Classic Cars

Cuba Allowing New Cars For First Time Since 1959

Is this the official end of classic car Cuba as we know it?

It may sound hard to believe at first, but the island nation of Cuba hasn’t imported new cars since 1959. For those who aren’t familiar with history, this was the year in which the Batista regime fell to Fidel Castro’s guerilla army and the rise of Communism began. Up until just a few years ago, Cubans could only buy and sell cars that were built before the revolution. As a result, that basically turned Cuba into a classic car paradise, literally a trip back in time.

Two years ago, however, the Cuban government changed this policy somewhat when it decided that Cubans could buy a newer car from the US, but had to seek and receive government approval first. That policy has now been updated and Cuban citizens no longer need the government’s permission to import new and used cars. However, it won’t be cheap to do so. There’ll likely be a so-called "luxury tax," which translates into a 100 percent mark up. Yes, a 100 percent tax rate. There are currently tens of thousands of private businesses in Cuba and many wealthy professionals like doctors who will surely take advantage of this new law, despite the Cuban government still having a monopoly on retail.

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