Cuba Car Sales Fail over Sky High Prices

Hyundai-Accent-2011-2
A 2011 used Hyundai Accent was priced at the equivalent of US 51,000.

HAVANA TIMES — Cubans purchased only 50 cars and four motorbikes after the reform last January that allows for the state car dealers to “freely” sell new and used vehicles, according to official media reported on Tuesday.

New vehicle sales no longer require a “letter of authorization” from the government, although state dealers offered from the beginning the new and used cars at astronomical prices.

The profits, according to the government, are to go to improve public transportation.

The 50 cars and four motorcycles sold the state reported revenue 1,283,000 convertible pesos (the US dollar equivalent), Radio Rebelde said on its website.

The average sale price of the vehicles was $23,800, with the vast majority being used cars.

The opening for new car sales announced by the government of Raul Castro in December 2013, came after decades of restrictions.

Market liberalization, however, caused unrest in the population due to the sky-high prices, which multiplied by up to eight times the price of the autos on the international market.

New 2013 Peugeot cars were priced up to $269,000.

Many new cars from European manufacturers were offered at prices of over $100,000 with a Peugeot 508 model topping the list at $269,000. The average wage in Cuba’s state sector is around $20 a month.

In Cuba it was not possible to buy new cars for decades. The Castro government abolished the free automotive market shortly after the triumph of the 1959 revolution.

The State then maintained for decades a control on the purchase and delivery of vehicles, usually given as rewards for service to some officials or doctors.

Cars in Cuba are known for being one of the oldest in the world. On the streets of Havana abound American-made cars from the first half of the 20th century, and Soviet models like the Lada or Moskovich. Lately there are more Chinese-made cars.


8 thoughts on “Cuba Car Sales Fail over Sky High Prices

  • July 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm
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    The government of Cuba does not wish retired Canadians to move to Cuba. What it wants is short term visits and for Canadians and others to spend their hard currency. It’s the money they are after.

  • July 3, 2014 at 11:25 am
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    If the government Cuba wants retired Canadians to move to Cuba there must be reasonable priced cars. Gordon Robinson Port Alberni B.C. Canada

  • July 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm
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    I haven’t seen that many bicycles in Havana or in the provinces. Maybe they were more plentiful during the worst years of the Special Period, but now guaguas, camiones, machinas and motos are the preferred modes of transport. Don’t know what is worse, though, the portable sauna which is a Metro-Bus, or pedaling a bicycle in 38 deg. C. weather. Alas! Cuba just doesn’t have the resources to construct a really first class public transportation system (like the mono-rail which travels from West Palm Beach down to south Dade County, with other mono-rails and bus lines radiating off). For the time being, the best stop-gap solution is to allow more jitneys, collectivos and mini-buses (some, I see, owned by cooperatives) and also, as observed in the provinces, more horse carts.
    For the time being, I doubt most Americans would allow driverless cars to predominate, even if it would be safer. Living near a noisy interstate highway, I long for a future when most cars and trucks would be semi-sllent electric vehicles. Alas! It won’t come to pass while I’m still alive.

  • July 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm
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    The most effective and economical petrol based transportation system in Cuba is the guagua. However they are in desperate need of upgrading. In the mean time, the most effecient and cost effective means of personal transport will remain the same as it has always been for many years to come – the bicycle, and one’s own two legs. But borrowing from your post, John, Cuba stands a much better chance of implementing a community owned bicicleta program for it’s city residents. As someone else mentioned, your Jetson’s vision of the future involving auto-piloted cars is not remotely possible in Cuba because it’s entirely cost prohibitive at every turn.

  • July 2, 2014 at 2:12 am
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    Cuba’s future and present is made a lot harder by the lack of means of transport.
    Your portrayal of a “Jetson” future is just one big ridiculous excuse. People die in accidents with unsafe vehicle. People die as they don’t have transport to get to the hospital. That is reality.

  • July 1, 2014 at 10:09 pm
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    “in a socialist economy where costs and benefits are shared” and “community owned vehicles rather than everyone having a car that sits in their driveway for 90% of the time.”
    The Havana Times reports upon Cuba not cloud cuckoo land.
    Where are there houses with driveways in Cuba?
    When were benefits shared in Cuba?
    Where are the traffic jams in Cuba?
    How would a Cuban get the money to pay for hiring an automatic self-driving car?
    The comments made by you Mr. Goodrich display a total ignorance of Cuba and the lives that Cubans have inposed upon them by Socialismo.
    Your observations in relation to Cuba can be dismissed as fatuous blether!

  • July 1, 2014 at 9:28 pm
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    My wife drives the ‘Benz. I have a real sports car. Your vision of the future is nuts. Community-owned cars? Hahahahahahaha!

  • July 1, 2014 at 8:08 am
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    Well, if it’s any consolation , the future of automobiles will make things easier for all Cubans and any people in a communal relationship or in a socialist economy where costs and benefits are shared. .
    The coming self-driving cars will very quickly replace human operated vehicles because of the safety factor and also because of the fewer tie-ups and traffic jams made possible through precision ( machine ) navigation that humans are far less capable of .
    Also coming is the concept of community owned vehicles rather than everyone having a car that sits in their driveway for 90% of the time.
    The automatic self- driving cars in a community would be called electronically to the residence of someone in need of a ride and take them wherever they need to go and do . Once back home, that vehicle would then be available for the next resident who needs it and it would drive itself over to that person’s house. A community could cut car ownership by well over 50% and that also reduces the costs to all without anyone going without a car when one is needed.
    Moses, however, says that you’ll have to pry his Mercedes steering wheel from his cold, diamond -encrusted dead fingers in order to take his car.

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