Cuba is known as a nation that loves its cars. After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the government made it nearly impossible to obtain a new vehicle. So Cuban drivers kept their '50s classics on the road even through today. Given this automotive enthusiasm, you might be surprised to learn that since the country began freely allowing new vehicle sales in January just 50 cars and 4 motorcycles have been sold through its 11 national dealers.

The meager sales don't appear to be from a lack of demand; it's the huge markups on the cars in showrooms that are keeping them out of consumer's hands. According to Reuters, the national dealers made $1.28 million in the first six months of the year, an average transaction price for the 54 vehicles of about $23,700 each. That might not so bad initially, but the average Cuban worker pulls in about $20 a month. Also, those prices are almost reasonable compared to earlier reports of a Peugeot retailer trying to sell a 508 sedan for $262,000 or a 2005 Renault for $25,000.

Hopefully, consumers don't have to endure this price gouging for long. This could be just the latest step in the long process of opening up the country's vehicle market. After all, it was only in 2011, that citizens could finally more easily sell used cars made after the revolution, according to Reuters. The people there have been able to keep their classics on the road for over half a century. What're a few more years so that the situation can possibly improve further?


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  • 33 Comments
      Brodz
      • 5 Months Ago
      Poor blighters. The Chinese car makers will see this as an opportunity.
      alcameron78
      • 5 Months Ago
      If the Cuban government doesn't want to follow the United States in a free trade open market system, maybe they should follow the Chinese system. Sales of New cars in China has surpassed the US. Seems as if the Castro regime has put Cuba behind the rest of the world about 60 to 70 years. Beautiful Country, wasting away.
      scott3
      • 5 Months Ago
      To which ever Castro it may concern. How is the socialism working for you? What a shame to have such a beautiful country and citizens that would be very hard working and to really have nothing to show for it.
        KeiCarLvr
        • 5 Months Ago
        @scott3
        I'd reply about as well as capitalism is for you...you may perceivably have the "better" system, but your president is incompetent, your Congress is a joke, your people have a ****-all mentality about themselves and the environment...need I go on?
          paulwilliam53
          • 4 Months Ago
          @KeiCarLvr
          I agree with the first two comments, american people are a caring bunch.
          scott3
          • 5 Months Ago
          @KeiCarLvr
          Capitalism is not perfect but it is a much better system than any other. There is more opportunity here to make it. Just ask all those who come here with nothing and build a great life for themselves. Just because a few of you sit back and expect someone else to do it all for you is no excuse. In all things there are winners and losers with any system and it is better to give people the opportunity to make of it what it is. You can blame the system for failure but too many have proven that you work hard and educate yourself you can make it in this country. I used to work in an area of town that was poor. I saw many Asians come in with nothing and not even speaking English and with in a year or two they were making a good living and speaking great English. Then I saw them educate their children and today many of them are successful business owners, and many Doctors have come from there. Others in the community have focused hate on them as they have proven that the system works and it is the other that are not working in the system. Life is what you make of it. A lot of hard work and a little luck you can do anything. But I do agree with the incompetent president as anyone with any sense and is qualified for the job would never take it. They are under paid. The present one is a great example of a amateur. As for congress they are is a joke as those who can build companies and those who can't stoke their ego in congress. Like I said it is not perfect. Lets face the world is a mess but the one area that always comes back is capitalism. People invest in it and people go to it to improved their lives. I see so few moving to China and Russia to improve their lives. Any of you commies here ready to move to N Korea? Even Washington looks good compared to that. Funny those who speak out here in a forum like this would end up in a labor camp in many of the systems they support.
          Chris
          • 5 Months Ago
          @KeiCarLvr
          Really? You're going to use a discussion about Cuba as some platform to bash our political system and government? When comparing the standard of living here to that in Cuba, it's perfectly understandable why we would perceive it as being better. As one who lived in south Florida, I can tell you many Cubans feel the same. In regards to which system is better, there is no "perceivablly" unless you're one of those who would rather be poor, and have very little control over his own destiny. The fact that I'm having to explain this to some of you just goes to show how clueless and spoiled some of us in this country actually are.
          Jarda
          • 5 Months Ago
          @KeiCarLvr
          I completely agree about the politics tho. We have such imbeciles here as well. Just today our brilliant government annouonced they will fight rising unemployment not by getting out of the way of businesses, but by paying people to cover their commuting expenses.
        Daniel D
        • 5 Months Ago
        @scott3
        To Scott. How do you think any tiny country of the coast of the US, that has the US spending five friggin decades trying to economically ruin it is going?
        Daniel D
        • 5 Months Ago
        @scott3
        Oh please.
        furiousgibbon
        • 5 Months Ago
        @scott3
        do you feel the need to carry a handgun when you go shopping at Target?
          BodyBlue
          • 5 Months Ago
          @furiousgibbon
          Not openly but I always carry concealed. An armed society is a polite society.
          scott3
          • 5 Months Ago
          @furiousgibbon
          No need as Target sells no ammo, you stereo typing boob!
      r_dezi
      • 5 Months Ago
      Why spend all that money for cheap plastic cars. Better to keep those old classics, they'll last longer.
      Teleny411
      • 5 Months Ago
      Really a 1940s:50s car with proper maintenance will be running after capitalism & communism are dead
      Teleny411
      • 5 Months Ago
      Id prefer a classic anyway.
      d.hollywood
      • 5 Months Ago
      Unilaterally end this senseless & stupid trade embargo...and thereby crush any shred of an excuse that the Castros could have for defending their backward ways. There is no reason beyond octogenarian exile politics why this silliness continues. Island Cubans & entrepreneurs could turn things around within 1 generation.
      waetherman
      • 5 Months Ago
      If I were running things down in Cuba, I think I'd open the car market only to electric vehicles. ,As an island nation, Cuba is the perfect case for going pure electric; limited range isn't a problem, electric infrastructure is easier to build, and they have a good shot of becoming energy independent through solar, wind and biofuel production. Of course if I were running Cuba I'd probably run other things differently too. But this is a car set not a politics site.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @waetherman
        So called "renewable" energy has been an epic failure in cost, efficiency, and even environmental impact. We have enough hydrocarbons to last another 100 years and by then we'll have fusion or something even better. Solar and wind can't store energy, can't provide energy 100% of the time, and have a huge impact on wildlife (even eco hipsters are against it). Biofuels are not cost effective and their production creates too much CO2 anyway.
      delsolo1
      • 5 Months Ago
      Free healthcare and pickup free streets make me Cuba bound
      budwsr25
      • 5 Months Ago
      The cuban people are sitting on a gold mine of cars 50's.
        Ken
        • 5 Months Ago
        @budwsr25
        Except most of them have been in use for 50+ years and there isn't much left a car collector would have any use for.
      Judyz
      • 5 Months Ago
      End the trade embargo. It obviously hasn't worked. I have been to Cuba. The cars you are drooling over are mostly running on different motors than they started (VW diesels, Etc) with and other than a few showcase cars kept for tourists to hire they look every bit their age.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Those vintage cruisers lasted due to the lack of road salt used in the winter to de-ice roads. It would sure be nice to send these rust-free classics to the US.
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