Skip to Content

California Vehicle Market Expected to Exceed Two Million in New Vehicle Sales in 2018

Contact: Jenny Dudikoff
Phone: 916-441-2599     

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California new vehicle market is off to a solid start for 2018. While market conditions continue to shift on both the state and national level alike, 2018 California vehicle sales are still projected to be above 2 million for the fourth straight year in a row. According to the California Auto Outlook First Quarter 2018, market share for non-luxury SUV’s continues to grow, approaching 30 percent, while market share for small car sales decreased from 27 percent to 24 percent since last year.

“While the vehicle market has plateaued after several years of big increases, we continue to see the trend of consumer demand increasing for larger, more family friendly vehicles. Consumers want more convenient vehicles to meet their transportation needs,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda. “However, as gas prices continue to go up nationwide, including in California, we may see a shift in this trend.”

Light truck registrations and passenger cars have also experienced a shift in sales. Light truck sales have gone up 3.7 percent statewide from 2017 and passenger car sales have seen a significant decrease of 11.2 percent from last year. This trend is reflected in both the northern and southern regions of the state, with Northern California increasing by 1.5 percent in light truck sales and decreasing by 12.8 percent in passenger cars sales and Southern California increasing by 4.5 percent in light truck sales and decreasing by 13.4 percent in passenger car sales.

Additionally, electric and plug in vehicle segments have slightly increased during the first quarter of 2018, making up 9.6 percent of the market share. This is a minimal .2 percent increase from last year as opposed to the notable non-luxury SUV market share increase.

Sales increased by more than 10 percent for 7 brands, with Toyota being the market leader and the Honda Civic coming in as the best-selling model in California during the first quarter of 2018.

The California Auto Outlook First 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 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: 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.

Back to top