Anger as new, used cars go on sale in Cuba

2014-01-03 22:26
A vintage American car drives along a street in Havana.  (Adalberto Roque, AFP)

A vintage American car drives along a street in Havana. (Adalberto Roque, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Havana - Cubans hoping to snap up imported cars on Friday after the relaxation of restrictions dating back half a century had a shock with prices way out the reach of anyone but the elite.

The communist regime said last month that it would ease its ban on car imports, marking the end of an era that made icons of Cuba's vintage cars.

Opening Cuba's domestic car market to imports was expected to have fateful consequences for the lovingly maintained 1950s Chevys, Fords and Pontiacs that have survived a 50-year-old US embargo.

But there was anger and disappointment on Friday when prospective buyers in Havana laid eyes on the prices of new and used vehicles, AFP reporters said.

A swish Peugeot 4008 SUV was going for $239 500 at the Sasa dealer in the capital - nearly five times what it costs in Europe.

Used vehicles were also available in the capital, but at prices that most people in Cuba can only dream of - salaries average just $20 a month.

A 2010 Hyundai Sonata was going for $60 000 and a Volkswagen Passat in the same year had a price tag of $67 500.

"I was thinking of buying a car, and I had about $20 000 to spend, but it's impossible," one disappointed buyer, Dorian Lopez, told AFP, staring incredulously at a Sasa price list.

"With these prices, I not only cannot buy, but I can not even dream ," lamented the Cuban musician Alfred Thompson, at another dealer, in the west of Havana.

The official newspaper Granma said last month that the imported cars would be sold at market prices, a step designed to gradually free up retail sales of all manner of vehicles - cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles - and end the practice of granting some Cubans special permission to bring in vehicles as a privilege.

An abuse

The changes are a long-awaited element of President Raul Castro's attempts to gradually liberalize Cuba's Soviet-style economy.

"It is monstrous. They say that the cars are for sale in Cuba, but it is a lack of respect for the people , no one can buy at this price , it's impossible," said Bernardo Garcia, 35.

No official figures are available on Cuba's car fleet, but experts believe there are around 60 000 American cars still circulating on the island.

Mixed in with them are Soviet-made Ladas and Moskvich cars made in the 1970s and '80s and more modern, usually Asian-made, vehicles imported by the government.

The new legislation also eliminates the "Letters of Authorization" issued each year to a few thousand privileged Cubans to enable them to buy a car.

"We were miserably deceived, it is an abuse, it has been two years since I have the letter but that is for millionaires, not the people," said Mayra Echarpe, 57, of the national centre for popular music in Havana.

Read more on:    cuba
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
39 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are in a curious mood and you want to be the first to know what is happening. You may find yourself drawn into cyber chatting...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.