$42,000 For a Kia Rio? Welcome To Cuba!
When you think of Cuban cars, you probably have images of roads lined in American classics from the 40s and 50s. That image of a car market untouched by time may eventually come to a close as a new law in Cuba has taken effect, eliminating the need for a special permit to purchase a new vehicle. But new cars may not line the streets overnight, as new car pricing is more than 300% over normal sticker prices. The government of Cuba has typically put huge markups on goods that can be purchased with hard currency. In 2011, the Cuban government allowed the purchase of new vehicles, but only with a special permit, which resulted in a black market for those permits. Now, you do not need such a permit, but the Cuban government has a monopoly on importation of new vehicles. Huge markups are placed on new cars, resulting in a $13,600 Kia Rio selling for $42,000(!) in Havana. PHOTOS: See more of the 2012 Kia Rio Most Cuban workers make about $20 a month, and can hardly afford such vehicles. The fleet of 1950s American cars are kept on the road at all cost, and in many cases, drivetrains have been swapped out in an effort to keep them running.
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The common man in Cuba is left out, as the only ones able to afford new cars are diplomats and foreign workers in the country. According to the AP story, one younger citizen called the parties that set these high prices “bandits,” while an older man relinquished to the notion that he will have to go on living without a car.
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These high prices will continue to make the 1950s American cars the ride of choice in Cuba, but is it at the cost of depriving many Cubans the ability to drive new cars? Let us know what you think in the comments below.