constituency, Mr Tan Cheng Bock in 1986.


In 1986, the Kampong Java Used Car Centre was affected by the government resettlement project and was asked to relocate temporarily elsewhere. With the help of URA and SLA, the centre finally moved to an old depot in Mackenzie Road.


On 1 June 1986, Mr Kok Yoke Chuan PBM, the then Secretary (Chinese) made arrangement to rent a business site at Upper Aljunied Road from Tan Chong & Sons Motor Co. (S) Pte Ltd. The site which could accommodate 36 business units was bigger and more spacious than the previous two trading centres.


During the tenure of Mr Ong Kim Tee PBM, the Association had assisted its members in expanding their overseas markets and seeking investment opportunities regionally. On 29 April 1989, the Association organized a delegation to visit Philippines. Mr Ong also organized a forum meeting to propagate and address the problems faced by the car dealers. He also had dialogues with the authority concerned to discuss the problems and issues faced by the members. Mr Ong was indeed a respected and good leader.

In the early 70's, majority of the vehicle traders such as new and used cars dealers, repair workshops, etc. were situated mostly in the Middle Road area, as the Registry of Vehicle was then located there. During that time, the vehicle traders were scattered and there was lack of communication and co-operation between them.


In order to strengthen the links of cohesion, development potential and common mutual benefits for the vehicle traders, a forum meeting was called by Mr Ong Kim Teck, Chairman of Tiong Choon Co. Pte Ltd on 14 March 1972 at 8.00 pm at his office at 429-D, Bukit Timah Road, 3 3/4 ms, to discuss on the establishment of the Singapore Secondhand Motor Vehicle Dealers' Association. Mr Ong Kim Teck was unanimously elected as Chairman and 14 founding members were also elected to serve in the Preparatory Committee. The Rules and Regulations of the Association were drafted and the committee applied to the Registrar of Society for the registration of our Association. On 30 November 1972, the application was officially approved by the Registrar of Society and gazetted on 8 December 1972.


Immediately, the newly formed Association started a membership recruitment drive. Mr Ong Kim Teck was elected as the 1st President of the Singapore Secondhand Motor Vehicle Dealers' Association. Since its inception, Mr Ong has been sparing no effort to work for the well-being of its members. The achievements today is much attributed to the strong foundation and untiring effort and co-operation under his leadership.