Earlier this month, Singapore online television channel RazorTV conducted interviews with Vin Diesel and other stars of The Fast and the Furious 6, quizzing them about the cost of cars in the Southeast Asian island city-state. Upon learning that forking out $154,000 for a Prius is the norm there, an incredulous Diesel exclaimed, "Is the moral of the story, don't buy cars in Singapore?"
For most Singaporeans, it's not a story but a reality—and one that tends to mean they simply can't afford a car. Singapore's government makes owning a vehicle extremely expensive through high taxes (a car is taxed at least 100 percent of its open market value, for instance) as well as requiring something called a certificate of entitlement. The price of obtaining a COE has risen considerably over the past few years; a recent article in the local auto-buying trade website SGCarMart.com cites a COE for a Mitsubishi at $62,600, and $74,075 for a BMW. Cheryl Tay, a Singapore-based motoring and motorsports journalist, says that while in 2008 a Toyota Corolla purchased in Singapore would run you about $48,000, today the price for the same car is closer to $96,000.