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New Cuban Law Allows Car Purchases, But Prices Are Sky High

Cuban car dealerships sold a total of 50 cars in a six-month period after a new law allowed car purchases, since they remain very expensive.
Image: Cars drive on a street in Havana
File photo of cars on a street in Havana, Cuba. ENRIQUE DE LA OSA / Reuters

Cuba's 11 national car dealerships sold just 50 cars and four motorcycles in the first half of the year under a new law that removed limits on auto purchases for the first time in half a century. Cubans had welcomed the new law which removed limits on auto purchases, but many are in sticker shock at the 400-percent markup. Cuba has said it would invest 75 percent of the sales' proceeds for its public transportation system, but total sales at the country's dealerships reached just $1.28 million. A Peugeot dealership in Havana was pricing its 2013 model 206 at $91,000 when the new rules came into effect, and it wanted $262,000 for the sportier 508. Most state workers make around $20 a month. In 2011, Cuba started allowing people to buy and sell used cars from each other. Before then, only cars that were in Cuba before the 1959 revolution could be freely bought and sold, which is why there are so many U.S.-made, vintage 1950s cars on the streets.



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