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California New Vehicle Sales Remain at Elevated Levels for 2018

Contact: Jenny Dudikoff
Phone: 916-441-2599

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California new vehicle market is expected to close out the year at elevated sales levels. While there is a slight decline from recent years, new vehicle sales will be at the fourth highest total during the past 11 years and 2018 sales will likely exceed 2009 levels by over 900,000 units.

According to the California Auto Outlook Third Quarter 2018, California light truck sales continue to increase, by 5.2 percent from 2017, while passenger car registrations have fallen by 10.6 percent below this time last year. While California sales reflect the national preference for light trucks over passenger cars, the trend is more pronounced across the country with US light truck sales increasing by 7.6 percent and US passenger car sales falling by 13.2 percent.

“While California new vehicle sales are expected to be slightly below 2 million units this year, we continue to be encouraged that California sales are steady and remain at elevated levels. Even if the market is slightly declining, we need to keep perspective that this is a natural trend for a market that has seen significant, consistent growth over the course of several years,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda.

The electric vehicle market share continues to increase throughout the state, making up 11.2 percent of the market, year to date. This is a 4 percent increase during the first nine months of 2018. However, not every powertrain is seeing this increase, hybrid vehicles continue to see a decline year over year, from 4.6 percent in Q3 2017 to 4.1 percent year to date.

Additionally, 13 of the top 20 brands in California saw light truck sales increase, paced by Volkswagen with an increase of  more than 100 percent compared to  this time last year.

The California Auto Outlook Third 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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