One could hardly blame Cuban consumers for suffering from a bout of 'sticker shock' when new car shopping this week – after all, they haven't had the opportunity since 1959. But it isn't just a half-century of inflation that buyers are having to wrap their heads around this week, it's massive markups.

Reuters is reporting that with the Cuban state opening up the sale of new vehicles without special dispensation, price markups of 400 percent and more are turning away would-be shoppers in droves. In a country where average monthly wages total just $20, you can imagine the shock and incredulity that is accompanying word of a state-run Peugeot dealer asking $262,000 for a 508 – a D-segment model that typically lines up against cars like the Ford Mondeo.

And it's not just new cars that are suffering from the markups – Reuters interviewed Cuban artist Cesar Perez, who was looking at an unspecified 2005 Renault. The used car lot's price was $25,000, where similar models trade for just $3,000 outside of the island nation. "These prices show a lack of respect for all Cubans. What is here are wrecks. I now have no hope of getting a car for my family," he said.

The price gouging is being viewed by at least one analyst, John Kirk, a Canadian academic expert on Latin America, as a "luxury tax imposed by the government on the nouveau riches of Cuba." No matter what it is, with such heady prices, Cuba's venerable culture of keeping old automobiles alive by whatever means are available seems unlikely to change any time soon.


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  • 49 Comments
      Thunderbuck
      • 11 Months Ago
      I'm doubting this kind of markup will last long. As John Kirk is quoted in the article, it amounts to something of a "luxury tax", and it's also an effective way to stifle demand at the start. As the government gets more comfortable with the change, I'm sure the prices will drift down to where more of the market can afford it. It's not all that different from how it played out in China.
      Drakkon
      • 11 Months Ago
      400% ...which is just about par for the Caribbean.
      Ducman69
      • 11 Months Ago
      A socialist utopia, just give the Democrats another 15 years and we'll be in the same boat! ;)
        No
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        I knew there would be someone saying something like this. There always is. Always some idiot with absolutely no idea of what socialism is, what communism is, and the idea that anything that could even be perceived as left of center suddenly equals soviet gulags. You are the dumbest people.
          hokkaido76
          • 11 Months Ago
          @No
          Are you really surprised?
          john96xlt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @No
          hokkaido76: Are you really stupid? Never mind, trick question.
        Jesus!
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        15? I give it 10 at the max.
        jebibudala
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        15 years? Why so long?
        Sean Conrad
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        Today's democrats are further right than Reagan was. And if you think Cuba is socialist you have no idea what that word means.
      mustsvt
      • 11 Months Ago
      Michael Moore forget to mention stuff like this in his love fest documentary about how great Cuba and its "free" healthcare are. This folks is the real communism.
        animekyoto89
        • 11 Months Ago
        @mustsvt
        a red-herring comment if I ever saw one. What a moron............
          mustsvt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @animekyoto89
          What's red herring about it? That Cuba's people make about $20-$30 a month are totally controlled and dependent upon the state and haven't had access to cars for over half a century, and when they finally do they have 400% mark up? I'm sure they would welcome you in Cuba comrade,,,
          montegod7ss
          • 11 Months Ago
          @animekyoto89
          Clearly you know no one actually from Cuba. I know a lot, that actually came from Cuba, and they hate what their country is. A "doctor" in Cuba is someone told by the State that they are a doctor, and given tests easy enough to where they pass them. Same for engineers, and anther other highly skilled trade. You are just plainly misinformed if you aren't aware of that.
          Sir Duke
          • 11 Months Ago
          @animekyoto89
          Montegod7ss: Your ignorance astounds me. A couple of things you should know about medicine in Cuba. 1). Most of the older Cuban doctors were trained in the Soviet Union. 2). There is an excellent school of Medicine in Cuba, that cranks out well trained doctors for most Latin American countries. 3. Cubans have a longer life expectancy than Americans. They are actually HEALTHIER. Probably a direct result of the trade embargo, which means they don't eat the same garbage (hermone and others chemical laden) foods that we eat. I do agree that its time for the Castro brothers to go.
      Larry Litmanen
      • 11 Months Ago
      Yesterday Cuba, Today Detroit, Tomorrow rest of America.
      ar
      • 11 Months Ago
      lol communism
      montegod7ss
      • 11 Months Ago
      They can make millions from exporting their old cars. Once they really start to do it I bet it becomes one of their biggest exports.
        jebibudala
        • 11 Months Ago
        @montegod7ss
        I agree. Even though they're heavily modified, I believe there's still a huge market here. We have the skills and after market parts support to fix the dangerous issues, and maybe even swap a newer drivetrain at a fairly low cost. The only question I have is the cost for importing a lot of these vehicles into the states.
          john96xlt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @jebibudala
          Its not like you can't find 1959 and older cars in the US in much better condition.
        KAG
        • 11 Months Ago
        @montegod7ss
        The shells would be worth it, but that is about it
      • 11 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      churchmotor
      • 11 Months Ago
      Cuba sure looks a lot nicer than Detroit.
      Andrew
      • 11 Months Ago
      tehy would be pushing a FORD
        CJ_313
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Andrew
        They're pushing an early-50's Chevrolet, not a Ford... Although one has nothing to do with the other.
          john96xlt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @CJ_313
          It could be a Subaru 360 and that idiot couldn't tell the difference if he tried.
          CJ_313
          • 11 Months Ago
          @CJ_313
          Trolls will be trolls unfortunately. And it's not a Subaru, it's a '51 Chevrolet Deluxe sedan.
          john96xlt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @CJ_313
          CJ, I didn't say it was a Subaru, I was using that as an example.
      thedriveatfive
      • 11 Months Ago
      Coming soon to a NYC near you.
      Larry Litmanen
      • 11 Months Ago
      I can't wait until Castros die. Sex Tourism paradise.
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