Premium presence in Cat A
Christopher Tan | The Straits Times | Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014A number of European brands are staying put in COE Category A when a new power cap for the category kicks in next month.
Volvo, Citroen, Volkswagen and Audi have brought or are bringing in a slew of diesel and low-powered models that falls below the 130bhp limit for Cat A cars.
The limit - on top of an existing 1,600cc ceiling on engine capacity - was introduced to create a more level playing field in Cat A.
The category has long been the preserve of mass market models, until brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW started having 1.6-litre models about four years ago.
In response to complaints that premium cars were squeezing out bread-and- butter cars - because their sellers had fatter margins and buyers had deeper pockets - the Government introduced the power cap.
Many of these premium cars have turbocharged petrol engines that produce more than 130bhp. From next month, they will migrate over to Cat B, where bigger cars reside.
But Volvo Cars has brought in a wide range of diesel variants that meet the new power cap. These include the large S80 sedan, the V40 premium hatchback, V60 wagon and S60 compact performance sedan.
Like all diesel cars, they have relatively low horsepower but high torque levels.
Citroen has done likewise. Diesel versions of its C4, C5, DS4 and DS5 are already here. Its C4 Picasso, a compact MPV, and seven-seater Grand C4 Picasso will have diesel variants here soon.
The cars not only meet the new power limit, but they also qualify for carbon rebates of as much as $15,000.
Citroen also claims that its cars can run on Malaysian diesel, which has a higher sulphur content than diesel sold here.
Over at Audi, a number of new models planned before the COE re-categorisation exercise arrive this year.
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