Car Sales in Cuba: Stepping on the Brakes to Move Forward

By Ernesto Perez Castillo  (Progreso Weekly)

Used cars waiting to be sold at astronomical prices.

HAVANA TIMES – I remember a few years back, after the Cuban government authorized the sale of cars to individuals, when I almost had a heart attack laughing (and crying) because of the prices. The fact is that I felt a great deal of discomfort, and I returned to greasing and lubricating my bicycle while leaving behind the dream of ever buying my first car.

There was a friend who helped me cope with my anger. He asked me if I could purchase one if they’d slash the price of those cars in half. He went as far as asking whether if the price was 5,000, or 3,000, or even $500… did I have that kind of money in my pocket?

The truth is I did not have one disposable peso on hand — I still don’t. Whereupon he responded with a, “See! … Those prices set are not meant for you,” he told me. “Neither are those autos,” he added. “Relax and forget about it,” concluded my friend, “because if you don’t have the money, then the car is not meant for you.”

But as time passed, I suddenly realized that that money was and is mine. As the store where the cars are sold is mine, as well as the empty store with refrigerators is mine. Everything, including those cars on sale, is mine while my beautiful Cuba remains socialist.

Later on, though, I again had my doubts when I saw government officials on TV explaining that they don’t intend to sell those cars to just anyone (clearly they won’t be selling me one), but to those who have much purchasing power. Later the profits derived, they explained, will help finance the trains and the public buses, and blah, blah, blah.

Price of (used) cars as per the Cuban government agency: the first column is the type of auto; second column is the price in convertible pesos (CUC); third column is a 10% discount when transferred to magnetic cards; and the last column is the price in hard currency: dollars, euros, yens, or some other form of currency.

Anyway, for a better system of transportation we should wait for one of those very rich types, those kind of crazy individuals who’ve run out of ideas and things to waste their money on, who have nothing better to do than to buy a highly overpriced used car. And as surprising as this may sound, these people do exist, as the lines in the above mentioned dealerships demonstrate.

Take note though, these persons will have to pay in full and up front for their acquisition with one of those magnetic cards, the ones in dollars, euros, yens, or whatever is identified as real money. And forget a system of credit or any financial mechanism, other than cash up front, exactly as it is not done everywhere else on this earth.

And those rich folks, where does their money come from? Is it sent from elsewhere, from an even richer relative who’s even crazier? Or did they get rich right here on the backs of our people? Seriously, will we ever know where that money comes from?

When these new stores were opened dealing only in those magnetic cards, and the real money they represent, it was said that they would sell only high-end items at competitive prices. This timely strategy and the urgent need to raise hard currency, that renewed commitment now that we have those northern winds working against us, turns to water in our hands when trying to purchase a used car at five times its price.

Things should be, at the very least, clear. As simple and elementary as a binary equation that tells us, “We want to sell you a car.” Or we don’t… And if we need to sell them, because we want your money, we must come up with a way that we truly do sell them, and that people realize that you really want to sell them.

It’s either that or close the dealership and throw away the key, because it’s a bad idea to put your left hand signal on to turn right, or vice versa. It’s even worse to step on the brakes, or put your car in reverse, when we’re screaming that we want to move forward.

The following is the old price list from the official government sales agency with estimated new prices with the discount  (Note: some of the cars may have already been sold)

CAR CO. and MODEL PRICE IN US Dollars With the 10% DISCOUNT
PEUGEOT EXPERT TEPEE 2013 212940,00 191646,00
PEUGEOT 4008 2013 239250,00 215325,00
PANEL PEUGEOT PARTNER TEPEE 2013 145612,50 131051,25
PEUGEOT 206+ 2013 91113,00 82001,70
PEUGEOT 301 2013 108084,00 97275,60
PEUGEOT 301 2013 109684,00 98715,60
PEUGEOT 301 2013 109699,00 98729,10
PEUGEOT 5008 2013 232193,50 208974,15
PEUGEOT 508 2013 263185,50 236866,95
GEELY CK T/A 2010 26550,00 23895,00
GEELY CK T/M 2009 25950,00 23355,00
GEELY FC 2009 37500,00 33750,00
GEELY MK 2009 30000,00 27000,00
HYUNDAI ACCENT T/A 2011 45000,00 40500,00
HYUNDAI ACCENT T/A 2009-2010 37500,00 33750,00
HYUNDAI ATOS 2009 21450,00 19305,00
HYUNDAI 110 T/A 2009 29250,00 26325,00
HYUNDAI 110 T/A 2009 31500,00 28350,00
HYUNDAI 110 T/M 2009 25000,00 22500,00
HYUNDAI 110 T/M 2009 28500,00 25650,00
KIA RIO 2011 42000,00 37800,00
SEAT ALTEA 2008 45000,00 40500,00
VW JETTA 2010 51000,00 45900,00
MICROBUS HYUNDAI TQ12 2009-2010 110000,00 99000,00
JEEP HYUNDAI SANTA FE 2009-2010 90000,00 81000,00
JEEP SUZUKI JIMNY 2008 69195,00 62275,50
JEEP SUZUKI JIMNY 2008 30000,00 27000,00
AUDI A4 2000 45000,00 40500,00
BMW SMOD 1997 14457,00 13011,30
CITROEN C3 2008 46025,00 41422,50
CITROEN SAXO 2003 26431,65 23788,49
CHANA-ALSV ALSVANA 2010 31950,00 28755,00
DAIHATSU GRAND MOVE 2000 22000,00 19800,00
FIAT PUNTO 2008 28950,00 26055,00
FIAT UNO 2002 18000,00 16200,00
GEELY CK 2010 26149,95 23534,96
GEELY CK 2010 26150,10 23535,09
HYUNDAI ACCENT T/M 2007 35000,00 31500,00
HYUNDAI ACCENT T/A 2011 45000,00 40500,00
HYUNDAI ACCENT T/A 2009-2010 37500,00 33750,00
HYUNDAI ACCENT T/M 2011 45000,00 40500,00
HYUNDAI ATOS 2007-2009 21450,00 19305,00
HYUNDAI AZERA 2009 75000,00 67500,00
HYUNDAI GETZ 2009 32250,00 29025,00
HYUNDAI SONATA 2009-2010 60000,00 54000,00
KIA PICANTO 2011 38285,40 34456,86
KIA PICANTO 2011 40854,60 36769,14
KIA PICANTO 2011 41486,40 37337,76
KIA PICANTO 2011 37189,80 33470,82
KIA PICANTO 2011 37782,00 34003,80
KIA PICANTO 2011 35000,00 31500,00
KIA PICANTO 2011 42000,00 37800,00
KIA PICANTO 2008 28000,00 25200,00
KIA PICANTO 2009 35000,00 31500,00
MERCEDES BENZ 2006 60000,00 54000,00
MITSUBISHI LANCER 1997 20000,00 18000,00
PEUGEOT 406 1999 28000,00 25200,00
PEUGEOT 106 2003 16222,95 14600,66
PEUGEOT 206 2008 85227,60 76704,84
PEUGEOT 206 2004 30000,00 27000,00
PEUGEOT 407 2004 30000,00 27000,00
PEUGEOT PARTNER 2008 25600,00 23040,00
RENAULT CLIO 2005 25000,00 22500,00
RENAULT SM3 2008 46116,30 41504,67
RENAULT SM3 2008 30000,00 27000,00
RENAULT SM3 2008 31500,00 28350,00
RENAULT SM7 2008 90000,00 81000,00
SEAT ALTEA 2008 45000,00 40500,00
SEAT CORDOVA 2008 31500,00 28350,00
TOYOTA COROLA 2006 39224,80 35302,32
TOYOTA YARIS 2003 25000,00 22500,00
TOYOTA YARIS 2002 25000,00 22500,00
VW JETTA 2010 51000,00 45900,00
VW PASSAT 2008 54000,00 48600,00
VW PASSAT 2010 67500,00 60750,00
VW POLO 2007 25000,00 22500,00
VW POLO 2007 25000,00 22500,00

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