Singapore, said to be the world's most expensive place to buy a car, has scrapped legal requirements for would-be buyers to hand over a 30 per cent down payment on purchases. Instead of having to pay up-front fees of at least US$11,000, in future they will be able to pay for the whole car on credit.

The government has also scrapped a requirement that all car loans be repaid within seven years. Both moves had been introduced in 1995 with the intention of reducing car use in the overcrowded island and limiting excessive credit consumption.

The move is part of wider initiatives in Singapore to stimulate the country's sluggish economy and is expected to spur demand for new cars. Huge duties and taxes mean that even the simplest car model costs at least US$40,000 in Singapore. These levies are hugely unpopular and many dealerships had recently started to openly flout the requirement for 30 per cent up front payments.