Matthew Jones06 January 2014

Move to Cuba, buy a Peugeot for £160,000

Forget Fifties American clunkers: Cubans can now buy new cars. But a Pug 508 costs the same as a 458. Ah...

Move to Cuba, buy a Peugeot for £160,000

Good news for Cubans! For the first time since the 1959 revolution, residents of the communistical republic are now able to buy new cars without getting direct - and seldom-granted - permission from the government.

Bad news for Cubans! Turns out the state monopoly on car sales - and the subsequent mark-up - means prices for something ordinary like, say, a Peugeot 508 aren't what you'd call cheap.

They are what you'd call £160,337. For a car that, in Britain, starts at £19,300. Sticker prices for the initial flurry of foreign second-hand cars suggests that they're no cheaper, either.

A 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe? £55,000. 2008 Suzuki Jimny? £42,200. 2008 Citroen C3? £28,150. The average monthly wage in Cuba, where four out of five of people work for the state, is 20 US dollars. Or about 12 British pounds. Which, even if you saved every penny, means it'd just take you just over 1000 years to afford that Peugeot 508. The Peugeot 508 isn't that nice.

The government claims that some profits from selling the cars will be placed in a special fund to develop the country's decrepit public transport. But with prices set this high, and slow reforms to a private initiative, the American and former Eastern Bloc relics populating the country's roads will remain for a few years yet.

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