Skip to Content

CA New Vehicle Market Outpaces the Nation in Growth in the First Three Months of 2017

SACRAMENTO – California’s new motor vehicle market remains strong with over 2 million vehicles expected to be sold here in 2017, and during the first quarter, our market grew nearly 1% while sales nationally declined 1.4%.

“2017 has seen slower growth in California car and truck sales, but this beats the slowdown in national sales,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Cheryl Bedford, of Sunset Auto Center in Lompoc. “California is a large and diverse market: Our customers bought 5.5% more light trucks this quarter compared with one year ago, but at the same time 4.8% of all new vehicles registered January through March were zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and plug in hybrids, an all-time record.”

So far in 2017, the small SUV segment has been the fastest growing in the state, while the mid-size and large car market has declined the most. Electric vehicle market share climbed to 2.7% during the first quarter, driven largely by the emergence of the Chevy Bolt which entered the top 5 in subcompacts sold in the state. Overall ZEVs and plugs-ins equaled 4.8% of the state’s new vehicle sales. Of those alternatively powered vehicles, 80% were sold by franchised new car dealers.

With relatively low fuel prices, light truck registrations led the way in driving overall sales up 0.7% during this year’s first calendar quarter, with that sector increasing 13.2% from 2016 to 2017. Despite that growth, new light truck registrations still represent less than 50% of the new car market in California, compared with 63% nationally. The Honda Civic is the top selling car during the first quarter of 2017, retaining the lead it held in all of 2016.

The California Auto Outlook First Quarter 2017 Market Report provides comprehensive information on the state’s new vehicle market with charts and graphs. The report includes: a segment watch, including the top 5 models in each segment; a market perspective, comparing California nationally; brand scoreboards; a 5-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.

Back to top