*Produced by SilverKris for Motorway*
Established in 1992, Motorway has gone on to become a leading name in pre-owned luxury vehicles in Singapore. In addition to offering rare Ferrari, Bentley, McLaren and other big-name cars, Motorway is also the official distributor of Korean car-maker SsangYong and Swedish supercar specialist Koenigsegg.
The company’s founder, Michael Lim, has seen the market’s ups and downs over the past three decades, and to him, what’s true for the rest of the car market isn’t necessarily true for second-hand vehicles. And that includes the pandemic. While other sectors are suffering, Michael marvels how this niche sector is thriving.
In this interview, we speak to him about his work, why pre-owned luxury cars are such big business in Singapore, and the factors you should consider in order to get the best value for your money.
First of all, why buy a pre-owned luxury car instead of a new one?
It could depend on your budget, as with other types of lower-end cars. But in this niche, it has more to do with the specific car that you want. There are certain luxury vehicles of which only 25 pieces are produced annually, and chances are you’ll have to go to a second-hand dealer in order to obtain one.
How can customers make sure they’re choosing the right dealer?
Maturity in the market goes a long way. Motorway has been around since the early ’90s, for example, and people know us as trustworthy dealers for pre-owned Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and other luxury lines. Of course, everyone wants to buy cheaply. But the lowest price doesn’t always spell the best deal. In the case of Motorway, I have a few returning clients who tease me, “Michael, your prices are higher than the other guy!” And I always reply, “But you keep coming back to me!” That’s because we never give customers any problems. If there’s an issue, we fix it. And if it can’t be fixed, we buy back the car. We have an in-house car workshop, and in-house financing as well. Buyers should seek that kind of trustworthiness and maturity in the market when looking for a dealership.
What’s your biggest advice to prospective buyers?
No matter what, do your own independent inspection. A good dealership will be honest and upfront about the car’s history, but unscrupulous ones may gloss over the details. The only way to be certain is to go through an independent centre such as STA or VFIT. It’s a few hundred dollars extra, but you will get a detailed evaluation on the condition and function of every aspect of the car.
What questions should buyers ask when purchasing a pre-owned car?
To be honest, this market is more transparent than ever before. With a little bit of research and some common sense, it’s actually relatively straightforward to get the information you need. The big question buyers of pre-owned cars would have is around depreciation over time. Information around this is easy to obtain through online platforms such as SG Car Mart. The other thing big question is around price. There may be times when a particular model is just as expensive secondhand as it was new – that’s because of supply and demand. Some models require special orders and are difficult to find, so don’t be surprised if there’s a price to that.
Are certain brands more popular than others in the pre-owned luxury market?
Tastes are changing these days. In addition to Maserati, Ferrari, Audi and other sports cars, we are distributors of SsangYong from Korea and Koenigsegg supercars from Sweden. Young people are changing the game, though. We had a millennial recently purchase a 14-year-old Ferrari. A vintage car is often many times more than the original price.
Motorway also provides car leasing. Why lease instead of buying?
It depends on whether you have the cash up front. If not, leasing is the way to go, even though in the long run, it works out to be more expensive. When you lease, the cost of depreciation is shouldered by you. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about insurance and taxes, just rental and gasoline.
For more information about Motorway and its collection, please visit the official website.