SACRAMENTO – The California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) announced that registrations of new cars and light trucks declined 43 percent in the first quarter 2009 compared to the year-ago period.

California new vehicle registrations totaled only 231,726 units in the first quarter of the year, well below the nearly 600,000 unit total recorded in the third quarter of 2005. If the trend continues, California is in danger of selling fewer than one million units this year – something that has not happened since 1975.

“The recession and uncertainty surrounding the viability of Chrysler and General Motors have left many consumers on the sidelines,” said Gary Shipman, CNCDA Chairman and operator of Toyota, Subaru and Mazda dealerships in Santa Cruz).

“It’s too bad because consumer deals on new cars and trucks have never been better and the loss of sales tax revenue is really hurting our communities.”

The California Auto Outlook First Quarter 2009 Market Report provides comprehensive information on the state’s new vehicle market with charts and graphs. The report includes: a segment watch, including the top 10 models in each segment; a market perspective, comparing California nationally; brand scoreboards; a regional recap and more. The complete report can be accessed on CNCDA’s website at