Cuba Eases Restrictions on Car Sales

December 19, 2013 | Print Print |

Cars waiting to be sold on a sunny lot. Photo: Raquel Perez

HAVANA TIMES – The Council of Ministers of Cuba decided at its current meeting to open up the retail sale of new and used motorcycles, cars, vans and minibuses. Cubans with well-off relatives in the United States and other countries will be a considerable percentage of those able to take advantage of the relaxing of restrictions.

The new legal norms will be published in the coming days in the Official Gazette, giving start to a gradual liberalizing of the vehicle sales, with first priority of available cars going to those who currently have the previously required letters of authorization but whose purchase was never possible.

Retail prices at the state dealerships entrusted with the vehicle sales will be set at market prices and possible purchasers include Cuban citizens and foreigners residing in the country as well as foreign legal entities and diplomats.

The new policy supersedes the letter of authorization needed from the Ministry of Transport, but maintains the standards of transfer of ownership and the prohibition on state or foreign companies selling directly to Cuban and foreign individuals.

In addition, individuals still cannot import motor vehicles on their own. The only ones authorized to do so are State import companies and the diplomatic corps.

According to the note, the government will also prioritize bicycle sales on the retail market , offering them at prices “without a revenue generating objective.”


What's your opinion?

  • Gordon Robinson

    Some tourist workers make very good money on tips and many new business owners also are well off. Many Canadians with Cuban wives / husbanda will also want new autos.

  • Moses Patterson

    So let me get this straight: the Cubans who have access to 15,000 CUC or more (much more) now have wider permission to spend that money on a newer car. Keep in mind, what Cuba calls a new car is a typically 2-3 year-old model year vehicle. Very few new model year cars go to Cuba except for use by the State tourist car rental agency . Still, it sounds like the Castros have conceded on yet another longstanding means of controlling the people in order to increase milking the exile community or foreigners of hard currency. Coincidentally (?) as imported fuel prices will likely soon rise because of recent reports from Venezuela say that President Maduro is considering lowering the subsidy on national fuel prices and raising the price on foreign oil sales. The Castros would like to see more fuel-efficient cars on the road to offset the certain drop in gas purchases by Cuban drivers as these gas prices rise. So in the end, we will soon see a grandfather who fought alongside column 3 in the Sierra Maestra during the revolution continue to ride his bicycle or, if he’s fortunate, a horse in his pueblo Frank Pais, outside of Holguin City while his prostitute granddaughter who lives in Havana drives around in her new Kia paid for by her 60-year old German sugardaddy. Sounds like the revolution is right on track.

  • bjmack

    A wonderful breath of fresh air! I worked my tail off 40 years ago to buy a brand new car. Parents didn’t give me a dime and I never felt more proud. This gives
    incentives to those who have the will power and drive to do the same. Change is
    the best word here.

  • tree

    Well some change is better then no change?

    • Moses Patterson

      Only if the “change” is for the better.

  • Gordon Robinson

    A number of auto firms are looking to build cars in the new duty free zone at the Mariel Port. These cars might be made in Cuba in the future :::
    https://www.google.ca/search?q=peugeot+cars+photos&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=LkezUr73FdDvoATTwIDQDQ&ved=0CEUQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=875

    • Moses Patterson

      Really? Which company is that? Keep in mind, if the cars are built in Cuba they can not be sold in the US, nor can the company sell other non-Cuban models to the US. So again, what company is “looking”?