Kia cars are seen parked in the port of Beirut, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Up until October 2014, most Lebanese banks were competing to offer hassle-free conditions for car-loan customers, with some even dropping down payments altogether in a bid to increase their client base.On Aug. 21, 2014, the Central Bank issued a mandatory circular ordering all banks and financial institutions to demand a minimum down payment of 25 percent for any car or housing loan and stipulated that the monthly installment should not exceed 45 percent of family income.Rita Sobhi, head of the marketing department at Kia Motors, said the new circular impacted the sale of small cars at Kia which mostly attract low-income customers.Sobhi said used car dealers will benefit from this new circular, which has compromised the ability of low income customers to buy new cars."Mazda was not impacted by this decision and our statistics show that in 2013 we registered 586 cars and in 2014 we registered 734 cars, which represents an increase of 25.2 percent," Boukather said.He explained that Mazda cars are more expensive than entry-levels vehicles and attract people with high income who are capable of paying a high down payment. Ayoub added that her company's database showed that more than 70 percent of Rymco's clients pay over 30 percent down payment.
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