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?