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California Vehicle Market Trending to Exceed 1.9 Million Sales in 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California new vehicle market is off to a solid start for 2019. While the market experiences a mild decline, new vehicle registrations are trending to exceed 1.9 million sales in 2019. According to the California Auto Outlook First Quarter 2019, market share for non-luxury SUV’s continues to increase, reaching 30 percent, while market share for small car sales decreased from 24 percent to 20 percent since last year.

“The California vehicle market continues to plateau, while experiencing minor decreases in sales. However, after several years of big increases, it is no surprise that sales are leveling off. Certain market segments are still experiencing increases, demonstrating consumers’ continued demand for larger, family friendly vehicles and more affordable vehicles. We’ve seen this trend hold true for a number of quarters now, consumers want vehicles with more flexibility to meet their transportation needs,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Ted Nicholas.

Regional sales are on trend with state and national sales, with Northern California showing less than a 5 percent decline over last year and Southern California slightly exceeding that decline at 5.2 percent decline. Northern California passenger car sales fell 3.9 percent, while light truck sales are down 5.1 percent. In the south, passenger car sales fell 9.6 percent and light trucks sales are down 1.3 percent.

Additionally, electric vehicle sales continue to experience growth, up about one percent from this time last year, from 4.7 percent to 5.6 percent of total market share. While electric vehicle sales continue to increase, plug in hybrid sales have fallen, dropping a percentage point, from 3.1 percent to 2.1 percent since this time last year.

New car sales increased for 12 brands so far this year, with Toyota and Honda ranking first and second in the state and the Honda Civic staying on top as California’s best-selling model.

The California Auto Outlook First Quarter 2019 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.


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 2018 and employ more than 135,000 Californians, significantly contributing to our state’s economy. As the nation’s largest state association of franchised new car and truck dealers—with nearly 1,200 members—CNCDA serves its members by providing legal compliance and legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy.

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