Cuba sells just 50 cars in first six months after ban lift

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Old American Classic Cars In Central Havana, Cuba.

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?

Cuba sells just 50 cars in first six months after ban lift originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cuba opens up sale of new cars for first time since 1959 revolution

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Cuba Daily Life

Cuban citizens will be able to freely buy new and used cars for the very first time since the island country converted to communism in 1959. Previously, citizens were only able to buy and sell cars without government approval if they were built before the revolution, which accounts for the spectacular array of vintage American metal on the island, according to a report by Automotive News.

But changes two years ago allowed newer models to be sold to individuals, provided they obtained approval from the country's communist government. The new regulations strip the approval process, though, as part of a push by the country's president, Raul Castro, to increase freedom for average citizens.

Castro, who took over for his ailing brother, Fidel, in 2008, has pushed for increased freedom and less government oversight in the country. Although the nation is opening up its automotive market, it may not be quite so affordable to all citizens - newer models may include a 100-percent tax, meant to fund Cuba's public transport system, according to the Communist Party's newspaper, Granma. Still, the move is likely to be good news for the growing number of private businesses in the country.

Cuba opens up sale of new cars for first time since 1959 revolution originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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