New and used cars went on sale on Friday in Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years under a new law.
The law, which went into effect Friday, eliminates previous restrictions and administrative authorizations, and is expected soon to apply to other vehicles, including motorcycles, vans and minibuses.
Cuban leader Raul Castro recently repealed a 1962 decree that severely restricted the retail sale of vehicles.
"Given that the development of public transport is a priority for the benefit of the population, it was decided that the additional revenues, including taxes, obtained from the sale of vehicles will go to a fund for its financing," the Government Gazette said when publishing the new law.
However, sky-high prices are likely to prevent average Cubans from buying any for the time being.
The state, which controls car imports, levies a 20 percent surcharge on the price of a new car, while state-run car dealerships impose another 8 percent. In all, taxes add about 50 percent to the original sticker price.
Used cars were also selling for tens of thousands of dollars, making it difficult for Cubans earning an average of less than 20 U.S. dollars a month to afford a new car.
Cuba has one of the world's oldest automotive fleets. Most vehicles were made of the United States dating from the 1950s and have been kept running by deft mechanics who replace worn parts with new ones, therefore, it is very common to see an old 1957 Ford with a modern Hyundai engine, for example.
Old Soviet-era vehicles, such as a Lada or Moskvich, are also common, while the Chinese Geely is starting to form part of the urban landscape.