The Lebanese car market is far from seeing new car registrations more than doubling in one year. Back in 2008, the number of registered new passenger and commercial cars rose by 15,845 to reach 34,543. Modest 0.61% and 3.91% increases followed in 2009 and 2010 only to be followed by a 4.40% drop in 2011, a year where most sectors of the Lebanese economy suffered a downturn. From that point on, car registrations were recording modest increases which the Association of Car Importers in Lebanon (AIA) qualifies as “not proportional to the marketing and promotional offers of car importers”. 2016 marked the culmination of a prolonged period of economic gloom in the country combined with the effects of tighter car loan regulations imposed by the Central Bank of Lebanon; in 2016 the number of registered passenger and commercial vehicles fell by 2,780, the most in 8 years.
Given the context detailed above, it is understandable for the AIA to qualify the 2.54% uptick in car registration in 2017 as a “very slight increase”. The total number of new registered passenger and commercial vehicles reached 39,863; in detail, the number of registered passenger cars increased by a yearly 2.47% to 37,222 while the number of new registered commercial cars rose by 3.65% to 2,641. In that light, 2017’s uptick is most adequately regarded as an upward correction; the total number of new car registrations dropped by an annual 2,780 in 2016 but the increase was only of 989 in 2017.
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The Lebanese Car Market in 2017 – Low-Cost Trend Still Dominant