SACRAMENTO – The California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) said that 2009 registrations of new cars and light trucks fell 28.3 percent from 2008, a sharper decline than the 21.2 percent drop in the U.S. market.

California’s decline in sales slowed to 13.7 percent during the second half of the year, from a 39.6 percent slide during the first half of 2009 versus a year earlier. On a positive note, accumulated pent-up demand, strong new vehicle affordability, and the likelihood of an improving economy point to an increase in new vehicle sales in 2010.     

“New car dealers in both Northern and Southern California experienced massive decreases in sales last year,” said Tom Hoffman, CNCDA Chairman, who operates Puente Hills Chevrolet. “New vehicle sales in 2009 (1,038,271) were less than half the sales just four years ago (2,158,617) and represent the lowest sales volume in California since 1975.”

The California Auto Outlook Fourth 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