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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 26, 1914

This Quality One Reason for Their Leadership in Southern Cuba.

There was a decided advance of the automobile business in Santiago in 1913 and there are now about eighty-six cars in the city, of which seventy-two are American, eight Italian, two French, one German, and three miscellaneous.  As the figures show, the United States Consul there stationed reports, the American car is most popular and there are about twenty different makes from the United States in the city.  The liking for the American product is due partly to the comparative ease and speed with which it climbs steep hills, as this section of the island is very hilly.

One of the best and most attractive automobile roads in Cuba is that from Santiago to Puerto Boniato and San Luis, built during the American occupation of Cuba in 1898 and 1899.  This road is very steep and winds up the side of a mountain over 2,000 feet high.  It is considered by chauffeurs as a severe test of the hill-climbing abilities of any car, and they assert that no car represented here can climb this road as easily as the American cars and at the same time overheat the motor little more than in ordinary driving.

The most popular type of car in this district is the open five or six seated car.  Closed cars such as the landaulet, coupĂ©, and limousine have had no sale in this section of the island because of the hot climate, and there is only one closed car, a limousine, in the city.

Several American manufacturers are represented here by local agents, but there is no agency devoted exclusively to the sale of automobiles, and considering the limited mileage of good roads available for motoring and the number of cars already in use it is doubtful if it would pay automobile manufacturers to establish an agency here for the exclusive sale of their cars.  It is believed that there is an opening here for the sale of repair parts and accessories.

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