The two graphs above show market shares for primary segments during the first nine months of 2015 and 2018.

California new vehicle sales remain at elevated levels for 2018

Light truck sales continue to increase, by 5.2 percent from 2017, while passenger car registrations have fallen by 10.6 percent

Sacramento, Calif.—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 more than 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 U.S. light truck sales increasing by 7.6 percent and U.S. passenger car sales falling by 13.2 percent.

“While California new vehicle sales are expected to be slightly below two 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 including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric, 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.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.