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California Vehicle Sales Close Out 2017 with an Increase in Non-Luxury SUV Sales and a Decline in Small Car Sales

Contact: Jenny Dudikoff

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California new vehicle market continues to change, with a shift to non-luxury SUV sales from small car sales. According to the California Auto Outlook Fourth Quarter 2017, market share for the two primary segments saw more than a 12 percent combined change from 2012 to 2017, with non-luxury SUV sales increasing from 19 percent to 26 percent and small car sales decreasing from 31 percent to 25 percent over the five year period.

“As larger, more family friendly vehicles continue to make a comeback, the change we’re seeing in various market segments is directly related to consumer choice, convenience and affordability. Trends show that consumer demand for luxury and compact SUVs continues to increase, resulting in manufacturers producing more vehicle choices in this space to meet the needs of buyers. This is clearly reflected in the market share segment shifts we’ve seen over the past five years,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda.

Additionally, we also see changes in the electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle market place in the Golden State. Total market share for electric, plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles has reached 9.4 percent of new car registrations statewide. Underneath this broad improvement, since 2013 electric vehicle market share is up 1.3 percent with plug-in hybrids increasing another one percent, while hybrid market share has dropped 2.3 percent. While the 31,637 increase in EV sales during the last four years is impressive, the Ford F Series outsold all EV’s combined in 2017, with more than 55,000 new light vehicle registrations.

2017 maintained a trend of higher light truck sales, lower car sales and varying regional markets throughout the state. Overall, Northern California truck sales were up 9.4 percent, with car sales down 6.4 percent from 2016 and sales in Southern California mimicked this trend with light truck sales up 7.7 percent and car sales down 11.8 percent from the previous year.

2017 closed out with more 2 million new vehicles sold statewide, for the third year in a row. It is expected that the market will continue to exceed this benchmark in 2018.

The California Auto Outlook Fourth Quarter 2017 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.

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