Now that Cuban consumers can purchase a car freely, Chinese manufacturer Geely has shipped a batch of 1,560 cars to the country, composed of 1,310 units of the Geely CK and 250 units of the Emgrand EC7. These cars are destined to be used by the Defence and Tourism Ministries, rental car companies and possibly private buyers.
This is the second time Geely exports a batch of cars to Cuba after shipping 1,500 units of the Geely CK in 2009. Geely owns Swedish automaker Volvo and now exports to a significant numbers of countries around the world: Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela in South America, Bangladesh and Indonesia in Asia, Russia, Romania and Turkey in Europe, and South Africa. In 2011 Geely began exporting to Australia and New Zealand and last September it was the turn of Saudi Arabia.
Picture by Teemu R. All rights reserved.
Historical date today in Cuba: until now only people who bought a car before the 1959 revolution or those who were granted the right to purchase one afterwards for personal or political achievements could actually own their vehicles. From October 1, every Cuban citizen can now purchase a car, and it is also now legal to own more than one vehicle!
Picture by Faw. All rights reserved.
This will have a massive impact on the country’s car landscape, currently dominated by the “yank tanks”, pre-1959 vintage Americans, and Ladas as seen in my Cuban article. Recently Hyundai had made inroads with its Accent, Santro and i10, mainly to rental car companies, as well as the Chinese: Great Wall for commercial vehicles and Geely with police cars. Seat, Peugeot and Skoda are also present among others.
Picture by Robin Thom. All rights reserved.
Now the market is wide open and will be fascinating to follow over the next couple of years, keeping in mind the average monthly salary in Cuba is 17 dollars. Let’s say the yank tanks still have a few good years ahead of them…
Source, more pictures and Cuba street videos below.
Vintage American car in Cuba. Picture by Walter Lo Cascio. All rights reserved.
The Cuban car market structure is a fascinating testimony of the country’s last 60 years history. Its famous 1950′s American cars (60,000 are still in circulation), relics of the pre-revolutionary period, are now outnumbered by over 100,000 Ladas, the most visible legacy of the country’s Cold War alliance with the Soviet Union.
Lada in Cuba. Picture by Tom Eversley. All rights reserved.
More recently, Hyundai seems to have reaped the title of best-selling brand in Cuba, with the Hyundai Accent the probable Cuban best-seller, and the i10 and Santro also doing very well, especially with rental car companies
Hyundai Accent, possibly 2010 Cuban best-selling car, thanks to popularity with rental companies.
Lastly in 2009, government and police have started replacing their Ladas with Geely CK’s, symbolizing Cuba’s recent closer ties with China, with as much as 1,500 units imported in H1 ’09.
More commentaries, striking street scene pictures and informative street videos are below, click on ‘read more’ just below the Geely CK picture.
Police Geely CK, La Habana, Cuba 2009