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California New Car Dealers Association Releases Third Quarter Auto Outlook

Supply Restrictions Limit New Vehicle Sales

Electric Vehicles Continue a Strong Rise in Sales, Mirrored by Expanding Options

SACRAMENTO, CA – While demand for vehicles continues to increase to pre-pandemic levels, supply bottlenecks are preventing a full recovery. Earlier estimates hoped for a slightly stronger recovery, with new vehicle sales expected to approach 2 million for the year. The ongoing microchip issue has led to a more bearish outlook, trimming expectations closer to 1.85 million for the year. Despite the slightly leaner estimation, sales are still expected to surpass 2020 numbers by nearly 13 percent.

“The impacts of the ongoing microchip shortage certainly can’t be ignored, but California’s new car dealers are working tirelessly to ensure that the needs of our motoring public are met,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Mark Normandin, owner of Normandin Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT. “Despite this challenge, with patience from consumers, the nature of California’s competitive automotive marketplace has allowed our industry to continue providing the vehicles sought by buyers, with the same quality of service they have come to expect.”

Major Trends at a Glance

Electric vehicles continued their strong emergence, as consumer demand increases alongside new models entering the market. This week’s LA Auto Show highlighted this growing market, with automakers unveiling an assortment of new electric vehicles in their model lineups. Manufacturers are racing to establish themselves with their consumer bases, as more buyers look towards electrification. This comes as EVs increased their market share in Q3 to 8.3 percent, a full 2 percent over 2020.

Along with EVs, hybrids also showed a strong presence continuing their longtime growth, now commanding 10.3 percent of the market, and plug-in hybrids joined the trend, increasing to 3.3 percent in total sales. Altogether, hybrid and electric sales have expanded to nearly 22 percent of the market share.

The LA Auto Show unveilings also mimicked another growing trend among consumers, the continued desire for SUVs. In the first three quarters of 2021, nonluxury SUVs made of 34 percent of all new vehicle sales, with pickups and vans a distant second at 17 percent.

Despite sales bottlenecks, the new vehicle market continued its strong recovery from last year. As consumer demand remains low for many products, car buyers are returning to dealerships eagerly searching for their next vehicle. Yet, while demand shows a major comeback, the reality of the COVID pandemic remains, with exterior factors continuing to impact global supply chains.

The full Q3 California Auto Outlook can be found by clicking here.


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: Experian.


For more than 95 years, CNCDA has represented the interests of California’s franchised new car dealers. CNCDA members are primarily engaged in the retail sale and lease of new and used motor vehicles, but also provide customers with automotive products, parts, service and repair. Our members sold more than 2 million new cars and trucks in 2019 and employed more than 140,000 Californians, significantly contributing to our state’s economy. As the nation’s largest state association of franchised new car and truck dealers—with more than 1,100 members—CNCDA serves its members by providing legal compliance and legislative, regulatory, and legal advocacy. 

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