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California New Vehicle Sales on Track to Exceed Two Million in 2018

Contact: Jenny Dudikoff
Phone: 916-441-2599

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California new vehicle market is behaving as expected for the first half of 2018. With new vehicle registrations exceeding one million in the first two quarters of the year, vehicle sales are expected to be around 2 million for the year, as initially predicted after quarter one sales.

According to the California Auto Outlook Second Quarter 2018, California light truck registrations continue to increase, by 5.6 percent from 2017, while passenger car registrations continue to fall, 10.1 percent below this time last year. While this is on trend with national behavior, the numbers differ slightly, with US light truck sales increasing by 7.7 percent and US passenger car sales falling by 12.1 percent.

This trend is also reflected on the regional level, in both the northern and southern parts of the state. However, more so in Southern California, with light truck sales seeing an increase of more than 6 percent and passenger car sales experiencing a decrease of more than 11 percent.  Alternatively, Northern California light truck sales are up by 3.7 percent and passenger car sales are down 10 percent.

“We are encouraged that California vehicle sales are on track to reach about 2 million for 2018.  While the market continues to shift in types of vehicles sold, we are experiencing consistent buyer behavior geared more towards larger vehicles. This increased demand continues to demonstrate consumer interest in purchasing larger, more convenient, family friendly vehicles to meet their transportation needs,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda.

Additionally, combined hybrid and electric market share overall continues to increase, making up 10.2 percent of total new vehicle registrations. Looking closer at the data, plug ins and electric vehicle sales are both up more than 1.4 percent combined, while hybrid sales continued their long downward trend and are down .4 percent from last year.

Sales increased by more than 10 percent for 6 brands, with Toyota once again being the market leader and the Honda Civic coming in as the best-selling model in California during the second quarter of 2018.

The California Auto Outlook Second Quarter 2018 Market Report provides comprehensive information on the state’s new vehicle market. The report includes: a segment watch, including the top five models in each segment; a market perspective, comparing California nationally; brand scoreboards; a five-year sales trend comparison and more. The complete report can be accessed on CNCDA’s website at:


California Auto Outlook, is produced for CNCDA by Auto Outlook, Inc., an independent research company specializing in the analysis of statewide and regional automotive markets.  When reporting these auto industry trends please acknowledge the Data Source: IHS Markit.

The California New Car Dealers Association is the country’s largest state association of franchised new car and truck dealers representing nearly 1,200 dealer members.  Last year, California’s franchised new car dealers sold more than 2.8 million new and used cars and trucks.

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