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California’s Electric and Used Vehicle Markets Growing as New Vehicle Sales Decline in 2019

Contact: Jenny Dudikoff
Phone: 916-441-2599

SACRAMENTO, CA – As the California new vehicle market continues to experience mild declines, California’s electric vehicle market share is experiencing continued growth along with the used vehicle sector. As predicted, new vehicle sales are falling and are expected to slip to 1.9 million units in 2019, according to the California Auto Outlook Third Quarter 2019.

“California new car sales continue to shift downward. However, as this happens, we continue to see new upward trends emerging, specifically the growth in the electric vehicle segment, the slight but steady increase in used car sales and the increase in demand for larger vehicles,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson, Ted Nicholas of 3 Way Chevrolet Cadillac in Bakersfield. “These changes don’t necessarily mean consumers are purchasing fewer vehicles, it’s just an indication that their purchasing behavior is changing, and we need to continue to adapt to those changes.” 

While year-to-date overall new light duty vehicle registrations have dropped 5.1 percent in California and 0.7 percent nationally, electric and hybrid sales have reached an all-time high of 13.4 percent combined market share for the first nine months of 2019. The overall market share makeup includes 5.5 percent electric, 5.5 percent hybrid and 2.4 percent plug-in hybrid.  

The used vehicle market for the first three-quarters of 2019 remains solid, increasing by about 1 percent, with used light truck sales  driving the increase at 3.8 percent while passenger car sales are down 1.4 percent from this time last year.

Regional sales continue to stay on trend with state and national sales. Northern California experienced an overall 5.6 percent decline in new vehicle sales, with an 8.8 percent decrease in passenger car sales and a decrease in light truck sales by 3.3 percent. Southern California experienced slightly less of a decline with a 5.3 percent overall decrease, including passenger car sales falling by 10.8 percent and light truck sales dropping just 0.4 percent.

Toyota and Honda continue to lead the way as market share leaders in the state, with Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan coming in next as the most popular brands in California. The Honda Civic continues to stay on top as California’s best-selling passenger car and the Ford F-Series comes in as the best-selling light truck.

The California Auto Outlook Third 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.

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