Welcome to the Cold War Era Tropico 5 Guide! This is the era of the Vehicle factory and Geological Survey. This guide includes the most profitable industries and detailed descriptions of all new edicts and technologies.

Vehicle Factory

Why? Because you will be amazed by the profits of the Vehicle Factory. They are amazing. And the best thing; they get even more amazing in the next era! Then you can apply the Robotic Assembly Line upgrade ($13.000). Reducing the number of workers to 4 instead of 10.

Geological Survey

The Geological Survey boosts your resource deposits. It will add 5000 to each Gold deposit. Meaning when extracted you earn a whopping $125.000 extra. For cheaper resources like Iron more is added. Iron will add 20.000, with Iron costing $1000 this means it will add $20.000 of value. So the Geological survey is a very smart investment.

Service Buildings

Service buildings are getting bigger and more efficient. Think Hospital (350 instead of 100) and Cathedral (400 instead of 200). Don’t forget to demolish your old service buildings because these new ones have a much higher service rating. Liberty gets boosted by the new TV station.


What else? Well there is Tourism which pretty much replaces your Plantations as job for your uneducated Tropicans. But expect large investments with a low revenue in return. Obviously you will also unlock new edicts and constitution options.

Industry profit

A few new buildings get added in the Cold War era: Furniture Factory, Pharmaceutical Company and Vehicle Factory. Let’s add them to the awesome GameplayInside Tropico 5 Guide graphs!

Tropico 5 making money in the cold war era. The best industries

Remember the World War era? In that era the Jewelry workshop provided the best income per worker, but those were college workers. Now take a look at the Vehicle factory. Not only does it provide $4099 per worker, it also employs high school employees! Obviously the Vehicle Factory is the way to go in Tropico 5.

Raw Industries

So what about raw industries? Let’s take a look…

tropico5 making money cold war era the best mines

The new Oil Refinery and Oil Well lead the charts. The Oil refinery has a few downsides though. It uses college workers and takes up valuable space on your coast. The Oil wells are pretty good, they require only high school employees and earn similarly to the Pharmaceutical company.

Checkout the next page for the new technologies!

GameplayInside recommends gaming on:


  • Scott Broadbent

    I find Free Market to be a better overall option than Planned Economy. The normal Effectiveness of Maximum Budget is +25, whereas Free Market is +50 (additional +25). Planned Economy with a 1 star Foreman upgrade only provides +20, and from my experience, with the exception of Dynasty members, having managers with more than 1 star is rare. Also, odds are you won’t have a ton of Foremen or similar managers to throw around. Of course, Free Market with a Foreman manager will get you even more effectiveness. The Free Market option improves everything across the board that is set to Maximum Budget (which I typically have.

    Flexible Principles never seems to work for me. I still have to wait 60 months (5 years between changes). What is it supposed to change to?

    Aircraft carrier, even with Smart Bombs, having Fire at Will on will almost always set fire to buildings. In other words, always have Police Stations upgraded with Fire Brigade. I’ve never lost a single building though.

    Regarding Hostile Atom and Space, building these won’t automatically send you into the next era if you don’t accept the tasks. Most people probably accept the tasks whenever they first pop up. I usually let them sit around until I’m ready to move to the Modern Era.

    Secret Police is $500 per Police Station, which can get quite Costly.

    • GameplayInside

      I agree that the Smart Bombs are not 100% fool proof.

      Has been a while since I tried free market instead of planned economy. However, full budget buildings can become an issue when they go through their inputs too quickly and do nothing most of the time. If you have multiple hungry resource industries you will need a lot of trial and error to get the road design and teamster balance setup correctly. If your inputs are at 0 you can increase your profits by simpling lowering the budget :).

      Planned economy should always benefit you. It also applies on stuff like Cathedrals and any manager will do.

      I guess it depends on how good your city is constructed. But yes Free market can be a viable option :). Thanks for sharing :)!

      • Scott Broadbent

        My typical playstyle has most jobs on Maximum Budget. It makes people happy, and usually I’m able to build an economy which can support max budgets. On my latest island (though Medium Difficulty) I’m sitting with a treasury over $2 million and nothing really to spend it on because I’ve hit the population cap. Of that 2000+ population, about 1300 are Rich, another 350 are Filthy Rich. Only 23 are considered broke. Of course, my play style is generally compatible with the Free Market principle which gives an overall boost across the board.

        If your play style is one where you don’t have many buildings budgets max’d and rather use a lot of Managers, Free Market may not be as useful as Planned Economy, though I’ll note that buildings on Budget 4 with Free Market get +20 Budget Impact as opposed to the normal +10 without FreeMarket, so right there it’s equivalent to a Budget 4 building with a Manager in Planned Economy.

        Here’s another consideration. Free Market Constitution option also effects buildings without Managers, which. Parking Lots, Metro Stations, Space Program, and probably Guard Towers and the Aircraft Carrier as well. I confirmed this with the Parking Garage. When a Parking Garage was on Budget 3, nearby Construction Offices had a 70 Job Quality. Budget 4 bumped Construction Office Job Quality to 75 and Budget 5 bumped Construction Office Job Quality up to 80.

        Space Program generate 2 Research Points per point of Effectiveness, therefore Free Market gives you an extra 50 points. You can’t add a manager to the Space Program. Guard Towers likely do more damage, although this is not something I’ve looked at or tested, but it makes sense given that a higher Effectiveness boosts the buildings primary function. Same with the Aircraft Carrier.